A squat, unassuming building of beige-painted brick and exposed cinder block sits tucked behind some of the great restaurants of Northeast Minneapolis’ Central Avenue. A red, hexagonal sign reads “MPLS Make” in white letters. It’s 4pm on a Thursday. A sign on the back door reads: “KNOCK LOUD! We’re rocking music and power tools in here.” I knock loud—or so I think—and knock again, the second time clubbing the door with the bottom of my fist.
Theo Knaeble, founder of MPLS Make, offers a hand and a great, beaming grin. His jeans are flecked with sawdust, faded, streaked with dark patches, and his orange nylon vest is equally marked with work. Knaeble introduces Jake Hemstad, his “unofficial assistant” perched at a table saw. Hemstad is in the middle of building a new table for the drill press.