Maker Interview – Bob Clagett of I like to Make Stuff


Jenn: Hey guys, I’m Jenn from House One and I’m here with Bob Clagett from I like to Make Stuff. Bob, thank you so much for being here.

Bob: Absolutely.

Jenn: So, I thought we could start by just introducing everybody to your channel and telling them a little bit about your site and what they can expect to see there.

Bob: You can expect to see all sorts of stuff.

Jenn: All sorts?

Bob: Yeah. I intentionally make it so you don’t really know what to expect. I do a lot of woodworking and metalworking projects, but then also just like props and whatever is interesting, and it changes all the time.

How did you get started?

Bob: I did software development for a really long time—about 15 years. And when you spend that much time at a computer, you have to find something else to do to keep your brain sane and everything. So, I started making some stuff on the side just to get up from the computer and ended up needing to explain that to people to make it valuable. I was like, “I’ll make a blog to try to teach people,” and then it just took over. I kind of dove in. I come from a family of people who just did stuff with their hands with no formal training. So, I grew up watching it a little bit, but really I just needed to be able to make stuff.  I’m still figuring it out as I go.

What is your favorite project?

Bob: I made a secret door. So, it’s a bookcase with a book and you pull it and it opens a secret door. And it was for a friend for his kid to find when he gets old enough. So that had a story behind it and it was a lot of fun to do. That’s probably my favorite one.

Where do you find inspiration?

Bob: I don’t really look for it. I get inspired by stuff all over the place when I don’t really expect it. I’ll run across a piece of graffiti and some color combination says something weird to me and then it inspires some random thing. A lot of the stuff I make is honestly just made out of utility. Some pretty good motivation, your personal investment, when you need something and you can make it fulfill that need.

What video styles or makers inspire you?

Bob: I’m inspired by people coming up with things that I wouldn’t have thought of. And, you know, it’s all over the place. I mean, people make just random things out of 2×4’s. I think of that material a particular way for a particular use, and when I see people make prop builds out of 2×4’s that– I just wouldn’t have thought of that. I see people like Jimmy Diresta who are just incredibly talented, and all sorts of stuff I would never have thought to do. There’s inspiration everywhere and if your eyes are open for it, you see it.

What is your best advice for new DIY’ers?

Bob: I think you should buy tools as you need them to make the things you need. So, my advice is always to walk around your house, look for something that is not like you want it to be. Like, you need a table in that corner or this stool is too short or something. Find a need and then solve that problem. Get the tools that you need to accomplish that, but don’t go buy a bunch of tools that you may or may not need. If you solve a problem in your own home, something you deal with on a daily basis, you’re invested in it and you get to reap the benefit, you know, all the reward of putting the time in and making something.

How do you handle difficulties in your work?

Bob: There are always bumps and I always make mistakes. I make poor choices or I’m learning stuff on the fly. And I try to leave those mistakes in to show that you’re going to run into something, something will not go like you expect. Not failing is really about figuring out how to come back from those mistakes. I had a really successful project recently that failed mid-video. It just wasn’t right and I had to start over. But instead of starting the video at that point, I started it and showed that failure as a way to be like, “I just made a bad choice. And then I made a better choice and it turned out great.” I mean, I honestly believe that something is only a failure when you’re done, when you stop trying to fix it. So as long as you know that you can continue to change your idea and your approach and come up with a way to make it work, you haven’t failed. It’s just a speed bump.

Jenn: I like that. Words to live by, and we appreciate you being here. And if you guys want to check out more of Bob’s stuff, you can see him at I Like To Make Stuff on Instagram, your website, Facebook, [You Tube] anywhere you look. So thanks for being here.

Bob: Thanks for having me.

Jenn Largesse
By Jenn Largesse
Jenn Largesse is the editor and creator of House One. As the daughter of a carpenter and an english teacher, she has been honing her love for woodworking and writing her entire life. After nearly a decade as a writer and producer for This Old House, she bought her first home in rural New England and launched her blog, Build Basic.

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