It’s common knowledge, at least among the cult of Parks and Recreation obsessives who can name the cast members’ hobbies, that Nick Offerman–who plays the show’s paragon of old-fashioned values, Ron Swanson–is actually as accomplished a woodworker as the character he portrays. What even the show’s die-hards probably don’t know is that, when Offerman is busy filming, his woodshop is staffed by a group of young women and men who speak passionately and eloquently about the virtues of woodworking.
In this six-minute documentary (produced by Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake), those woodworkers explain the peaceful, meditative qualities of creating something with their hands out of pieces of wood. “My favorite moment in woodworking . . . ” explains shop manager Rebecca Lee, “I gotta say it’s the moment of driving back from the lumberyard with a truck full of wood, and you’re just, like, This pile is going to turn into something amazing.’ “
Throughout the video, the various woodworkers discuss the nuances of their subculture: It’s revealed that there is tension between those who insist on the purity of a hand-tool-only approach and those who prefer their saws and sanders to be plugged in; a woodworker named Josh Salsbury talks about how his peers make fun of him “for sanding a lot”; and the difference between carpentry and woodworking is explained. But as the video continues, the beauty that the woodworkers find in their craft becomes palpable.
“What pulls at my heart is the heirloom quality of each object that you make,” Michelle Diener explains in the video. “We can make up our own stories about what these people are doing with these objects that we’ve passed along to them. You can only imagine that it’s going to continue living and get passed down among the family members, and among generations.” If the Pawnee Rangers had half as much passion as the workers at Offerman Woodshop, Ron Swanson would be bursting with pride.