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Maker Interview: April Wilkerson of Wilker Do’s

House One host Jenn Largesse interviews April Wilkerson of Wilker Do’s in this installment of the House One Maker Interview Series.

Jenn: Hey, guys, I’m Jenn from House One and I am here with the legendary April Wilkerson from Wilker Do’s. Thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it.

April Wilkerson: Thanks. I appreciate it.

Jenn: For those of you that aren’t familiar with Wilker Do’s, can you just give them a little bit of an introduction to your brand and some of the things they might see if they stop by your channel?

April: My kind of like motto that I go by is that I build what I need instead of buying it—And I bring a camera along. So, it’s really anything from woodworking to metal-working, construction, renovation, and so on all across the spectrum. I just try to tackle anything. I’m self-taught. And I just– anything I want, I figure out how I can do it.

How long have you been a maker?

April: I picked up my first tool, a drill, in January of 2013.

Jenn: My gosh. Wow. Very impressive.

April: Thank you.

Jenn: For people that are just starting out to know that they can make it to such a level if you’re really putting in the time and effort to learn the craft.

What is your favorite project?

April: Whatever I’m currently motivated to build is my current favorite. I mean, right now, I’m building a 3,000-square foot shop. So, it’s like– it’s my favorite but it’s also the one that’s killing me the most.

Jenn: But everybody else’s dream.

April: Yeah, of course. But like, whenever I want something, I invest so much energy and effort into not only figuring out how to do it, but then also, of course, all of the production that goes into it, since I’m also a content creator on top of it. So, yeah, whatever I’m currently working on is the thing that I’m most amped up about. And then as soon as it’s done, I’m like, “Oh, what’s next?”

How do you handle difficulties in your work?

April: My main go-to, figure-out, tool is trial and error. And so, there’s– it’s just going to happen that things aren’t going to go right. And it happens to everybody. So, I include that in if I find that it’s going to be relevant or if I can see somebody else making the same mistake. I mean, that was the purpose of starting this all is I was doing these projects and I wanted to put it out there. So, there’s somebody else was looking how to replicate it. It would just simplify it.

Is there a mindset or tool that is invaluable to you?

April: There’s a few different directions that I can go in on the topic. But basically, don’t expect it to be easy. Everybody thinks, “It’s just a coffee table, how hard can it be?” And while it definitely can be done, and I motivate you to do it, I feel like people’s expectations are a little bit too low on the amount of effort or time it takes to build anything. So, if you go into it knowing that you’re going to put effort into it, then hopefully you won’t quit whenever you run into a bump. Expect bumps along the way. Also tools, I bought all my first tools secondhand. I wouldn’t recommend going out buying brand new. And on that note, don’t buy tools until you need a tool. Like I don’t recommend if you have a three hundred dollar budget right off, don’t go buy– don’t go spend it all in the store. If you pick up the project first and then figure out, okay, for this project, I’m going to need a drill and a circular saw. Then just go buy those two tools and save your budget, and then pick out your next project and then if that requires a jigsaw, then go buy a jigsaw. Wait until you need a tool to go buy it.

How did you get started?

April: I started from scratch. I started off by borrowing a drill and a circular saw and then I just started building my tool collection by exactly what I just said. I would pick out the project and then I would go to a pawn store and buy them secondhand or on Craigslist. And I got a lot of things, anti-fatigue mats from O’Reilly’s—They were tossing them out. So, I just started collecting things. I had nothing. And when people say that to me now, “Well, of course, you can build this. You have a shop full of tools.” It’s like, no, look back over two years, I didn’t have any tools. So, it’s a mindset. You got to be resourceful. You got to be motivated. And there’s a million ways to do everything in building. Like you can’t just say, “I need a table saw for this.” No, you don’t. If you were really dedicated, you could use a hand saw for crying out loud. So, with that, it’s a hand saw, a jigsaw, a circular saw, a table saw, a router. There is not only one option in no matter what circumstance you’re in.

How do you decide on your next project?

April: It’s always what I need. I find that building is– it’s hard. Even to build the simplest thing, it takes a lot of effort. And especially whenever, like in my case, I’m typically tackling things that I’ve never tackled before. And so, with that, it’s not worth it to me to go through the building process just to build. I’m only motivated to build because I want the end product. So, therefore, I don’t take on commissions. I don’t build things for anybody else, unless it’s my parents, but they don’t really count. Yeah, I think about what it is that I want and then I go and build it. And so, I have, looking around my house, there’s four and half pages of things that I want to do to my house. So, then it’s just– I wake up on Monday, and what do I feel like building the most off my list.

What video styles or makers inspire you?

April: I love Jimmy DiRetsa. I have from the very beginning. He’s always been an idol and now he’s become a really great friend, almost family to me. But he’s still somebody with the mindset of I can do whatever it is. I mean he can make anything out of anything. And I think that’s something that I’m personally going to be going after. I eventually want to be able to just make anything I want out of anything. So, yeah, he’s somebody I definitely look up to. And then also guys like Bob Clagett, who to do such a great job at moving through life, building what they want. But then communicating it so well to other people as well. So, two different styles, but two guys that I really look up to.

Jenn: Well, we thank you so much for being here. And we thank you for your time. And if you guys want to check out more of April’s work, you can check her out at Wilker Do’s (You Tube) and on her website, Instagram and Facebook.