A cameraman for Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” once asked F/V Northwestern deckboss Edgar Hansen what he was going to do if his body could no longer take the punishment of crab fishing on Alaska’s Bering Sea. That simple question rocked Hansen’s world.
“I had to step back,” Hansen tells Zap2it. “‘Criminy, I don’t know. I don’t know.’ That was four years ago. So, if you watch the show, you know I took a year off. I started my own company, got a little remodeling thing going on, kitchens, bathrooms, whatnot.”
Hansen spoke with Zap2it from Florida, where he is remodeling a house in the Keys to rent out. He returned to fishing on the Northwestern after his break on dry land — even captaining during opilio-crab season in early 2013 — but he hasn’t lost his love for transforming houses.
At the time of the conversation, he’s a few days away from heading for the Boston area (where he was on Tuesday, Sept. 17), to lend his hands-on expertise to the crew of PBS’ venerable home-improvement show “This Old House.”
The episode is set to air on Feb. 27, 2014, roughly a month-and-a-half before the new season of “Deadliest Catch” usually premieres.
It all began when Hansen and his older brother, regular Northwestern skipper Sig Hansen, were giving a talk in New Bedford, Mass., last May. During the talk, Hansen mentioned his love of working on houses. That caught the ear of audience member and “Deadliest” fan Deborah Hood, the series producer of “This Old House.”
“Afterwards, I bumped into Edgar and Sig in the alley. I just so happened to have a business card on me, and I said, ‘Do you know the show?’ And he said, ‘Do I know this show?’ He got all excited,” Hood tells Zap2it. “I asked him if he would ever want to do anything with us, and he said, ‘Yes!’ So, the talks began.”
Many “Deadliest Catch” fans enjoy the show because they can tell that the captains, or at least most of them, do it because they love it. They fished for crab before there were cameras and would keep doing it if the cameras went away. Hansen got the same feeling about the “This Old House” guys, from contractor Tom Silva to master carpenter Norm Abram.
“You can tell these guys are real,” Hansen says. “It’s not a reality show. These guys do what they do because it’s what they love doing. It shows. You can tell.
“So, [I want to meet] Tom Silva and then Norm, of course, the master carpenter, right? The man. But my actual passion is tile and finish-trim work, but somebody told me years ago that what makes a good carpenter is that he can hide his mistakes. It’s true.”
(Not sure what Norm “Measure twice, cut once” Abram would say about that.)
Hansen is up for any task put in front of him.
“The theory is I’m going to be their greenhorn for a day,” he says. “They’re going to get me in there and run me through the paces. I’ll do whatever they want me to do.”
In the end, Hansen didn’t get to lay tile or do finish carpentry, but he did run a jackhammer and help out landscaper Roger Cook, who already knew him from “Deadliest.”
“I had a ball,” Cook tells us a couple days after the shoot. “I was on the phone with him not a half-hour, 45 minutes ago. He just called me to shoot the s***. … We just love him to death.”
As to whether Hansen has a future in home-improvement television after the eventual end of “Deadliest,” Cook says, “Oh, absolutely.”