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Construction in America

TV’s Nick Offerman on the Value of “A Life in Craft”

The “Parks and Rec” star discusses his passion for creativity through woodworking, community outreach, and his new series inspiring a new generation of “makers.”

When and how were you first introduced to woodworking?

I grew up in a tool-fluent family, and my Dad gave me the basics by the time I was a teenager. Shop class in junior high was also very influential.

Your shop is known for sourcing sustainable trees that have come down in storms or been removed from construction sites. What was your motivation for salvaging this material over hardware-store lumber?

When we can repurpose local wood, it’s not only great in terms of conserving what would otherwise be a terrible waste of material, but we can also work with the local sawyers to customize our needs much more comfortably. It’s no contest that the local timber is preferable in every way, and I hope that woodworkers around the country continue to exploit their neighborhood windfalls.

You and your shop do fantastic community involvement work. While working with today’s youth, what advice do you provide about the benefits of pursuing a career in craftsmanship?

Learning to make things with one’s hands will never go out of vogue, as we will always thrive as a people on handmade goods and the skills they require. Whatever your specialty might be, a life in craft is improved across the board by utilizing the problem-solving channel connecting one’s brain to his/her hands.

Your new show “Making It” features craftspeople skilled in different mediums competing to be named the “Master Crafter.” From your experience both on and off set, what are some common characteristics shared by successful craftsman?

We makers all share pluck and audacity, the ability to rely on our creativity to tackle a given challenge. We exhibit calm in the face of deadlines, knowing that the product of our handiwork will never be perfect, but it will be charmingly sufficient. This makes for a very satisfying life.

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