Who is Roy Underhill?
Roy Underhill was born on 22 December 1950, in Washington DC USA, and is a television personality as well as master carpenter, best known for being the host of the series “The Woodwright’s Shop” since 1979. He was the first master housewright in the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg.
The Net Worth of Roy Underhill
How rich is Roy Underhill? As of late-2018, sources estimate a net worth that is at $250,000, earned through success on television and carpentry. He’s also released numerous publications over the course of his career, and as he continues his endeavors, it is expected that his wealth will also continue to increase.
Early Life and Education
Growing up, Roy discovered traditional woodworking through his sister who was working at the Smithsonian Institutute, a group of research centers and museums funded by the government, and holding numerous historical and architectural items, with the task of preserving and restoring them along with places. Later on, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study theatre, in hopes of finding a career in acting.
After earning his degree, he moved to Colorado in the early 1970s to pursue a career in acting, forming the Homestead Arts, however, his efforts failed, and he then decided to move to New Mexico, discovering that he could use traditional woodworking as a means to earn income. Near the end of the decade, he returned to the academe, taking multi-disciplinary courses at Duke University and North Carolina, including history, engineering, and forestry, leading him to earn a Master of Forestry degree in 1977. Trying to find a way to improve his income as he was starting a family, he then had the idea of a traditional woodworking show.
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The Woodwright’s Shop
With Underhill’s experience and skill in woodworking, he was hired as the first master housewright of the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg, a project aimed at preserving an historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virgini, now considered a living-history museum. Buildings there include Colonial Revival structures as well as 17th-century to 19th century works. Numerous parts of it has been restored in attempt to capture the atmosphere of the 18th century.
He then approached the UNC Center for Public Television with his idea of a woodworking show. While his first efforts were rejected, the idea for it was eventually accepted, and in 1979 he started filming for the show “The Woodwright’s Shop”, while still working as a master housewright, actually becoming the director of interpretive development at Colonial Williamsburg. Since beginning in 1979, “The Woodwright’s Shop” has been one of the longest running shows on CBS, airing over 400 episodes. Each season lasts for around 35 episodes, and although initially only broadcast in North Carolina, it eventually went national two years later.
Mastery and Other Works
Traditional woodworking consists of creating numerous useful objects out of wood, including furniture, toys, and other objects. Roy often goes out of his way to teach viewers and students how to create strong wooden joints, which is a needed skill in carpentry. While there are many automated tools that have been introduced to the industry in recent years, Roy focuses on hand tools and also teaches maintenance as well as handling tools. The show also doesn’t hide the fact that you can get injuries from using hand tools, and he has suffered several minor injuries in his programs as well as in his classes.
Later in his career, he started working as a communications consultant, and has also authored several books, including “The Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge”, “The Woodwright’s Apprentice: Twenty Favorite Projects from the Woodwright’s Shop”, and “The Woodwright’s Workbook: Further Explorations in Traditional Woodcraft”. He also teaches traditional woodworking projects in a classroom environment, which he terms as “The Woodwright’s School”, mainly held in Pittsboro, California. He is also highly esteemed by numerous woodworkers who use hand tools, and they often refer to him as St. Roy.
— Kilroy's Workshop, Inc. (@KilroysWorkshop) March 13, 2015
For his personal life, it is known that Underhill has been married since the early 1970s, though details about his wife or marriage are scarce, but they have two daughters. Most of the classes he teachers are held in places he has built. He prefers to film episodes of his show in one take, without any editing. He’s had one serious injury caught on camera, while handling a hatchet – they decided to keep it in the show, as he felt that the incident gave the show more realism.