Rockaway’s Handyman is Keeping Busy

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From a cable television debut to a book to teaching classes, Rockaway’s Handyman and The Rockaway Times DIYer’s tool belt is full.

On Saturday, April 8 at 10 p.m., Artie Wallace and his handyman work is expected to appear on the pilot episodes of TLC’s “Hidden Money Makeover.” This brand new show features designer Jill Martin and handyman Gage Cass who go around the country to help people turn their clutter into cash and use it to makeover a part of their home. Local handyman Artie Wallace and his crew were selected to help do some of the background work on these construction projects. Filming occurred almost a year ago, with Wallace working on a project in Arverne and another in New Jersey for the show, and now TLC is ready to put it to the test to viewers. On Saturday, he’ll get to see the fruits of his labor and may get some screen time. “I haven’t seen the final edit, but my work will be in both pilot episodes and I should be in both,” Wallace said.

Wallace, who claims to be camera shy, isn’t quite planning a screening celebration. “I’m looking forward to it, but at the same time, I’m feeling weird about it. It’s my first time on national TV. Hopefully I don’t look like an idiot,” Wallace joked.

Whether the show is a hit or not, it won’t be his only go at screen time. Wallace is filming some Do-It-Yourself projects of his own and plans to film classes where he’ll be teaching others DIY projects, for free. “This will be an extension of what I do for the paper,” Wallace, who has written the RT’s DIYer column for two years, said. Starting Saturday, April 29, Wallace will be teaching free classes at First Congregational Church on Beach 94th Street. “These will be regular DIYer classes where people can learn to do things hands on. We’ll be recording them and putting them on YouTube,” Wallace said. The classes will take place every other Saturday at noon. “We’re going to start with basic things like how to do woof builds and prep work and once people have the basics down, we’ll start getting into projects that people want to do. I’ll teach people how to do things like crafts and even home repairs. Depending on what direction people want to go in, I’ll go from there,” Wallace said.

The church is donating the space for the class, and Wallace’s company will pay for the materials so that the classes can be open to the public at no cost to them, unless someone wants to make a donation toward the church. Why? “It’s a way to help out and give back to the community that has supported my business for all of these years,” Wallace said. Filming the courses can also open up other television opportunities for Wallace as well. A few people have already registered, but Wallace encourages others who are interested to sign up at www.TheDiyerByArtieWallace.com

In between construction gigs, writing a weekly column, TV filming and planning classes, Wallace has found time to release a book. In February, Wallace published his first book, appropriately called “The DIYer.” The book features modifications of DIYer columns that Wallace had published in The Rockaway Times. The book is available for purchase on Amazon and Lulu.com. Plus, he’s already on his way to writing his second book, which he says will feature projects that haven’t appeared in print before.

Why is Wallace dedicated to helping others learn how to do construction projects themselves? After 30 years of “doing it himself” in the construction business, he’s ready to pass along his skills and let others take matters into their own hands. “Within the next couple of years, I’m leaning toward retiring and laying back from the heavy work and cutting myself down to service calls and light duty. I want to put most of my focus on these classes and writing. I also want to show others how to make their own repairs or build something from scratch. I’m basically taking away work from myself because I’ve been working for so many years and it’s time to let others do it and eventually help people become their own teachers.”

For more info on Wallace and The DIYer, head to www.TheDiyerByArtieWallace.com, or Facebook page The DIYer by Artie Wallace and don’t forget to tune into TLC to catch Wallace on “Hidden Money Makeover” this Saturday.

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