Tim Allen’s History Channel “Assembly Required” Features April Wilkerson, Texas Hill Country DIY Expert

Back when April Wilkerson decided she wanted to build a pantry in her house and didn’t know how to do it, she could have used someone like… well, April Wilkerson.

The Texas Hill Country resident didn’t even know where to start this pantry project. Eight years later, she is hosting DIY videos on a YouTube channel with his name, which has over a million subscribers.

This caught the attention of the people behind “Assembly Required,” a new History Channel show in which builders compete to make things like a hot tub, a comfortable ride-on mower, and an ice melter / blower combination. sheets.

“Assembly Required,” which premieres at 9pm on February 23, is hosted and produced by Tim Allen and Richard Karn, the actors who co-hosted the fictional show “Tool Time” on the ’90s sitcom “Better Life. Habitat Wilkerson is the new show’s resident expert, helping to explain the projects and the distinctive challenges they represent.

The woman who decided to make her own pantry may have found it all unfathomable. At the time, Wilkerson had no construction skills. All she had was a small kitchen and a need for more storage. She considered buying a pedestal pantry, but the one she wanted was $ 1,100.

She decided to try to build her own and started looking for instructions.

No dice.

“I couldn’t find a tutorial on how to do it, and I was incredibly frustrated because I had the motivation and was willing to put in the time – I just needed a guide.” said Wilkerson, from Corpus Christi. “I didn’t know how to buy lumber, I didn’t know how to use tools, and I didn’t know how to put things together. And so I went through the process of finding out.

It was difficult, but she stuck it out. She borrowed the tools she needed. It all cost him about $ 80 for materials. She loved serious handing over and she really loved the feeling of having built something with her own hands.

“I was like, if I can do this for everything I need in life, let’s go,” she said.

She uploaded a written tutorial for the pantry so that anyone else who wanted to make one and didn’t know what they were doing would at least have a place to start. This ultimately led to a career change.

“It snowballed,” she said. “It started in a really naïve place to want to share information with other people who would be in the same situation as me. And then it became what it is now, which is actually a full time job. And it went from typing on a website to creating videos because it’s just a much clearer way to communicate information on how to do things.

Wilkerson worked in the oil and gas industry and was in the process of becoming a manager. She was not unhappy. But doing things with his own hands gave him a deeper satisfaction.

“I found the build, and it kindled something in me,” she said. “Once I find something like that, it takes me completely away from my attention, and that’s exactly what happened.

“I feel so lucky to have found a passion in life and doubly blessed to have found it so early. I think a lot of people don’t find something they’re really passionate about until maybe retirement age, when they invest in finding something to occupy their time. I ran into this. And it completely changed my life, my level of happiness and my motivation.

Wilkerson has branched out over time and now has an online store on their website, wilkerdos.com, where visitors can purchase blueprints and models for a multitude of projects, including Adirondack chairs, chicken coops, and swings. Free plans are available for smaller projects, including a hotel birdhouse, stools, and various storage pieces, including a wine rack and tie rack. And it also sells parts from other manufacturers.

Last summer, she opened The Wood Shed, a retail space and workshop in Canyon Lake where her employees work on custom builds and other projects.

A few months later, she went to Los Angeles to shoot “Assembly Required”. She got the job after taking a chemistry test with Allen and Karn through Zoom. She did it in her shop, and the cat clearly went well.

“It was really organic and easy,” she said. “We immediately jumped on the things that interest us. “

She said she had a great time filming the show, although she is not sure how she might have done as a competitor as it would depend on the skills required for the task at hand.

“I build things really well from scratch, and now I’m starting to fix things,” said Wilkerson, who is working on adding leatherwork to her metaphorical tool kit so she can make a door. -firewood. “As I was watching the show, I was like, ‘Oh, that would’ve been a good thing for me, but this one I sure wouldn’t have excelled at. “So it could have been hit or miss, but at the end of the day it would have been a blast.”

The episodes were shot long before the pandemic, so everyone who worked on the show had daily coronavirus tests to make sure they were safe. Other than that, the pandemic hasn’t had much of an impact on her daily life, Wilkerson said.

“Honestly, my world is sort of isolated naturally,” she said. “Woodworking and being a manufacturer isolates – you’re usually in your workshop all day. I live on 20 acres and go to my store. I can walk around there and do my thing, and I have my camera, so I was able to carry on with my business as usual.

More and more people seem to be joining her in the building and creating a sphere as they dabble in various projects to pass the time during the pandemic. She’s happy to be a resource for them: “I found a boost in my audience and the people who show interest and spend their free time in their garage doing stuff, which is, good. sure, really cool to see.

She has a few tips for those who might start from the same place as her, with desire but few skills: Choose your first project wisely. If she hadn’t really, really wanted this pantry, she said, there’s little chance that she would end up discovering a new passion for herself.

“If you are planning to get into construction or using tools, you should pick something that you really want in the end,” she said. “It takes a lot of work, and if I didn’t want the thing, the end product, as much as I wanted, then there’s no way I would have appreciated and motivated him to go through this work process. “

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