Chinese Master Carpenter Makes Toys for His Grandson With Skills Used to Build the Forbidden City

Grandpa Amu

A 63-year-old man from eastern China has found fame on YouTube for videos that showcase his exemplary skills in traditional carpentry.

Wang Dewen, known to his followers as Grandpa Amu, has created intricate wooden toys for his grandson using nothing but wood — no glue, nails or screws.

Wang’s method of woodworking uses the same mortise-and-tenon joints found in the Forbidden City, China’s best-preserved and the world’s largest imperial palace.

So far, Wang’s most popular video shows him working on a wooden arch bridge, which has racked up more than 45 million views.


For his extraordinary skills, Wang has been called a modern-day Lu Ban — the Chinese inventor of the saw and more, now regarded as the “god of builders.”

Wang, however, had to learn woodworking from the age of 9 to help support his family after his father’s death.

He started learning from a relative who taught him how to make a pot when the one they had at home broke.

“We didn’t have money for a new one, so I asked a relative who was a carpenter how to make one, and he taught me. With my new cover, we had fully cooked sweet potatoes. I was so happy,” Wang told the South China Morning Post.

Wang relaxes on a rocking chair he built without nails and glue. Image Screenshot via 阿木爷爷 Grandpa Amu

Since then, Wang has mostly worked as a farmer, but he makes furniture and other wooden materials in the slack season.

When he moved to live with his children in Guangxi, they saw the opportunity to share his talent, their rural culture and the ancient Chinese carpentry technique to the world.

Wang’s son, who worked as an animated video producer, takes care of filming and editing his videos.

They first shared them on Chinese platforms Toutiao and Xigua Video before moving to YouTube, where the master carpenter has now amassed a whopping 1.28 million subscribers.

Wang creates a walking “Peppa Pig” for his grandson. Image Screenshot via 阿木爷爷 Grandpa Amu

“We came up with the idea of making the videos because we wanted to bring our rural culture to others and let people learn about these ancient Chinese techniques,” Huang Chunmei, his daughter-in-law, told SCMP.

Wang’s skills are already impressive, but the fact that he dedicates many of his creations to his grandson makes it all better.

Among all his items, a walking “Peppa Pig” and a bubble-blowing toy are his grandson’s favorites, according to CGTN.

Needless to say, Grandpa Amu has won the hearts of fans from all over the world.


Feature Image Screenshots via 阿木爷爷 Grandpa Amu (left, right)

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