NBC’s Woodshop Master on ‘Making It’ Talks Shop with Fox Chapel Publishing

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Image credit: © Evans Vestal Ward/NBC

Lancaster, PA — Jimmy DiResta, known best for being a Woodshop Master on NBC’s primetime competition show, Making It, recently sat down with Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Magazine editor Kaylee Schofield to talk shop tips, machine hoarding, and problem-solving as a way of life.

A condensed version of the interview is below. Find the full interview, as well as a slew of super-simple workshop hacks from Jimmy, in the winter issue of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Magazine (issue #85).

Student in Training: An Interview with Jimmy DiResta

FCP: What led you to woodworking?

JD: I grew up in a shop with my father, and I naturally gravitated toward woodworking because it was in my environment.

FCP: You’re a jack-of-all-trades—you’ve done carving, furniture making, resin work, and leatherworking.
Do you have a favorite kind of making?

JD: I really love blacksmithing and machining—anything that’s a new challenge. I just bought a kiln and a bunch of pottery supplies. It’s another way for me to apply my woodworking skills to something new. Early on, I did a video where I used the table saw to make nice parallel cuts in leather, and people said, “I wouldn’t think to use the table saw to cut leather!” Growing up with my foundation of woodworking, I apply it to everything
I can think of.

FCP: Tell me about your role as Woodshop Master on the show Making It.

JD: It’s funny because Nick Offerman is on the show, and people always say that to him—“You’re a master woodworker.” He’s like, “I’m not a master woodworker, I’m a student in training.” And I feel the same way. I’m skilled, but there are people I would consider to be the best; I don’t fall nearly into that category. I ask the contestants to call me the shop teacher. That’s really where I feel at home, showing people how to do things in the shop. 

FCP: What advice do you have for woodworkers who are looking to break into the business? Woodworkers who are just starting out?

JD: If you want to make money with it, it’s important to have an online library of your work, because when someone wants to hire you for something, you want to show what you can do. Put your work on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. If you include something you built for your wife, your mother, your cousin—don’t tell anybody that. Just say, “Look at the things I’ve built.” And take pride in your pieces. We tend to say, “Well, I made this book, but there’s a scratch here.” You show somebody and immediately point out everything that’s wrong with it. It kind of takes away from the significance, because you think they’re not going to judge you as harshly. But try and get over that fear—I still struggle with it, too—and you’ll start to build your confidence as someone who makes things to fulfill people’s needs. 

Most importantly, just put up everything online that you’re proud of and get good photography if you can. Just start putting stuff out there. Everybody’s always worried about getting perfect before they publish. Just start publishing and you’ll get perfect in the process. 

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EMAIL: PR@foxchapelpublishing.com