How Nick Offerman Is Using Woodworking to Help Americans in Need
November 15, 2017 4:49 AM   Subscribe

Nick Offerman loves woodworking. The actor, perhaps best known for his turn as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, adores the craft so much, he’s started Offerman Woodshop, where he makes and sells everything from meat paddles to mustache combs to custom dining tables. Nick Offerman also loves the betterment of humanity which is why when he found a project that combined his two passions, he leapt at the chance to participate. Would Works is a non-profit charity that helps Americans in need get back on their feet through the production of handmade wood goods. Proceeds from purchases help fund the woodshop and the program. Plus, Offerman will match any donations to Would Works, dollar-by-dollar, up to $20,000. [slGQ]
posted by ellieBOA (22 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Jesus Christ my love for that man just keeps growing. I've seen maybe three episodes of Parks & Rec, yet I have for years considered myself an unabashed fan of his.

I need a cutting board, turns out. I can prep dinner on it while I listen to his audiobook of Lincoln in the Bardo. Thanks for this.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:17 AM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can I tell you how much love and respect I have for that man?

He could very easily churn out a million Ron Swanson Manly Man Meat Cutting Boards and make a bajillion dollars in his woodshop. Instead, if you go to the website for Offerman Woodshop, there's nothing there about Parks and Rec. Nick's Bio is no more prominent than any of the other bios. I think it mentions he's an actor, but that's it. The shop is a collective of various craftspeople making amazing live-edge furniture from slabs taken from trees that come down in storms, or during construction. It looks like they're all having a blast.

Nick's latest book, Good Clean Fun, was unlike any other woodworking book. Rather than focus strictly on bearded white dudes in aprons, it was a celebration of woodworkers and craftspeople of all genders (including one of his employees who referred to themselves in the book as gender nonconforming... easily a first in a woodworking book) and races. Everybody was included, and some of the projects could be completed with little more than a hatchet and a knife. Woodworking is for everyone.

One of my long term goals is to build a canoe, thanks to Nick. I bought the Bear Mountain Boats book, in which he has his own chapter. his love and admiration for down-to-earth craftspeople is apparent throughout.

I just love what he's doing for the world of woodworkers and makers.

Also, if you're not into woodworking and you're good with the Googles there's a picture out there of a young Nick with an ENORMOUS very-realistic looking fake penis. So there's that.
posted by bondcliff at 6:57 AM on November 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

Nick Offerman got fired [NSFW].
posted by Reverend John at 7:11 AM on November 15, 2017

He's got a new show in the works with Amy Poehler that's a competition style maker/crafter/DIY thing.
posted by peeedro at 7:13 AM on November 15, 2017

(The video linked above is funny as hell but NSFW)
posted by middleclasstool at 7:36 AM on November 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Added that.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:39 AM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

He's got a new show in the works with Amy Poehler that's a competition style maker/crafter/DIY thing.

Shut up and take my money
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:43 AM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really admire how he unequivocally pushed back every time Men's Health tried to anoint him as masculine in a way that they intended as flattering (but was actually hella problematic). He both recognized the existence of misogyny and he expressed some views that managed to be fairly opinionated without, you know, denigrating entire groups of people.

I've been reading Lindy West's book recently and it's really driving home how having that sort of voice in media - especially media aimed at men - is still shockingly new.
posted by mosst at 7:44 AM on November 15, 2017 [12 favorites]

I have a lot of good will towards Nick Offerman but he occupies an unusual place in my head. Without the full beard and just his Parks & Rec mustache he literally looks like my dad circa 1981 to 1996. And his character in Parks & Rec, if you removed the libertarian stuff (my dad's politics are centre-left), his love life (my dad has been with my mum since high school), spoke French and replaced wood working with locomotive repair, that is my dad. So much so that I've joked with family members that my dad should sue for identity theft. Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness (with a few changes) is essentially my dad's code of behaviour. If my mum would let him he'd never eat a vegetable and drink only whisky.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:58 AM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

He did an appearance about woodworking on This Old House. It was pretty much like the GQ article. What struck me was he wasn't trying to be funny or put on a show or do an Offerman segment. He genuinely talked about woodworking, and was encouraging about it. Start with something easy and simple, small like a cutting board. Maybe then make a birdhouse. Build up from there if you want. His point was all about the process vs. technology, price, quantity or size. You don't have to become a master woodworker, the process is the entire point. And he made it about accessibility, no price points, finding and restoring old tools in junk stores, using scrap wood.

We all could use more stuff like that.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:59 AM on November 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

Nick Offerman is simultaneously Ron Swanson and Most Definitely Not Ron Swanson. I'm sure there are a lot of dudebros who don't get that.
posted by tommasz at 8:16 AM on November 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

Nick Offerman continues his quest to subvert modern masculinity (interview with the man).
posted by sapagan at 8:16 AM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like Nick Offerman for the fact he refuses to be Ron Swanson IRL or the stereotypical manly man for all the dudebros who want him to be or think he is.

I kinda want to get into woodworking ever since my husband and I made a daybed and a TV console this summer because I fell in love with this book. I often can't find the furniture I want at my price point (even IKEA doesn't have the exact things I am looking for; close but not what I want) so I dig making something that will last and is exactly the measurements I require.
posted by Kitteh at 8:21 AM on November 15, 2017

Laugh out loud great podcast!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 8:23 AM on November 15, 2017

This is so good, and I like this guy a lot. He just radiated decency and a rigorous ethic in The Founder.
posted by Caxton1476 at 8:26 AM on November 15, 2017

I inquired last year, and you cannot get a dining table made by Mr Offerman from the wood shop. Which is understandable, but made me sad. Not just because of his celebrity and my being a huge all around fan, but because of the eloquence and passion with which he spoke about the joy he takes from making dining tables in Paddle Your Own Canoe (I think it's that one. I've read/listened to/watched just about all of his stuff.)

I'm extremely sad that I missed Full Bush when he was in LA. I wish I had an avenue to tell him that it was due to fallout from running over a boar(*). I think the tidbit would amuse him.

(*) Okay it was probably a Javelina but most people don't know what that is so saying boar is easier.
posted by flaterik at 9:41 AM on November 15, 2017

He's done a number of AMAs on reddit and he's wonderful.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:48 AM on November 15, 2017

He's got a new show in the works

Featuring apparently Jimmy DiResta. DiResta had been embargoed about this mysterious project he stopped vlogging for a few months back, but recently was given the ok to talk in his latest vlog.
posted by bonehead at 11:26 AM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think there's still a chance DiResta is going to wind up on the cutting room floor, but I really hope he's in the show. He deserves it. Another one of my maker heroes.
posted by bondcliff at 12:03 PM on November 15, 2017

Instead, if you go to the website for Offerman Woodshop, there's nothing there about Parks and Rec. Nick's Bio is no more prominent than any of the other bios. I think it mentions he's an actor, but that's it.

I was curious, so I went and found the bio. It makes him sound like he tried his hand at acting but spent more time building theater scenery.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

A beautiful addendum, from the bio of his father: "He worked with wood a lot, but never purposefully created something out of wood until 1972 – the year Nick needed help getting up to the toilet. Ever the attentive parent, Ric made him a handy little step stool out of pine."
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:43 PM on November 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Bondcliff, Jennie Alexander is a very respected trans woodworker and she has several books under her belt. Her life's work is in "green" woodworking and chairmaking.
posted by Harald74 at 5:05 AM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

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