Paus & Grün Woodwork Design is located in Toronto, Ontario. Christoph Paus, Sebastian Paus and Rob Green balance traditional carpentry techniques with contemporary design. They use wood salvaged from local barns, historic city buildings and trees. The following is a transcript of our video interview above.
CHRISTOPH PAUS: When I was 16, my school kindly asked me to leave so I didn’t really have a choice to choose my job and luckily, I got into the carpentry apprenticeship and I loved it right away and I do ever since. But it wasn’t my choice, it just happened.
ROB GREEN: I wasn’t interested in carpentry when I was younger. My dad was in the trades, I wasn’t interested in the trades at all but i got into the trades because I needed to work and then carpentry kind of became a means to an end. It was more about the design for me. I ended up managing a couple of wood shops and getting good at it, I think…
SEBASTIAN PAUS: You’ve done not bad.
ROB: Yeah, thanks Sebastian.
SEBASTIAN: Since we were 18, we always said at some point we’re going to have our own company because Christoph always was the craftsman, working with wood, and I started office work, being an accountant and stuff like that. I finished my studies last year in July, and he contacted me the end of 2012, with the idea and I liked it and I started writing a business plan, got private investments and we started.
ROB: Sebastian makes sure we don’t blow the budget.
CHRISTOPH: I lived in Frankfurt before I came to Toronto. Originally my plan was, because I was kind of sick of Germany, and I needed a change, and I wanted to learn English, so my plan was to come to Toronto for a few months, maybe a year, because I had a working visa for a year. I didn’t know exactly how long I would stay but I just wanted to come here at least to have a break and maybe work as a dishwasher or whatever. I didn’t find a job as a dishwasher, so I ended up doing carpentry again.
ROB: We were going to a party or something and we’d been doing some pretty rough stuff and I look over and he’s got some 400 grit sandpaper and he’s sanding his hands.
CHRISTOPH: I started with 80, actually. Sometimes when my hands are really rough and I want to go somewhere nice, I take a wood sander, like an electrical sander and I sand my hands.
SEBASTIAN: I like Toronto. I like working with my brother. I learned to like Rob. [Laughs]
ROB: We all do double duty in a number of ways. I mean, Christoph’s up there drawing as much as he’s down here doing carpentry. I’m kind of in the same boat. I’m dealing with clients a lot. Sebastian’s keeping books.
CHRISTOPH: I draw something or Rob draws something and he sends it to me and I change it. We send it back and forth. Change it a little bit every single time and end with a product that we’re all happy with. It doesn’t matter how you design it, it’s always kind of fucked in the process.
I designed this chair yesterday which I’m doing right now and it’s going to look really cool but there’s so many different angles, there’s so much small shit, and I’m going to hate it when I build it but I’m going to be so happy when it’s done. And that’s what it’s all about. You can build a chair that’s a chair, you know, nothing special. It’s just good jointery. That’s easy. But making a good looking chair with proper jointery, a chair that lasts for 50, 80 years…
ROB: And it’s so personal. You interact with it so intimately. It’s, you know, probably the most intimately interacted with thing.
I find barn doors pretty fun. They’re almost cathartic because they’re so easy to make. And they’re just like a little rectangle you get to design. There’s one over there and one over there. They go out pretty frequently. People like them. They’re fun and easy but fine furniture’s always really satisfying.
We have a wide set of skills. Christoph’s a really fine carpenter. I have a lot of experience with reclaimed wood, almost exclusively reclaimed wood, drying and milling wood which is, it’s getting popular, to do fine carpentry with reclaimed wood, I don’t see it that often. It’s usually really rustic stuff and it’s really focused on the fact that it’s reclaimed but I don’t see a lot of really fine carpentry being done with reclaimed wood.
We do a lot of fabrication for other design companies and it’s always satisfying to make a good product and render something well that someone else’s designed but there’s, it’s different when we build our own stuff. That’s a different feeling and it’s, that’s the best part for me anyways.
CHRISTOPH: Yeah, we’re like brothers. I mean, we are brothers but we all are kind of…
SEBASTIAN: We take care of each other.
CHRISTOPH: Yeah. We love each other and we hate each other and we get each other.
— Christoph Paus, Sebastian Paus & Rob Green, as told to Studio Beat