WHAT started as a solution to lockdown boredom has sparked a TikTok following of half a million for 20-year-old Eoin Reardon who has turned his love of woodwork into a social media trend.
Eoin, who is from Innishannon where he lives with his parents Noreen and Eamon, has commandeered the family garage and created a workshop for his new hobby.
These days his parents, both accountants, find their son making TikTok videos with his vast collection of woodwork tools out in the garage, among them, the bits and bobs that loiter in most sheds like lawnmowers and garden tools.
The college student, who is studying commerce at UCC while working part-time at an information desk in a city centre shopping mall, spends a vast amount of his limited spare time researching and learning about the world of carpentry and woodwork.
“I was on Snapchat and I recorded a video for the lads, and I downloaded it to my phone and I threw it up on TikTok and it got 7,000 views and I was like ‘wow’,” he said of how he began.
With an extensive knowledge of most things woodwork, Eoin said he started sharing his knowledge online in short, snappy videos shared on TikTok and the information, so neatly packaged has garnered a great deal of interest.
“I started getting a few questions of where can I buy these, because the tool I was using is over 100 years old, they haven’t been manufactured since the 60s,” he said.
“I started doing more of the same thing, simple videos of me using a plane, and then I started speaking in the videos, talking about what I was doing and then it became a repeated process of answering questions through videos.”
Eoin said the real turning point for his online celebrity career was when he made a simple video restoring an old razor.
“At one point I was making two or three videos a day and then I went to a car boot sale looking for more tools and I didn’t find anything, but I didn’t want to leave empty-handed so I bought an old rusty straight razor, the really old fashioned ones. I made a video of restoring the razor and using it and that blew up, it has about 6 million views.”
Eoin said almost 50% of his followers are American and 30% are in the UK with just 20% from Ireland.
“The Americans love the accent, I get a lot of comments about it,” he explained.
With an extensive collection of between 100 and 200 tools, carefully gathered throughout lockdown via online purchasing, Eoin said he had just wanted to explore his interest in woodwork and had a wacky idea to build a currach during the lockdown, which he did.
“I always wanted to make a boat, a currach. I used to read up about it in school. The beautiful thing about the currach is that they were built by people who had absolutely nothing, so they made boats with as little material as possible. If they can make them on the Blasket and Aran islands 100 years ago, then I can make one in Cork with tools.”
Now Eoin, who never studied woodwork in school, has a vast knowledge of the trade and hopes to pursue carpentry in the years ahead.
“I talk to fellas on TikTok studying wood technology in Dublin and they sent me some of the syllabus and I know the stuff already. It’s really opened up a community. I get a lot of tradespeople messaging me saying this is very interesting stuff.”
While there is great interest online in Eoin and his TikTok account: @Pintofplane Eoin said he has yet to make money on his 500k+ follower base.
“It’s really annoying, I found out if I was in England where TikTok has a creator fund, I would have made over £1,500 in two weeks, but in Ireland you don’t get a cent, they haven’t set up a creator fund.”
Hoping to capitalise on his vast following, Eoin is considering setting up a YouTube account to make money on his videos.
“I remember when I was 16 I made animation tutorials, and I made 5 – 6 grand over a few years on YouTube. I’m considering setting up a YouTube account. TikTok anyone will watch, it’s quick, but on YouTube you can go into more detail, people want to learn more.”
Eoin said he would be fairly modest about his achievements and his friends help to keep him grounded.
“They don’t say much, they might mention it and that’s it.”
Such is the reach of his TikTok account, Eoin is now recognised when he is out and about, with people approaching him in college and at work to mention they had seen him online.
“I was buying my lunch the other day and the girl serving me said, ‘I saw your video last night’, it’s gas like.”
But Eoin said he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and wants to get his message across to those who are interested.
“Find something you love, don’t be afraid to share it. I’d be wary of showing off, but I was collecting the tools for a year and a half and I didn’t think there would be as much interest, but I was wrong.”