So that's kind of the difference between somebody who would choose to create their own bookshelf rather than somebody who would build it from IKEA.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I don't have a big enough brain to wrap my head around the full sociological implications, but I do think that the erosion of American values goes hand in hand with the disappearance of trade skills. My particular focus is in the woodworking shop, but my new book, and really everything I do, promotes handcrafting and goes far beyond the wood shop. That's just my representative. But I encourage everyone all the time to figure out what it is you can make with your hands and see how much more enjoyable that is than scoring a bunch of points on Pokémon Go or whatever.

I encourage everyone all the time to figure out what it is you can make with your hands and see how much more enjoyable that is than scoring a bunch of points on Pokémon Go or whatever.

Have you ever been to an IKEA? Have you ever built IKEA furniture?

Uh, I have been to an IKEA. I've put together a few of those sorts of items for people. And that's to understand that it's disposable furniture. Again, it's all part of the social malaise that, starting with the Industrial Revolution, we have become a society of disposable goods that are now definitely trying to put the breaks on and get back to something more sustainable. Part of the ethos of my wood shop is that we're making furniture that is charismatic enough that you will understand that this is made for you and for your great-grandchildren. Part of the reason for spending a little extra for handmade quality is that this will save dozens of trees from becoming Ikea furniture, for the treatment of symbol of beautiful tree.

What I love about the book is that it is part memoir, and that you talk a lot about your life with woodworking. What was the first thing you ever successfully built?

The first thing I built with tools was, I suppose officially, would've been this treehouse that my friend Steve and I built down at the creek near our house. Features of pride include two stories and a fishing perch out on one limb that allowed you to creep out on the branch and sit and drop your hook right into the creek. And, you know, of course it was as fine of a construction as can be expected from a couple of 12-year-olds, but it certainly served our needs.

Was woodworking originally written into your Ron Swanson character?

When we started the show, we were all collaborating intensely, all the cast of the writers, to mine all of our personalities and our lives for the seeds of what would become characteristics of our disparate cast members. And so, in those interviews, I kept getting on the phone with the writers, and every time I'd call I'd say, "Hang on, I've got to shut off the table saw." And, eventually, they said, "Now what is this wood shop?" I described it to them and they all piled into a bus and drove straight over to the shop and walked in and looked around and said, "You're a hilarious nerd. Can, can we please mine this for comedy?" You know, it would have never occurred to me the value of adding my woodworking habit to a character for the sake of comedy because I'm not as smart as the incredible writers of that television program. But once they landed upon it, they went to town.

All the scenes in Ron Swanson's shop, that's my actual shop. Half the stuff that Ron built on the show was my actual work. Some times there were implements that we would veer into comedy woodworking. For example, in an episode where Leslie and Ron are arguing over what is a healthy amount of scotch to drink or not, Ron purportedly goes home after a couple scotches, drinks six more scotches, and builds a harp. Overnight. Which, you know, is pretty impossible.

Yeah, that didn't come from real life.

It would take me a couple of very industrious and sober weeks to turn out what Ron did in one drunken evening.

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That's funny because woodworking is such an integral part of your life, but it's also been so key in a lot of your characters and comedy. Are there people who are still surprised that you are in real life an accomplished woodworker?

Yeah, people do. I mean, just by the sheer mass of television, a vastly larger number of people have seen Ron Swanson grow accustomed to the trappings of his life than would be aware of those trappings in my own real life. And so, for many years now, and it continues daily, people exclaim two main things: "I never knew that Ron and Tammy were actually really married in life" and "I can't believe Nick Offerman is really a woodworker." Which is funny to me because I was a woodworker long before.

It's kind of like your character and real life are just kind of crossing over at this point, and one's a little bit of the other and vice versa.

It's an interesting thing because people really tend to conflate me with Ron. I understand when they do that it's a compliment to the success of the show that we have succeeded in creating a reality that these people actually suspect is true.

I thought your performance at The Webbys earlier this year was hilarious. A few months later, are you feeling any differently about the election, or about Trump and Hillary, now that a lot has changed since then?

I feel like it's fascinating and terrifying and kind of depressing that the American public is feeling this. You know, we have nobody to blame but ourselves for this election, and I think it's just fascinating. I mean, I'm not a great political brain, but I definitely have a pretty simple take on politics that involves common decency. When it gets into trade policy and foreign policy, I quickly end up in the weeds where I find it hard to follow. It's usually easy for me to vote because one party usually offends me by being indecent. And that usually has to do with taking away the rights of some group. That's where my gut begins with politics—it has to do with simple matters and neighborliness. And so seeing what's going on is just astonishing. I'm always amazed in elections when the only flaws that can be pointed out about a candidate are that they have been a politician. You know—"Well they said this in '93, and then they said this other thing in 2005." Yes, that's called politics. The world is very complicated and so are human beings, so I'm not surprised. But then, on the other hand, [there's a] candidate that's only, in my way of thinking, held such an unsavory job as casino owner. Not only that, but a failed casino—a spectacularly failed one. On one hand, I understand the dissatisfaction that has led to his selection. But, on the other hand, I have to say, if you're going to make a statement with your dissatisfaction, you really should've found a better representative of your desires. But I'm just going to try and continue to promote good manners wherever I can.

If you're going to make a statement with your dissatisfaction, you really should've found a better representative of your desires.

Where do you stand when November comes?

I think unfortunately, for the democratic process, there's no logical or sane or moral choice to be made other than voting for Hillary Clinton. But I also think that if she were not a woman, we would not be in this boat. I think the election would be over already. And that's another sad thing, that a large reason there's so much anger and mistrust of her is because people are very reluctant to see the patriarchy topple. I am incredibly excited that the glass ceiling will be shattered. I mean, we've had our first black president and we'll probably have our first woman president. And of course we're going to go kicking and screaming as a nation into that, we would have it no other way. At the end of the day, we're all a bunch of big babies. But what an exciting accomplishment.

And you have your tour coming up, too.

I'm really excited about it. You know, as I say in the book, if you're looking for the greatest master of woodworking, I can point you to many. But this is the most fun shop book I've ever seen. And it's what I wanted to do—attract people with the kind of fun you can have making things with people. The artist, Ethan Nicole, who drew the t-shirt, is a friend of mine who does a comic book called Axe Cop, which is so incredibly hilarious. And so he has a lot of drawings in the book that are a large part of what makes it so much fun.

Where do you stand on wearing a t-shirt with your own face on it.

I stand firmly on the side of "I never would." It's a funny thing: People often gift me artwork of my face. And I'm grateful, very grateful, and often astonished at what beautiful work they had done inspired by the donkey that is me. But, at the same time, I ought to say to myself, "What in the world do you imagine me to do with this likeness of my face? What do you take me for, Donald Trump?" I am not a narcissist, so I will auction this off for some charitable cause.