The Washington Post

What Wood You Do!


I’m not the target audience for PBS’ “Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac” (locally at noon Fridays on WHUT). In seventh grade, I broke the saw blade so often in wood shop, I was forever banned from saw usage.

Then I heard that “Rough Cut” is beloved by awesome actor and real-life woodworker Nick Offerman, who plays wood-lover Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Curious, I tuned in. I can’t say the show gave me the confidence to craft a table inspired by barrel staves, but floppy-haired host Tommy Mac, above, taught me how to look and talk like a woodworker.

Stance when eyeballing wood: Place second and third fingers in front pockets of jeans.

Woodspeak: “I gotta say this grain is really nice and straight.”

You see a fire inside a barrel-in-the-making: Wrong response: “Oh, my God, it’s going to burn up!” Right response: “Ah, you use a slow fire to caramelize the sugars in the wood.”

Go-to words: mortice, tenon.

And if you do manage to make a cool wood thing, and a friend asks how, say: “Don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time with your material and let it speak to you.”

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.



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