The real Ron Swanson knows his wood

YogahutNick1 One of the priceless moments from last week’s “Parks and Recreation” was when Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), to prove how well he could hold his liquor, made of all things a harp from scratch after having several drinks.

“After I got home,” Swanson said, “I drank six more glasses of whiskey and then I
finished crafting this mall harp, using a bandsaw, a spokeshave and an
oscillating spindle sander.”

Turns out the “Parks and Rec” folk were playing to Offerman’s strengths. As fansite Knope Knows discovered in its interview with story editor Alan K. Yang, the actor has long had a woodworking business on the side, Offerman Woodshop. (The picture displayed here is captioned “Administrating a very large chisel. West Los Angeles. 2003.”)

Said Yang:

The entire writing staff actually took a trip down to his wood shop once and he showed us a canoe he was building. Hanging around Offerman makes you feel like the least manly man in the world.

Anyway, someone came up with the brilliant idea that Ron would craft a musical instrument to prove to Leslie how sober he was — I think it might have been Mike Scully. It definitely wasn’t me. At first we thought Ron would make a bunch of wooden recorders because that actually seems plausible. Then someone pitched that he built an entire harp and that seemed even funnier. We shot it both with the recorders and the harp, actually, and the harp ended up winning.

I’ll admit I spent no small amount of time trying to determine whether or not Offerman Woodshop was an elaborate ruse. Then I saw Offerman’s canoe-building instructional video for Bear Mountain Boats.

“We want this project to be a visual aid by which the viewer can see that any idiot can build a really nice canoe,” Offerman said he was told when recruited to participate in the video. “And with that in mind, we think you’d be perfect.”

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