It used to be that people with DIY projects would take the time to learn how
to do something (buy and read books) and would purchase the proper tools to
do the job. The thing being either you pay someone else to do it, or you do
it yourself the correct way and with the proper tools...
These days I'm seeing a lot of people who don't even TRY to learn about how
to do something and don't want to buy the tools. They ask on the internet
and seem to want someone to do all the work for them and tell them exactly
what to do. And they think they can do ANYTHING themselves! ("Just tell me
how to fix this!")
I think this is because of all of those DIY shows on TV.
They need a new set of shows on TV which explain that some things require
learning and proper tools. Or that you need to call pro if you are not
willing to take the time to learn about something. And that some things can
take years to learn about...
I first learned about woodworking at the Boy's Club about the same time.
I recently toured the same facility, now called the Boy's and Girl's
Club. The old shop has been replaced by an Art Room. Something to do
Town I grew up in, shop class was a junior high thing, and did not teach
anything actually useful. Who has a lathe at home, or a casting furnace?
An artifact of an era when 2/3 of the HS graduates would be getting jobs
in places like that, but still taught several years too early to be useful.
I learned most of what I know about construction from hanging out on job
sites from single-digit age. First few years, pushing a broom and
wielding a scoop shovel, but still educational. Didn't even realize I
was learning, at the time. Ended up driving a desk for a living after
college, because I realized I liked having Heat and A/C, instead of
whatever mother nature provided, not to mention a regular reliable
paycheck. (Things that are rather iffy at times in the trades.) But I do
miss it sometimes, aside from the part about dealing with clueless
Nah, it was never like that. Sure, *some* people did that and some still
do. You're just more exposed now to some of those who don't.
Just like it is not any more dangerous to be a kid now than it was 30
years ago. We just didn't have all the bad possibilities thrust into our
face via the media like we do now.
I agree with lots of that. However, I also beleive the Internet is a
viable replacement for buying books on a subject, just as I beleive
asking for and sharing knowledge is a voluntary exchange of info -
along with the caveats that have to be assumed when dealing with
people whose expertise may be imaginary. People who base their own
projects on DIY shows soon learn some very valuable lessons. So, do
you learn your lesson from screwing up, or from doing all the research
up front? I'd say it's about 50/50.
About 5 years ago I purchased a remote, run-down cabin. With the
occassional assistance of pros, I managed to replace all the plumbing,
upgrade the electrical, remove and replace rotten floors, deck,
windows, doors, paint, woodstove, the list goes on. I had the
advantage of not needing things to be done all that quickly or with
perfect results. In other words, with a few reference materials I had
the luxury of being able to self-teach. This reduced my screw-ups to
maybe 25% from 50 ;-)
I think anyone with a desire to create would get a lot of enjoyment
out of the type of improvements I did. Certainly after my week of
city work, getting to a remote location to build a deck seems like a
vacation. Substitute your own creative outlet for my remodel
The other advantage of my project environment is that there is no TV
and no computer, until last year, no phone. There is time to assess,
think through options and make the best decision you can. There is
time enough during the week to research approaches and codes, etc.
If I had it to do over again, I would certainly change a few things.
Due to money contraints I certainly did NOT get good quality tools -
at least at first. That is truly a mistake if you are going to use a
tool a lot - the OP was dead right about that one.
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