I’m a long-time admirer of MyFixItUpLife. The husband and wife founders, Mark and Theresa Clement, are home improvement royalty. I often refer to them as the hardest working people in the biz as they broadcast a nationally syndicated radio show, host a weekly Google Hangout, share awesome DIY tips on their website, do some TV work, and attend every industry trade show and media event under the sun.
They not only attend every show, they squeeze in roughly 30 interviews with home improvement personalities over the course of 3 days. From Norm Abram and Mike Holmes…to me. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to sit and chat with them and now it’s my turn to learn a bit more about one of them.
Who introduced you to making and building things?
I gave this a second thought and while I’d love to give a field-of-unicorns answer about my father or a devoted uncle taking me under his dovetail wing, the answer is a little muddier. While it’s true I was inspired by my mother building a book case when I was just a tyke, I may have been equally nudged into my tool life by something a little more 60-grit: Revenge. My father was hapless. He seized the lawn mower engine annually because he refused to learn about putting oil in it. On the other hand, nobody made me go outside and build forts and take my bike apart. But I did. I do know this: I’m glad life lead me here. And that I followed.
What feature of your workshop do you love the most?
That I might get a new one some day. OK, that may be a little too tongue in cheek, but ‘life’ happened to my workshop more than I wanted it to. I bought the home it’s in as a flip. So far we’re still at cartwheel. So what I thought was temporary is permanent-ish. It has done one thing that I appreciate a lot: Required me to get inventive. Most of my gear is on wheels. And mobility serves many masters in a small workshop.
What tool(s) always stay in your toolbox and never go in storage? Why?
I had to go into the shop and look around to answer this one. I don’t actually own a toolbox. I own boxes and there are tools in them. And I own tool bags. Tools in there too. But no actual toolboxes. The things that never go away for me: My tool pouch and what’s in it. It’s the first thing that goes on when I do a project and the last to get put away, which means hung up so I can put it on again right away. In other tool news, I have an entire 9-hour TED talk ready to go on why having a good tool pouch is the key to the DIY castle. When would you like it to begin? J
In a fire, what tool(s) would you save above all others? Why?
If I couldn’t grab my tool pouch and an impact driver on the way down the fire ladder, it would be the ‘tool box’ I got from my grandfather. It’s got to be 80 years old. It’s huge. It’s made of pine boards so wide, from trees that took so long to grow you might cry. It’s that beautiful and the world used to have those things in it. It’s corners are hand-cut dovetails. It’s a work of art. A very, very heavy work of art. Designed to bang around in the back of a truck forever, or be the center of a basement workshop, it’s a piece of DIY history I don’t think many people know about: Boxes used to be a badge of honor. My grandfather didn’t make this box. The emblem on it—hand stamped by its builder, Josias Chenette—is a piece of time. I treasure that and what it means and that both my kids got to use it as a toy box.
What task do you enjoy the most in your workshop?
Fun. I love renovating houses and doing huge projects with Theresa in our MyFixitUpLife life of designing and building for TV and customers and videos and blogs. Those projects usually mean tools set up all over the place, on site. But spending an afternoon or evening making something for someone I love brings me tremendous joy.
What tool do you covet that you currently do not have?
HA! I love this question. I literally just wrote these words too. At the moment: An ATV with a snow-plow. DIY brings us inside and outside the house and when snow comes, I don’t just want to be ready this year. I want to be super-ready.