Known as a “jack of all trades” by friends and family, Matthew Peech tries to live up to that title. Peech is a full-time nurse who has gone viral for woodworking projects he does in his spare time, plus he’s earned multiple bachelor’s degrees.
Peech’s woodworking skills were learned over the course of his life, but only recently did he begin receiving international recognition for his ability to create unique yet functional pieces.
What started as a friendly wager between Peech and his children as to who could get the most views on TikTok turned into a side gig that has garnered paid sponsorships and more than 130,000 followers via multiple social platforms.
When COVID-19 hit the area and schools were shut down, Peech’s children began using TikTok and sharing their statistics with each other and their dad.
“I said, ‘I’m going to start a TikTok and beat all you guys,’” Peech said. “I told them I was going to teach people to do carpentry. They didn’t think I would do well with that.”
Peech’s videos include how-to clips for beginners along with more advanced videos that feature a number of complicated pieces Peech has completed. Since July, he has racked up 112,000 followers on TikTok alone.
After that Peech created a YouTube channel, which has 15,000 followers in just a few months. So far, his videos have been watched more than 35 million times.
Though Peech said he wasn’t exactly sure why people had taken so well to his videos, he guessed that a lot of his success stems from his ability to “keep it simple.”
“I was surprised at the amount of middle-aged guys who didn’t know how to do carpentry,” he said. “I realized that just because I grew up with it doesn’t mean everyone did.”
Peech said he builds a little bit of everything, from benches and tables to abstract pieces. Almost all of his woodworking creations are made of reclaimed materials.
Inspired by challenges, Peech said he enjoys building things that are seemingly impossible upon first glance. Oftentimes, Peech said he’ll stare at a half-finished project until he figures out how to make it work. Other times, he’ll have to deconstruct a piece and rebuild it until he gets it right.
“I want to make something unique that no one else can build. A lot of it is based on stuff other artists have done,” he said. “If I decide to sell it, I do. I want it to be fun. I started to mass produce [shelves] and it took the fun out of it. So I quit doing that.”
The amount of time to finish a project varies wildly. An infinity cube only took a few hours, while a complicated set of drawers that appears split down the middle took three months.
Peech said it does take some mathematical skill to be able to complete the more difficult projects. However, he noted, it requires an open mind above everything else.
“Everything a carpenter knows and has been taught, you have to undo,” Peech said. “You have to throw everything out that you think should work.”
Part of Peech’s inspiration in creating carpentry videos comes from a combined love of learning and teaching. Even though he has no plans to quit his day job and become a carpenter full-time, Peech said he’ll continue to teach others about carpentry as long as there are people who are willing to learn.
“People tell me all the time, ‘I can’t do that,’ and I tell them, ‘Yes, you can,’” he said. “The only thing you can’t do is something you don’t try.”
Those interested in Peech’s work can check out his YouTube channel or find him on TikTok at Handyman99.