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Riley’s Workshop: 11-year-old Kodiak boy passes pandemic time by making how-to woodworking videos

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 12:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Last summer as the pandemic forced many to stay home, 11-year-old Riley Rohrer from Kodiak was busy in his wood shop. When he found himself with a bit of extra time on his hands as school moved online, he decided to upload his creations for all to see on his YouTube channel.

“There’s tons of YouTube channels out there and I think it’s a good opportunity to share some of the things I’ve learned with everybody else and make some tips and tricks known to others as well so that they could use them,” said Riley.

The YouTube channel, Riley’s Workshop, is a place where Riley showcases his latest woodworking creations, reviews power tools and creates step by step DIY tutorials. So far he has made a personalized toy box for his dog, created an arch for his cousin’s wedding and even surprised his dad with a new work desk for Christmas.

“When you’re building something for somebody else, it’s fun to see the joy on their face when you give it to them,” said Riley. “Or when you get up every morning and look at the beside table you made for yourself or somebody else.”

All of this thanks in part to other YouTube videos, but mostly Riley’s grandpa.

“I’ve always loved mashing things together, whether it’s Lego bricks or my dinner,” said Riley. “I’ve always loved doing that, but my grandpa really has played a big part in helping me accomplish big projects and learn art concepts as well.”

Riley’s dad, Sam Rohrer, says Riley is also self taught in using a camera, and editing his own videos for the channel. He says he’s happy to see Riley busy and productive doing something he’s passionate about.

“Particularly, once the pandemic started and school was cancelled, he would wake up before the rest of us in the house,” said Rohrer. “All of his schoolwork for the day would be done by eight o’clock. He’d jump on his dirt bike and he’d ride up to the shop. He was working six and eight hour days all through the springtime and into the summer just building constantly. Non-stop.”

It’s a hobby he loves captured in videos he hopes inspire others.

“At the end of each video, I hope somebody walks away with the impression that maybe this project isn’t that hard, just take it one step at a time,” said Riley. “If I can do it, anyone can do it, and then inspire them to maybe make the same thing or maybe make something different.”

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