OT - Basic Skills in Today's World

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It has always concerned me when the young amoung us are not taugh basic skills such as how to change a tire, how to use a saw, how to...well you get the idea...there are basic skills that one needs to deal with the world we live in. Well this article shows what that lack of training, due to whatever reason, means as they get older.
When I drive through a neighborhood, it is a rare garage that has anything like a workshop within it anymore....a reflection of the lack of interest or knowledge of the homeowner to work with their hands?
Do your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, the generation who is succeeding us, have the basic skills that are needed in the world today?
TMT
Repair jobs challenge young homeowners By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer Thu Aug 3
The staff at his neighborhood hardware store can spot John Carter from a distance.
He's the slightly befuddled guy who often comes in declaring, "I have no idea what I'm doing. Can you at least get me through tonight?"
The 26-year-old Chicagoan, who's been slowly rehabbing the condo he bought last year, is part of a generation of young homeowners who admit they often have no clue how to handle home projects.
For them, shop class was optional. It also was more common for their parents to hire contractors, leaving fewer opportunities for them to learn basic repair skills.
With low interest rates allowing more young adults to buy property in recent years, many inexperienced homeowners are desperate for advice when the furnace goes out, the roof leaks or when a home project that seemed like a no-brainer goes terribly wrong.
"They know they've got to buy real estate; they know it's a good investment. But that doesn't help you when you swing a hammer and hit a pipe in the wall," says Lou Manfredini, a Chicago hardware store owner who gives do-it-yourself advice on local radio and nationally online and on TV. "Unfortunately, homes don't come with an instruction manual."
Contractors say it's not unusual for them to get frantic calls from young do-it-yourselfers who get in over their heads.
Sometimes, the mistakes are silly.
Michel Hanet, who owns a door replacement business called IDRC in Scottsdale, Ariz., has arrived at homes to find doors hung upside down. He's also discovered more than one sliding pocket door that won't open because someone nailed a picture on the wall and into the door.
"The younger generation are more likely the ones that are getting into trouble," Hanet says. "The baby boomers have the money to do it, so they just call and say 'I don't like my doors; just come and replace them.'"
Kirsten Pellicer, the 30-year-old vice president of Ace hardware stores in Longmont and Boulder, Colo., sees many young customers looking to tackle projects on their own, often to save money.
"We rarely get requests for 'Do you know a good handyman?' from the younger set," she says.
For Carter, the young Chicagoan, it's all about being brave enough to try - and sometimes fail.
With the help of a buddy who has rehabbing experience, he's put in hardwood floors, knocked out a wall and completely remodeled his condo kitchen.
In the process, he's also managed to nearly flood the kitchen after forgetting to completely seal off a refrigerator water line; had a sliding closet door he was installing shatter a light bulb over his head and crash on top of him; and been fined by his condo association for a couple of other mishaps.
"The one thing about home remodeling is that it is intimidating. But in the end, you find it's definitely worthwhile," says Carter, whose day job is at a large accounting firm where he secures computerized financial data. "You just have to accept that you're going to screw up."
Dave Payne, a 26-year-old condo owner in suburban Atlanta, knows what he means.
Payne made the mistake of trying to spackle over wallpaper in his condo bathroom, leaving uneven chunks where the wallpaper pulled away from the wall.
"There were just times when I wanted to pull my hair out and hire someone when I looked at my ruined walls," he says.
But after hours of "spackling, sanding, spackling again, sanding again, then priming," he's hoping no one will notice.
Increasingly, hardware professionals and others are addressing the need for know-how.
Some community colleges and stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot offer classes in projects from changing a faucet to tiling and putting in a dimmer switch.
"It gives them some exposure, so if they want to do it on their own, they have a starting point," says Peter Marx, a remodeling contractor who teaches home repair at North Seattle Community College.
Others find help online, including at the Ace site, where Manfredini - the Chicago hardware store owner - answers questions.
Home-centered television networks, including HGTV, are also in vogue. HGTV executives say shows such as "Design on a Dime" and "What's Your Sign? Design" - a show that builds on the unlikely combination of astrology and home decorating - have helped boost its recent ratings among young adults.
While 27-year-old Amy Choate occasionally goes online or watches TV shows to get home-improvement ideas, more often she uses a resource closer to home: her mom.
Among other things, mom showed her how to fix wall cracks in her Chicago condo.
But Choate has no intention of tackling an upcoming kitchen rehab. She'll leave that to a professional.
"I'd probably do it wrong," she says, "and end up paying twice as much."
___
On the Net:
Answers (at) Ace: http://www.acehardware.com
Home Depot clinics: http://www.homedepotclinics.com /
Lowe's clinics: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actionclinicSchedProcessor
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I always thought it was somewhat disgusting to see an open garage with no workbench or tools of any kind in it. Just space for CARS! How productive or creative can this person be? What are they going to do when they retire? What skills are they teaching their kids? When I was young, a garage full of tools and such was like a beacon in the night. Had to look, ask questions, wanted to get to know the person and try to learn. Nowadays, kids couldn't care less. I have noticed that the more expensive the neighborhood, the less garage creativity is visible. Respectfully, Ron Moore

