Little did I know that my days at Fine Woodworking and nights in my workshop would lead to dozens of articles and videos, a freelance career, teaching gigs, two books about making things, and even a few minutes of fame. Do what you love, and you never know what might happen.
Books, videos, classes,
and a few minutes of fame
I helped to launch Shop Talk Live, a biweekly podcast, with 50K downloads per episode.
I was also lucky enough to be a two-time guest on Ace on the House, comedian Adam Carolla's home-improvement podcast.
My first book is a guide for true woodworking beginners, packed with do-able projects that are totally worth doing, unlike the usual beginner fare. It's also great for anyone looking for cool projects that don't take forever to build. Click here for an amazon link.
My second book is also packed with easy projects, with two differences. They are made from all sorts of materials, by some of the most clever makers across the country. Why stick with just wood, when there are so many other things to build with! Click here to buy.
I've appeared in dozens of how-to videos at FineWoodworking.com. Put my name in the site's search box, or click the pic for a sample.
My video tour of actor Nick Offerman's LA workshop has 1.8 million views, thanks to the beloved guy with the beard. Click the pic for a link.
These days, I teach woodworking at the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers shop in Portland, though I've taught as far away as Marc Adams School in Indiana, and given talks at woodworking clubs and craft centers across the country. Lucky guy.
I first met Nick Offerman around 2008, when I was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show (just a quick interview from the audience). Nick was the star of the episode, and the star of the best new comedy on NBC, Parks & Recreation. We met backstage, where I learned he was a mega-fan of Fine Woodworking magazine. Crazy. Soon I was out at his LA workshop, shooting a legit article about a legit woodworking technique. (Nick wanted no part in a celebrity puff piece, and FWW doesn't really do those anyway). We became buddies (he is the most down-to-earth person in Hollywood) and one day he called to say that the writers had created a "bit" for me on the show, not only me but also Nick's favorite author in the magazine, Chris Becksvoort, a quiet guy with a workshop deep in the Maine woods.
Then they flew us both to LA and we actually appeared on the show. It was nuts. I'm a huge comedy fan and it was a dream come true. If you've got Netflix, scroll to Season 5, episode 9, and watch closely or you'll miss my three seconds of NBC fame. If you watch even closer, you'll see me walking around in the background of the scenes at the woodworking event. The assistant directors kept sending me out with the extras, to try to get me more face time. How nice is that?
On the night the show aired, I had no idea whether my big moment would be used or cut, but then they actually said my name (I'm in a chair competition with Nick) and then I lose and they show me throw down my napkin and storm out. That was my big "bit," and they freaking showed it, on one of my favorite shows ever.
Hollywood never called again (their loss), but Nick and I have stayed in touch, and we get together when we can. We drink whiskey, and I pepper him with questions about show biz. That's pretty much the routine.