Since Bob Clagett burst onto the maker scene with his YouTube channel I Like to Make Stuff, DIY videos have never been the same. His slick editing and likeable delivery, make his videos stand out among a sea of other YouTubers. Not to mention his quality builds which he makes seem so simple—a sign of a true craftsman.
In addition to producing woodworking videos, you’ll find him welding, programming arduinos, 3D printing, and working on his Land Cruiser. We’re honored to have him on Tool Crave and hope you enjoy his interview as much as we did.
Who introduced you to making and building things?
I don’t think it was any one person, but more of just the culture in my family. My dad, and both of my grandfathers were people who constantly made things and fixed things. It wasn’t really a big deal, it wasn’t ever really called out.. They just did things themselves if they could. I watched them make things around the house, and they were always helping me make my pinewood derby cars and things like that. I grew up with that as a point of reference, so I just ran with it.
It’s interesting thinking back now, the difference between those three examples in my life. My dad is really engineering minded, his dad was too, but also was an artist… a sculptor and painter. My other grandfather did construction, so he worked at an entirely different scale. I think I just learned something about myself in answering this question!
What feature of your workshop do you love the most?
Efficiency. That’s not so much a specific physical feature, but I really enjoy finding ways to work as efficiently as possible within a constraint. Currently, that constraint is space. That forces me to focus heavily on how space can be shared between tools and operations to be the most useful. There’s a scene in Iron Man 2 where Tony Stark (is it any surprise that I love the Iron Man movies?) decides to rip apart his shop to have it in shape for a really specific task. My mind goes to that scene at least once a week, because I’m constantly reevaluating the efficiency of my workflow and right on the edge of ripping the shop apart to rebuild it all for better flow. My office is the same way. It’s really a different kind of workshop more than an office. It’s a combination of audio and computer hardware, music studio, 3d printers, an electronics station, etc. I’m always looking for ways to pack in more function to a limited amount of space.
In a fire, what tool would you save above all others? Why?
I’ve got this 5lb sledge hammer that I took from my Grandads shop after he passed away. The only reason I took is is because he carved our last name, Clagett, into the handle in a really cool font. I’d grab that because it was his, but everything else can be replaced. I’m typically not precious with my stuff, so if it all burnt, I’d be alright.
What task do you enjoy the most in your workshop?
I think the thing I enjoy most in the shop is the breakthrough. Maybe that’s not so much a task, but it is a part of the building process. I love that moment when I’m faced with a design problem and it hits me exactly how to proceed. I’ll be stumped on how to make something work for days, but once I have that breakthrough, it’s a jolt of energy and I can’t wait to actually try it out. I really love problem solving, in all of its different forms. I guess that explains the constant search for shop efficiency as well.
What tool do you covet that you currently do not have?
I don’t think I really covet anything, I’m extremely blessed to have a full arsenal of tools. I guess if there’s something that I’d really like to have it’s a large-ish mill. I’d love to get into metal machining although I don’t have a specific reason why it’s interesting to me. I don’t even have a project in mind that I can’t do now, it’s just a new thing that I have no knowledge of or experience with. Part of machining that is really fascinating to me is the amount of precision that’s necessary. Historically, I don’t have the patience for that type of precision, so I think it’d be a really good exercise to do something where it’s just not optional. It’s a medium where wood filler can’t save you from your impatience.
What’s next for the Land Cruiser?
I want to make a big roof rack! It’s been on my list since I got the cruiser, but I want to make it out of aluminum tube to keep the weight down. Welding aluminum is something else I have no experience with, and it sounds like TIG welding would be the best way to do it. That project is something for down the line after I get a TIG, learn to use it, learn to weld aluminum and have a shop big enough to build the rack. So.. it’s a ways off 🙂 I’ve also got some small projects I want to do here and there, but most of them are interior or electronics projects.
When you can find time away from ILTMS, what do you enjoy doing?
Ha! I’ve learned quickly that being self employed doesn’t leave you with free time. I have four young kids, so any non work time is devoted to them or to marathon training for part of the year. I’ve run a marathon each year for the last four years and the 18 week training is a huge time investment. My kids are by far my important focus though. ILTMS is just a way to provide for them and teach them along the way.
If you like what you see, throw a few dollars his way on Patreon.