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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) on Making Things and Making Mistakes

Driving home from work the other day I heard this NPR interview with the woodworking guy from the TV show "Parks and Recreation."  I've never seen the show, but I really liked the comments on the benefits of what we would call homebrewing:

MCEVERS: I feel like there are a lot of people out there listening who have spent exactly zero days being handy, like, their entire lives. Is there hope for people like this, and does your book provide it?

OFFERMAN: I think so. I mean, a lot of my own woodworking education comes from books and periodicals like Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking magazines. They're great teachers, but they're very somber. They're very sober. So it was important to me for this book to be really friendly and gentle and fun to let you know that whether you're getting into woodworking or making anything with your hands, it's really important to know going in that you're supposed to make mistakes. You're supposed to screw it up.

And not only do I think this is a very friendly introduction to woodworking, but I really have become a little bit of an evangelist to encourage - find something to make. If you make stuff for your house or your loved ones, you're curating your life in a way, saying, I don't have to just limit my choices to what I can buy at Amazon. I can also choose to make a table myself. And even if it looks crappy, it's still so much more charming because you've made that gesture.

You can listen to the 6 minute interview (it is funny) by clicking on the "PLAY" arrow in the upper left of this page:  


1 comment:

  1. What we end up with is a set of instructions, and any mistakes made along the way aren't visible. It may nit be tht the author is "perfect", just the process cleans it up. But the mistakes nit only helped him to get to the end product, but the lack of them means our mistakes seem an indicator of ineptness.

    I once helped a friend put up drywall, and was surprised by the "sloppiness" of it. Roughly cut it, lots of screws to hold it, I would have assumed a more careful and precise process. But it didn't matter, some plaster was going over the cracks and screws, and then it was all going to be painted. You didn't need to fuss there, while other things require more carefulness.

    Some of that comes with experience, but then if people aren't willing to make mistakes, they don't learn from them, while the articles don't show that mistakes were made along the way.



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