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c. 1984

Making furniture with Harrison Ford

Before he found fame as an actor, the man who played Han Solo was a woodworker

It’s well-known that prior to being cast as space-scoundrel Han Solo in 1977’s seminal Star Wars blockbuster, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. 

Ford’s skills with wood were entirely self-taught. Unsatisfied with his early career results appearing in Hollywood bit parts, Ford became a professional carpenter to support his family. He learned his craft from books borrowed from Encino library.

Ford was hired for Star Wars early on by George Lucas—but not for Solo per se.  Lucas had met Ford while Ford was installing a wooden door at Francis Ford Coppola’s house.

1984, the year these pictures were captured, saw the release of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. This film was the sequel to 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and Ford reprised his role as the heroic archaeologist.

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These pictures, taken at Ford’s house in Mandeville Canyon, Beverley Hills, date from August 1984, and show Ford in his workshop with his tools and lathe, and with the finished result of his labors.

Paul Harris/Getty Images

Ford became a carpenter because he was unhappy with the roles he was offered in his early acting career. 

An early studio headshot, 1960s
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Ford’s first credited role, in 1967, was in “A Killing for Time,” when he was 25
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By the time these photos were taken, however, Ford had already been catapulted to fame in some of his best-known roles. 

Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images
“When I was a carpenter, I once worked with this Russian lady architect. I would tell her, ‘Look, I’m terribly sorry, but I want to change that half an inch,’ and she would say ‘No limit for better.’ I think that is a worthy credo.”
Harrison Ford
Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images

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