Roy Underhill biography, net worth, wife, daughters, family.

If you are looking for a master carpenter then you simply can’t do better than Roy Underhill. Known for his extraordinary skills on the wood, Roy has served as a carpenter for over three decades. Fame followed later as Roy was asked to headline a new show entitled The Woodwright’s Shop. Roy takes a hands-on approach to the series and answers how-to questions for his viewers. The series first aired in 1979 and concluded its 37th season in 2017 making it one of the longest-running series in reality television. In this article, we will bring everything to know about this television star.

Table of Contents

Early Life

Roy Underhill was born on the 22nd of December 1950, in Washington. Roy received an artistic heritage from his mother who was a talented artist. On the other hand, Roy’s father worked as a federal judge in Washington. The youngest child of the family, Roy has a brother and sister above him. After finishing high school in 1968, Roy applied to the University of North Carolina. And while Roy is now known as the master carpenter, he first wanted to make a name for himself in theatre arts. So, he graduated with a degree in theatre directing. He continued with his studies at Duke University and graduated with a master’s degree in forestry.

Roy Underhill
Roy Underhill

Pursuing a Career as a Theatre Director

Fresh out of college, Roy journeyed to Colorado and gathered a theatre group called Homestead Arts. The group failed to gather the attention of the viewers and was shut down in no time. Roy then moved to Mexico where we joined a socialist commune. The commune claimed that they were making plans to change society. After a while, Roy realized that the commune was not his cup of tea and he moved back to the States to continue his education.

Working as a Woodright

 Roy’s skills as a carpenter first came to light after he did a presentation at Duke University. One of his professors suggested that Roy should display his skills on television. Impressed with the idea, Roy set up a shop by the name of, The Woodright’s Shop. The shop garnered attention and customers were flocking to order things from the shop. Roy later approached the PBS broadcasting company with the idea of broadcasting his skills on reality TV. While his idea was turned down at first, he turned up the following year to shoot a pilot episode. 

Things escalated from that point on as Roy was beloved by viewers around the world. Roy was contracted for two seasons in the beginning but the board changed its mind after seeing the popularity of the show. The series wrapped up its 37th season.

Career Timeline

Roy Underhill is an American woodworker and television show host who hosted the PBS series The Woodwright’s Shop from 1979-2017. He is also an author, a teacher, and a former master housewright at the Colonial Williamsburg reconstruction. Here is a brief timeline of his television career:

  • 1978: He pitches his idea for a traditional woodworking show to the UNC Center for Public Television and gets accepted.
  • 1979: He begins filming the first season of The Woodwright’s Shop at West Point on the Eno in Durham, N.C.
  • 1980: The Woodwright’s Shop debuts on PBS and becomes one of the longest running “how-to” shows on television.
  • 1981: He publishes his first book, The Woodwright’s Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft.
  • 1983: He publishes his second book, The Woodwright’s Companion: Exploring Traditional Woodcraft.
  • 1986: He publishes his third book, The Woodwright’s Workbook: Further Explorations in Traditional Woodcraft.
  • 1988: He co-authors a book with Lisa C. Mullins, Styles of the Emerging Nation (Architectural Treasures of Early America, 13).
  • 1991: He publishes his fourth book, The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop.
  • 1996: He publishes his fifth book, The Woodwright’s Apprentice: Twenty Favorite Projects from The Woodwright’s Shop.
  • 2011: He gives a presentation at TEDx Raleigh, sharing the value of ingenuity and living in the present.
  • 2014: He publishes his sixth book and debut novel, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker
  • 2017: He hosted the 37th season of The Woodwright’s Shop on PBS

Current Endeavors

As of 2023, Roy Underhill has announced that he will close his Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C., at the end of the season. However, he has not retired from woodworking or teaching. He is working on a new book and possibly a new television show. He is also exploring the possibility of relocating or transforming his school in some way.

Roy Underhill is passionate about preserving and sharing the traditional skills and tools of woodworking. He believes that woodworking is a creative and satisfying activity that connects us with our environment and our history. He continues to inspire and educate woodworkers of all levels with his enthusiasm and expertise.

Net Worth

How much is Roy Underhill worth? Roy has an estimated net worth of $2 Million as of June 2023. This impressive sum comes from his long and successful career as a TV show host, woodworker, instructor, author, and consultant. He has also created many items that showcase his skills and creativity, such as furniture, tools, musical instruments, and sculptures. He lives in a historic house in North Carolina, that he restored himself using traditional methods. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion with his students, viewers, readers, and fans. He is also an avid traveler, hiker, kayaker, and gardener.

