Offerman presents love-letter to woodworking

Photo courtesy of Offerman Woodshop

One characteristic that Ron Swanson, the beloved mustachioed character from NBC’s sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” shares with the actor who portrays him, Nick Offerman, is a sincere love of woodworking. “Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at the Offerman Woodshop” is a 344-page love letter to the art of woodworking and the people who admire and engage
in the craft.

The book features how-to, mirth, fashion tips, recipes, odes to wood and assorted tomfoolery as advertised on the cover, all while retaining the light-hearted tone established by the lyrics to a song, “it’s good, it’s clean, it’s good clean fun.”

“I’m no wood scientist,” writes Offerman in a section titled “On Wood,” “but I thought I would take a moment to talk about this bewitching material itself. After all, it’s the very reason we’re all here on this page today.”

This homage to the substance itself ranges from poetic to scientific while maintaining the sort of humor one brings to a topic they know and love well.

“Good Clean Fun” also provides much insight into the woodworking that happens at the Offerman Woodshop, a shop that Offerman runs in L.A. The Offerman Woodshop produces fine, handcrafted furniture and other fun items such as ukuleles and moustache combs.

Offerman and his “rag-tag crew of champions” describe their experiences and passion and provide detailed “how-to” instructions for everyone from novices, seeking to start their woodworking endeavors with a pencil holder or coaster, to more advanced artisans, seeking to create a berry stool, slingshot dining chair or even a slumber jack bed.

Interspersed amongst the clever and often hilarious people introducing and taking the reader through the process of making a kazoo or beaver tail paddle are comedic interludes, such as a comic strip illustrating “The Best Way to Fell a Tree.”

Accompanying each page are visually stunning photographs and graphics along with informative figures for the more technical parts of the book. As promised, a section titled “Cookout” features recipes for the essential meats, such as burgers, pork chops, steak, and sides, such as spanakopita and mashed potatoes, drinks or “solemn oath brewery selects” for those interested in pairing beer with their meals, and blueberry pie for dessert.

Indeed, as the final page, featuring “Essay On Wood” by James Richardson, says, “I wonder if something in us is made of wood, maybe not quite the heart, knocking softly/or maybe not made of it, but made for its call … It will sit with us, eat with us, lie down/and hold our books (themselves a rustling woods).” “Good Clean Fun” is itself a rustling woods, paying respects to a craft well-loved by those who are made of, or made for, the call of wood.

“Good Clean Fun” is Offerman’s third book after the bestselling “Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living” and “Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers.”  “Good Clean Fun” was released on Oct. 18 from Dutton. On Oct. 19, Tech hosted “An Evening by Nick Offerman” at the Ferst Center for
the Arts.