7 of the best things Ron Swanson actually made on Parks and Recreation
That Parks and Recreation reunion you always wanted to happen is finally on the way…kind of. Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman are teaming up for a crafting show this summer—Making It, on NBC—and it’s got me reflecting on the best things Ron Swanson actually made on Parks and Rec. Offerman’s character was always good with his hands, in a very MacGyver way, and what makes this even better is that the actor actually shares the same talents IRL.
Here are 7 beautiful creations Ron Swanson actually made—with or without a little assistance from Offerman.
1 A harp
Early on in the show, an agitated Ron attempted to prove to Leslie that he was definitely capable of driving drunk. Stubbornness, thy name is Swanson. In order to do so, he famously drank six glasses of whiskey before utilizing “a bandsaw, a spokeshave and an oscillating spindle sander” to create this perfect, beautifully tuned harp.
As fans will recall, back in Season 2, Ron gifted Mark Brendanawicz with a hand-made, hand-varnished canoe to thank him for helping him get his shop up to code. Interestingly, Offerman actually can build canoes in real life, even writing a motivational memoir of sorts that references it in the title. Oh, and that’s not the last time canoes will come up in this article. Just FYI. (Whether the Parks and Rec prop was an actual canoe from the Offerman family woodshop remains unclear, but if you know for sure, please share that information with me.)
3The box for Chris Traeger
Saltwater will warp the wood, so keep your tears in your eyes, where they belong.
4A picture frame
By the last season of the show, we discovered that Leslie and Ron had stopped speaking. They’re later reunited, of course, but this one particular detail *always* gets me: Ron Swanson actually made a picture frame out of the door to Ann’s house for Leslie. Even though they weren’t speaking at the time. He’s not a sentimental dude, and certainly not a nostalgic one. He didn’t even particularly enjoy his own relationship with Ann. But he makes this perfect gift for Leslie, and it’s *literally* too much for my heart to take.
5Ben & Leslie’s wedding rings
I am unable to revisit this fact without weeping, so here you go.
A waffle iron, people. A waffle iron.
6Paddles for the Parks and Rec cast.
When the time came to strike the set of Parks and Recreation, Offerman took a page from his character and made *literally* the most sentimental gift of all time: paddles, for each cast member, fashioned from lumber from the actual set of their TV show.
We never did figure out which chair was his, but the fact that he received an award for one allowed fans to see how perfect he and Diane were for one another. It also led to one of the all-time greatest Parks and Rec fight scenes between Leslie and Tammy 2. So, hooray for a sturdy chair, but really—three cheers for what it led to.
Bonus: This quote about woodworking that’s borderline erotic.
In 2011, Offerman spoke to Variety about being an in-demand carpenter who also starred on a beloved network sitcom. He said the following:
"[Los Angeles] is a great town for people wanting custom-commissioned work of all sorts, so I started building decks and cabins in peoples’ yards, and I got really into post and beam construction, which then immediately segued into Old World furniture joinery, just a smaller version of the same joinery. And suddenly I was getting all these commissions for Shaker pieces and Mission-style table.
It’s a beautiful word salad of carpentry terminology, and now you are more in love with Nick Offerman than you thought possible. I will not be apologizing.
If you or a loved one is completely entranced by Nick Offerman’s woodworking abilities, I highly recommend you check out the website for his shop! And my birthday is September 4th. I am *just* saying.