A Supportive Wife & Long Blissful Marriage

Roy Underhill is a man of many talents. He is a television host, a woodworker, a teacher, an author, and a master housewright. But above all, he is a devoted husband and father who cherishes his family.

Roy met his wife Lane in the late 1960s, when they were both students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They shared a passion for theater and arts, and soon fell in love. They got married in 1970, and moved to Colorado to pursue an acting career. However, fate had other plans for them.

Roy discovered his interest in traditional woodworking, and decided to follow his dream of creating a show about it. He faced many challenges and rejections, but he never gave up. He had the support of his wife, who encouraged him to pursue his vision. Lane also shared his love for nature and history, and joined him in his adventures.

They moved back to North Carolina, where Roy earned a Master of Forestry from Duke University. He also became the director of interpretive development at Colonial Williamsburg, where he learned more about the craft and culture of the 18th century. In 1979, he finally got his chance to host his own show, The Woodwright’s Shop, on PBS. The show became a hit, and Roy became a celebrity.

Through all these years, Roy and Lane have been inseparable. They have two daughters, Rachel and Eleanor, who inherited their parents’ talents and passions. Rachel is not very public about her personal life and career, so we don’t have much information about her. Eleanor, however, is a singer and songwriter who performs with the band Underhill Rose, which she co-founded with Molly Rose.

Roy and Lane have been married for over 50 years now, and they are still going strong. They have a happy and harmonious relationship, based on mutual respect, trust, and admiration. They have no rumors or scandals about their marriage, and they are loyal to each other. They enjoy spending time together, traveling, exploring, and learning new things.

Roy Underhill is not only a successful and respected personality in the woodworking world, but also a loving and caring husband and father in the family world. He has balanced his career and personal life with grace and wisdom. He is an inspiration for many people who aspire to follow their dreams and passions.

Physical & Personality Traits

Roy Underhill is a distinguished American woodworker and television personality. He has a warm and friendly appearance, with a full beard and a smile that often lights up his face. He has brown eyes and gray hair, which he sometimes wears in a ponytail. He is of average height and build, and usually dresses casually in plaid shirts, jeans, and suspenders. He also wears glasses and a hat when working with wood.

Roy Underhill was born on December 22, 1950, making him a Capricorn. Capricorns are known for being ambitious, practical, and hard-working. They are also loyal, reliable, and responsible. Roy Underhill exhibits many of these traits in his career as a carpenter, woodworking instructor, television host, and author. He has been passionate about traditional woodworking since his childhood, and has dedicated his life to preserving and sharing this craft with others. He is also a creative and humorous person, who enjoys making jokes and telling stories on his show. He is respected and admired by many fans and fellow woodworkers, who affectionately call him “St. Roy”.

Wiki/Bio Facts

Full nameRoy Underhill
Date of birthDecember 22, 1950
Place of birthWashington, D.C., U.S.
OccupationCarpenter, Woodworking Instructor, Television Host, Author
ChildrenEleanor Underhill, Rachell Underhill
EducationBachelor of Arts in Theater from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Master of Forestry from Duke University
First jobMaster housewright at Colonial Williamsburg reconstruction
Recent jobsHost of The Woodwright’s Shop on PBS, Founder and instructor of The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, NC
First episode of The Woodwright’s ShopAired in 1979 on UNC Center for Public Television
Longest running PBS “how-to” showThe Woodwright’s Shop (along with This Old House)
Inspiration for traditional woodworkingHis sister who worked at the Smithsonian Institution
First attempt at a career in theaterHomestead Arts in Colorado (failed)
Second attempt at a career in theaterA proposal for a woodworking show (rejected)
Consultant for Hollywood productionsHarbinger
TEDx Raleigh presentationIn 2011, on the value of ingenuity and living in the present
Debut novelCalvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! (2014)
Non-fiction best-practices guideThe Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge (2008)
Other books authoredThe Woodwright’s Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft (1981), The Woodwright’s Companion: Exploring Traditional Woodcraft (1983), The Woodwright’s Workbook: Further Explorations in Traditional Woodcraft (1986), Styles of the Emerging Nation (1988), The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop (1991), The Woodwright’s Apprentice: Twenty Favorite Projects from The Woodwright’s Shop (1996)
Nickname among hand tool aficionadosSt. Roy
Age as of June 202372 years old
Zodiac signCapricorn
Net worthUnknown
Eye colorBrown
Hair colorGray
Marital statusMarried
Spouse nameJane Underhill

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