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Very good post Ron....I wish I had written it.
TMT
Ron Moore wrote:

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Ron Moore wrote:

No. I was raised completely without basic carpentry or mechanical skills, completely without knowledge of how nature worked, of how food got to the table. It wasn't taught at home or at school. The joke about the VCR blinking "12:00" in perpetuity seems sad to me. READ THE DIRECTIONS! Figure it out. Fix it. My parents seem to think that things operate (or don't) because of some malevolent force that's out to ruin their day. "Why isn't this stupid thing working again!!" Uhh, because you tossed out the directions without reading them, never maintained it and now you can't or won't investigate the problem. I could really go on a jag, but I feel like there's a huge lack of reality to a lot of what's taught these days. We weren't given real-life examples of how geometry or trig could be useful - much less calculus. It's frustrating to be learning basic skills this late in life, and I'm still a fairly young guy.
JP
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Jay Pique wrote:

Many people understand how to manipulate nature, but they're clueless about nature's limits, and how Man is pushing those limits to the edge. This IS a survival newsgroup, after all. Home repair can be learned with common sense and instructions if one has the will. What's really hard to teach is respect for the land and conservation values that can prevent societal collapse. Greed is the norm but it won't fix anything in the long run. Anyone who's a survivalist and a "conservative" had better stop wasting and start conserving for a change.
R. Lander
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Guess it would be nice to see their basements, or even a workshop ????
Ace

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Ace wrote:

Workshop? I already have three, and it's taking over the house, too. ;-)
Sure, I've had to make some adjustments now that I'm disabled, but i still spend what time I can in the shops. Some modifications help, like the foot switches on the drill press, and some other tools. Since I can no longer do the micro electronics I did for a living I am concentrating un finishing my main shop, and my non profit efforts to collect and refurbish computers for other disabled Veterans in my area. A basic computer system is given free to Veterans in need, and the only cost incurred is if they want something we have to purchase wholesale. The work is done by me, and a couple part time volunteers. I also have a lot of older PC parts, from the original PC on up. If anyone needs older parts, let me know. Most of the stuff can be had for the cost of shipping, and a little, for what i paid for it, plus shipping. I have piles of good XT, 286, 386, 486 and early Pentium motherboards that are not usable for the computer project, but I don't want to toss them. Plenty of video cards, I/O cards and other odds and ends, including early SIMM and DIMM memory are floating around on the different motherboards. XT and AT powers supplies, if you need them, along with mini tower type supplies. I will use some of it for my projects, but I can't use it all.
--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
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On Mon, 07 Aug 2006 02:44:06 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"

I need a few Hercules monochrome graphics cards, some small footprint 486light pentium mobos (4-8meg ram max) and a half dozen monchrome monitors.
I repair several brands of CNC equipment, PC (dos) based..and they use the above. Getting hard to find mono monitors
I can personally use some SCSI hard drives, no smaller than 10 gig. The (cant remember the connector name) that looks like IDE
My email addy..drop the no spam if its on this one.
I can pay modest amounts plus shipping to California.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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wrote:

Good on ya, Ace. Anyone driving past my garage when the door was open would likely be "disgusted" by the room for the car- but the whole basement is filled with some fairly serious woodworking equipment. Aside from the basic increase in security, the basement is climate controlled, and keeps my large tool investment from rusting on me. Better it stays that way, even (perhaps especially) if the folks driving through the neighborhood have no idea the shop is there.

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wrote:

Maybe they have a basement?
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We're in Oklahoma. VERY few basements because of the water table. Definitely none in the neighborhoods I referred to. Respectfully, Ron Moore

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Bonehenge wrote:

Not very common in Florida, unless you build it above ground, then bring in lots of truckloads of dirt to make it look like its sitting on a small hill.
--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
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Of course, someone will mention that they might have a workshop in the basement, but it makes me think of the house forsale ads that I read on occasion. Almost all of them advertise completely finished basements with a nanny suite or an inlaw apartment. Never have I seen mention of a house with workshop space in the basement.
Should I buy a house one of these days, I'm going to have trouble finding what I want because I'll be looking for a house with an unfinished or partially finished basement, naturally for a workshop.
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Ron Moore wrote:

I know -- what kind of person can actually park a car in their garage without moving at least one piece of heavy equipment? It's just not right, I tells ya'! It's important for me to have a shop, and I'm looking forward to teaching my kids how to make stuff.

I agree. I think it's sad that fewer people make stuff with thier own hands. Not that it's required to get by anymore... you can buy a lot of stuff so cheaply that there isn't a big reason to make your own stuff any more. And a lot of stuff has gotten so complex that it's far cheaper to replace it, or take it to a specialist if it breaks.

