April Wilkerson, Maker


Cool Tools Show 146: April Wilkerson

Our guest this week is April Wilkerson. April is a maker who started building stuff out of necessity, but then it turned into a passion, and now it’s her full-time job. Anything she needs, she figures out how to build, so nothing is off-limits. Woodworking, metalworking, construction, renovation. She does it all.

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Show notes:

ISOtunes Bluetooth Earplug Headphones ($90)
“This is a really great tool, because I’m constantly in the shop, since it’s my job. I also use them pretty much any other time I’m outside of the shop. Whenever I’m doing any sort of yard work, traveling, going to the gym … They’re also, of course, noise-canceling. So even if I’m traveling, and I just want to block out the people next to me. The ISO is really breaking the market with reducing the cost but not reducing the quality. So, these are gonna be the highest quality hearing protection that you can get on the market that’s Bluetooth, outside of the Bose. And they’re very affordable. …You can listen to music, you can listen to podcasts, anything that you’re listening to on your phone you then listen to in your ears. And I’ll tell you this, I have a shop full of woodworking tools and metalworking tools, yard full of a tractor, a chainsaw, weed eater. I’ve never once encountered a tool that can overpower the ISOtunes.”

Fairwin Men’s Military Tactical Web Belt ($5-$14)
“I discovered especially, being a female, my clothes are typically form-fitting, and I cannot stand wearing big, bulky leather belts. … I discovered this nylon, it’s called a military tactical belt, and it’s very low-profile … They come in multiple different colors, black, gray, green. And I ordered it, and it’s a game-changer belt, which is so silly, but it really does make me happy. It’s something that I can wear without anything else, like out in the shop, but then also it fits very nicely under my tool belt. So I can wear my belt to hold my pants up but then also not get in the way of rocking a tool belt around my waist as well. So it’s very low-profile. And one thing that I really like about it is not only is it durable, but it doesn’t have holes in it. So it has this clasping mechanism that you can cinch it around your waist as much as you need it to without being constricted to a position where a pre-drilled hole is, and then having to pick between too tight or too loose. Wherever you need it, you clasp it down and that’s where it stays.”

Triton SuperJaws XXL Portable Clamping System ($170)
“It’s a clamp that is also a vise. I use it in a variety of different ways, and like I said I have a shelf full of tools, a woodworking side and a metalworking side … this is the most versatile tool in my shop. Regardless of what sort of project, whether it be inside my shop or outside on my job site, this tool is always used regardless of what it is. …There’s a pedal on it so that you can suck up to the material with the jaw, turn the Super Jaws into a locking position, and then press down with your foot, and then you can just put as much pressure on whatever it is that you’re clamping that you want to. So it’s essentially a vise that you clamp down with your foot. But, it’s as big as a sawhorse, if that makes sense. And they do fold up so that you can put them away, but since I use them on every single project and it’s just a daily-used tool for me.”

“It’s a 3D modeling software package that I use. And there is a free version, a website version, and like I said it’s a 3D CAD modeling software. And what I do is, I’m dyslexic, and so my brain has a hard time keeping things straight whenever I’m just trying to think about it in my head. And so I discovered modeling, and this way, it gives me a way to design and visualize things before I ever step foot into my workshop and waste a bunch of time and material trying to figure it out as I go. … I utilize this tool anytime I want to build something, anytime I want to pick out colors, anytime I want to do some math that I don’t want to do in my head or by longhand, I end up using this program for. And so it’s just something that I definitely recommend to anybody who’s thinking about, I mean, you can remodel your kitchen, you can design a desk. I just recently built a 4000 square foot shop and I couldn’t figure out what paint scheme I wanted. So I modeled it up, just so I can simply have a visual aid on playing around with different paint colors before going and buying fifteen samples at the store.”

Also mentioned:

5-1 Pen ($20)
“This one is also a little nerdy, but it’s one of those small things in my life that I absolutely love and I don’t go anywhere without. And it’s a 5-in-1 pen ….almost like what you had as a child. … I use a manual day planner, ’cause I just, I wanna write, I wanna see my whole month and I don’t want it digitally … and this allows me to very quickly glance at things that I use different colors for …I bought like five of them, I always carry one with me and I have one in about every room of my house and in my shop. It’s just one of those small things in life that I’m like, ‘Mm. Everybody should know about this.’”

The Grenade Stool
The Grenade Stool
“I make and sell grenade stools.”

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