These 8 stars have been entertaining audiences with films and TV shows for years – but their skills go beyond their work in Hollywood. Some of these craftsmen used their skills to make a living before their big break while others discovered their passions after they were already famous. From shoeing horses in Hollywood to studying shoe-making in Florence, these celebrities have impressive skills.
8 Nick Offerman
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Nick Offerman has been woodworking for many years. He runs his own wood shop in Los Angeles where he works and patrons can purchase one-off commissions created by other members – Offerman himself is too busy with his acting work to sell woodwork. The Parks and Rec star has even written a book about woodworking called Good Clean Fun, which includes insights into life in the wood shop and instructions on how to get started on your own projects.
7 Wilford Brimley
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Before Wilford Brimley was famous for films like Cocoon and The Natural and being a spokesman for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical Supply, he worked as a blacksmith. He took his skills to Hollywood, shoeing horses for film and TV. Even though he no longer needed his skills as a full time career once he started acting, he continued to smith in his free time. He also used his blacksmithing skills for roles – he went on to play a blacksmith multiple times in his career, including his recurring role on “The Waltons.”
6 Harrison Ford
When Harrison Ford got his big break as Han Solo in Star Wars, he was making a living as a carpenter. During an AMA on Reddit, Ford explained that getting the once-in-a-lifetime role took him by surprise, but it came at the perfect time, because he was struggling to make ends meet: “I had a house at the time I wanted to remodel, a bit of the wreck of a house. I’d invest money in tools but wouldn’t have money for materials, so I realized this was another way of putting food on the table.”
5 Terrence Howard
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Today, Terrence Howard is famous for starring in Empire and his acting career has earned him numerous awards, but like Harrison Ford, he worked full-time as a carpenter before his career took off. Now that he’s a star Howard still uses his skills – sometimes professionally and sometimes just for himself. He once renovated his 250-year-old carriage house, including building a 1400 foot stone wall all the way around the property.
“Every man should work with his hands,” Howard told This Old House. “It makes you happy.”
4 Seth Rogen
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In 2020, many people discovered new hobbies, from baking to hiking – but few have committed to them as seriously as Seth Rogen has committed to his ceramics.
“I do like tactile things; I like to produce tangible work. With movies, we spend years on them and then they’re very intangible,” Rogen told The Cut, “I do really like being able to create an artistic expression that is a thing that I can pick up, hold, show to people.”
Since then, some of his designs, such as limited edition ashtrays, have been incorporated into his business Houseplant. He continues to regularly post picture of his colorful vases on his instagram.
3 David Lynch
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David Lynch, famous for co-creating the innovative TV show Twin Peaks, and films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet also has a passion for designing furniture. Back in 1997, he even presented a furniture collection in Milan at Salone del Mobile. In 2019 he had an exhibition of his furniture, his paintings, as well as some sculptural lamps.
The acclaimed director told Town and Country that he loves electricity, and this lead him to design lamps because they “are sculpture, but they have a purpose in a home as well, and I really like that. I’d like to do a lot more with lamps and sculpture.”
2 William H. Macy
Actor William H. Macy first found his passion for woodturning while making the now-iconic film Fargo. Macy happened to visit a woodworking shop while they were doing a woodturning demonstration. He purchased a small lathe and practiced in between takes.
Macy’s love for woodworking in general goes deeper than woodturning, however:
“I got it from my dad,” he shared with Woodcraft, “He was very handy, and he was a Scotsman, so he’d repair something before he’d buy new. Everywhere he went, he made things better. When I was about ten, he and I started building a small log cabin, but we only got as far as making it knee-high. I’d love to build another log cabin one of these days.”
The actor now has a large wood shop above the garage of his LA home.
1 Daniel Day-Lewis
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Some consider Daniel Day-Lewis to be the greatest living actor, but there was a time when he imagined a career as a woodworker. When he was in boarding school, Day-Lewis discovered a passion for it, and actually applied for for an apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker. He would go on to apprentice with a cobbler, learning to make shoes in Florence.
“Yeah, I’m handy,” the actor told Melissa Block of npr, “You give me a tool belt, I know what to do with it.”
When working on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread in which Daniel Day-Lewis played a fashion designer, he studied the craft extensively. According to Vanity Fair, he even went so far as to learn how to cut, drape, and sew – finally re-creating a Balenciaga dress.
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Sources: Offerman Woodshop, USA Today, True West, npr, This Old House, The Cut, Town and Country, Film and Furniture, Vanity Fair, Fine Woodworking, Woodcraft
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