Well, I'd have to say that yes, they do. The world is changing. People who can fix things are still needed, but not to the degree they were before. There just isn't the same demand for, say, a room full of machinists when they can be replaced by a CNC machine or two. There is a demand for people who can do a good job designing things, though.
Most people can figure out how to make the stuff they deal with work well enough to get by... Maybe it's not perfect, but it's good enough.
Personally, I wish they had more shop classes in school. I think the most useful class I took in high school was metal shop. It was fun, and I Learned a whole lot about how to make things work. But my personal desires don't have much to do with the current economic reality of off-shoring manufacturing and competition with China.
It's disapointing that in the four or so years that I've had a shop in my garage, not one kid has asked me anything about it.
Jeff Polaski
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I hadn't thought of that. My neighbors always pop in to see what is going on (65+), but never a kid from the neighborhood. I can remember as a child, going to the garage that was making the most noise. Grinding sparks could draw me blocks! I always wanted to weld, but didn't try it until I was over 40. Damn I was missing some fun.
I also spent MANY summer days watching the construction of the homes in my area. I am sure I bugged the crap out of the guys, but there is not a construction project I won't take on because of inability. I have done everything for a large addition. Including digging for the footings by hand!
Ok, to prevent some of the backlash--- I was in no hurry, and I could only get something that was 3 feet wide in the backyard, so I dug it by hand. And for the rest of you--- my community allows homeowners that can show competency the option of pulling a "homeowner" permit for all phases. So I had to do that for footing/stem wall, rough framing, rough plumbing, rough electrical, final plumbing, and final electrical. Damn expensive for all those permits, but I did it legal.
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Kudos for going the legal route....As a remodeling contractor, I have to play by the rules as well. However, I am curious as to how you felt when all was done. Did you get your moneys worth for all those permits??? Were the inspectors helpful or a PITA ???
I have seen em all ranging from the electrical inspector who spent more time finding a place for the Passed Sticker than he did looking at the wiring (he was there about 15 sec.)
Had another one walk thru the door and ask "who's gonna take the heat....??" I think he was kinda pissed afterwards when he found nothing wrong.....
I'll bet these two guys have no tools in their garages...
I have also worked with plenty of inspectors who know their stuff AND are nice and helpful with any questions. These are the guys who don't have the Power Trip Ego thing goin....Cause they don't need to prove themselves when the knowledge is apparent.
Anyone else care to comment ???
Jeff
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The foundation and rough framing was very uneventful. I may not have even been around? Electrical was a FAST run by. Slap the pass sticker on, and out of the house. Never looked at the connections back to the breaker box, never checked the wire runs in the attic (that was ok).
The plumbing was completely different. I go to the offices to show my plans and prove I know plumbing. (Golden Rule-- shit don't run uphill), and for him to approve my plans. I wait as he reams out a contractor. I actually thought the guy might cry. Holy crap he worked him over. So......next up is little ol' me. Show him my plans, talk about what and how I plan to do this.....blah, blah. In no time at all he is redrawing my plans and showing me a cheaper and easier way to do the DWV. What I had was text book, but what he showed me was legal and much easier. Guess what.....I did it his way. The plumbing inspector ended up becoming a customer of mine (Banker in real life) long after the job was over.
The long and short of it is.....show me someone who is logical, creative and has good common sense, and I will hire that SOB right out from underneath you!!
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A good relationship with a good inspector is one of the best helps a contractor can have.
When I held my electrician license, Old Al, one of the county inspectors I dealt with, often suggested different approaches to jobs than my proposed plans. He was seldom wrong and always very conscientious. If he did find something wrong, he'd make sure to mark it or reference it clearly so I could find and fix it easily.
It's a lot easier to correct a problem when the inspector leaves a note like: "3rd receptacle from door on the sink side no ground. Fix it and call me. I'll pass the job so you can get paid."
He'd better never go back and find you hadn't fixed it, though. No way you'd ever do another job in that county in one try thereafter. He got out his microscope then and would even measure staple placement on a rough-in or exactly how much ground rod was sticking out of the dirt. Couple of fellows found that out the hard way.:)
--
Bring back, Oh bring back
Oh, bring back that old continuity.
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On Tue, 8 Aug 2006 15:25:08 -0400, "Never_Enough_Tools"

It's about 90/10 as far as I can tell when I do homeowner or small contractor remodeling. 90% of the inspectors are great- they give you very little trouble, and are more than willing to help find workarounds for specific code issues if you want to do something a little unorthadox. The other 10% could kill you with a look, but I've found that in most of those cases, the homeowner had previously contacted them before I ever came into the picture, and did something to really irritate the guy. (Missing scheduled appointments, doing other work without permits, etc.)
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Blew your credibility with that statement. Work at a desk, don't you?
> There just isn't the same demand for, say, a room full of

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