In Interviews

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We’re interviewing makers from all 50 states. Today we’re featuring Anika Gandhi, a DIYer and woodworker from California. 

How did you get started woodworking? Who were your mentors?

I got started with woodworking about 8 years ago when I was looking for fun toddler furniture for my 18-month-old. The online trail quickly led me down the rabbit hole of discovering that with a few tools, I could probably make them myself. Prior to that I had zero exposure to woodworking/DIY and had barely even touched a power drill.

Once I built the first piece, I was hooked.

I am self-taught – learning from the generous online bloggers and YouTubers – many of whom are now friends too, by asking questions, and in general, researching and soaking up all the details and information. If I had to pick a mentor, I would consider it to be Ana White because it was her projects and plans that helped me learn during the early years.

What do you think is your best or favorite work? What kind of work do you do the most?

My recent favorite is the A-frame desk I built for my daughter. It was a simple design with clean lines but is quite an eye-catcher. I have to give a shoutout to my angled leg coffee table as well. It was a nice challenge figuring out all those bevels and angles but the end result is totally worth it!

Most of my work is centered around making woodworking approachable to everyone – especially beginners. I focus on simple techniques and basic tools and try to keep my projects easy to build while at the same time making sure there is an element of unexpectedness to it.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to start woodworking or pursue it as a profession?

Just get started. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Start small and learn new skills with every project. It’s all about learning from mistakes and evolving. Ask questions. There are many generous woodworkers in the online community who are willing to help you learn and figure it out. Ultimately it is all about Patience, practice, and persistence.

What’s your best hands-on tip or woodworking technique?

I would say it is to sketch out the project properly before you get started. Paper and pen work to sketch it out but software like Sketchup is easy to learn and use. You can have all the cuts and joints mapped out, filter out all the joints that aren’t possible. It will also give you an idea about the sequence to build it in. It will save a lot of time, material, and headaches.

Is there anyone you’d like to shout-out or recommend we follow? Who inspires you? (Doesn’t have to be woodworking related, either.)

Lately, I have been inspired by Rachel Metz (@rachel_metz). She has an amazing vision for all her projects and I love how she brings them to life. Another one of my favorites is The Awesome Orange (@theawesomeorange). Sadie always adds an absolutely amazing personality to every project!

See more of Anika Gandhi’s work on her website, YouTube channel, or on Instagram @anikasdiylife

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