Off The Board: Joey Pepper

Joey Pepper has been perfecting his craft in woodworking and metalworking in the workshop he shares in Brooklyn, New York. Hear all about it in this interview and check out the beautiful rocking chair he made out of plywood.

Directed & Edited by Suziie Wang. Marquee photo by Dave Chami. For more Off The Board videos click here.

How did you become such a handyman?

I grew up on a farm and ever since I was young whenever we’d need something it was never bought, instead it was “lets make it ourselves, we’ll figure it out.” When I was 15, my mom decided to build a new house so I became a part of that process and helped build our house. Also growing up around farm equipment and having to fix things with my grandfather who would always be building things of his own too, he was a huge influence on my life.
So I grew up with that that mentality and learned the skills to figure out how to make stuff and not rely on anyone else to do it for me. It’s why I found a workshop in Brooklyn called the 3rd Ward which is a community center that has both wood and metal workshops I can use to build the stuff I need and burn any creative energy instead of sitting at home watching TV.

What do you like to make?
I like building things out of nothing, most of the time I’ll use found objects off the street or old pieces of wood from the farm. One time I found an old futon and turned it into a bookshelf for a friend. I also restored an old rusted Toledo Chair I found on the street. The seat and back were busted so I replaced them with some of my old skateboards and polished up the frame. It came out like the original and you couldn’t even tell I used skateboards. It’s fun taking something that isn’t necessarily worth anything and turning it into something that you’re proud of.

What’re your favorite things you’ve made?
My favorite thing I’ve made is a rocking chair. I didn’t have any money at the time and I wanted to make something out of one sheet of Plywood. It’s nothing exotic, it’s just a rocking chair but I managed to squeeze about as much as you can out of one sheet. I was also pretty stoked on this flat bar I made out of a rusty old pipe and other pieces of metal I found, it turned out to be really sick and I took it over to McCarren skatepark in Williamsburg and bolted it to the ground so it was super legit. It was awesome, kids were psyched and skating it everyday, but then about a week later I went over there about 8a.m. on Go Skateboarding Day and Parks & Rec had torn it out.