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Old 07-20-2011, 06:38 AM   #1
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Learning from Dad-----

My Dad was the ultimate DIY guy.

In the years following WW2 there were a lot of them--Those vets really did seem to do whatever it took to make their houses into homes.

My dad was a bit of an artist---He took great joy in making something with his hands. He could draw much better than he could explain, so he always had a pencil in hand as he talked.

I grew up with the smell of fresh cut wood,oil based paint and fresh dug earth.

To this day I think of him whenever I get those smells.

Popular Mechanics magazine and the weekend trips to Kranz Hardware store ---that's where most of the 'How To' lessons came from.

No one ever got impatient at the hardware store while old man Kranz showed a fellow how to re seat a faucet or how to reglaze a window.

I read every book and magazine on building that I could lay my hands on,hoping that some day I could do what my dad did.

From him I learned--"Everybody makes mistakes, that's how you learn."

One of my favorites,"I'm as smart as that guy. If he can do it ,then so can I."

I still love the smell of fresh cut wood. Thanks Dad.



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Old 07-20-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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I had one of those too. My father was post WWII, but the Air Force motor pool taught him automotives, and a career with the phone company taught him electronics. I can't recall ever having a repair person in the house while growing up. He remodeled the attic and built a garage by himself too. Nothing he couldn't do.
Unfortunately, being female my interests during my teenage years were elsewhere. It was only in my 20's that I really, really, really began to appreciate him and what he could do, but by that time I was living out of state.
While I regret not learning more specifics from him, he did instill the idea that I could do it myself.


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Old 07-20-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Dad was a carpenter beforehand, an engineer who landed on Okinawa Easter Sunday 1945, and retired as a millwright. He was the kind of guy who seemingly knew everyone, and treated them the same, from the guys who collected our garbage to our state representatives. Sometimes he didn't have a lot to say, so set a problem in front of him and he wouldn't shoot from the hip; if he didn't know, he would tell you so, but only after he had evaluated it, and more often than not he would provide a solution. A great DIY guy. Dad's been gone too many years, but he and I still have a lot of chats, particularly while I am working in my shop. Thank you Mike; a great post.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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Dad was an engineer with the highway dept. like his dad(my grand dad) and they were both huge DIYers.
Dad built are first color television from some company named Heathkit(?). A console model with the tubes and everything. I was too young to help, but could hand him tools and learned to duck when he got mad and threw them.

He built a barn shaped shed in our backyard on a concrete slab. This was back before anyone had pre-made ones or put together kits.
I remember those Saturday morning runs to the Harwell Hardware store where they'd scoop out 5lbs of 16penny nails into the scale, then dump them in a bag.

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Old 07-20-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Dad was a combat engineer veteran from WW2. Whatever was needed done at home he did it. Whether it was a addition on the house, wiring, anything on the cars he did it. Made our overhead camper and then later converted a plumbing van to a camper that he drove all over the country and to Canada. Maybe it was simpler times, but I still admire him for what he was able to do.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:43 PM   #6
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awesome thread here. i wish i was more DIY oriented
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:47 PM   #7
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you are lucky. "self learning and education" is very important to survive in today's world.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
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Great thread!

Dad worked in a machine shop for 35 years. Never saw a repairman at our house ever. Dad did (and still does) most everything himself...auto repair, home renovations, etc.

Like the others here I was Dad's "tool caddy" as a youngster...I felt great just thinking I was helping him out. As I grew older I learned to actually watch what he was doing and learn from it. As my dad grows older, and needs a dependable hand with projects, he calls me to do his bigger home projects with him...and I couldn't be happier about that!
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:40 AM   #9
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way back when many big companies actually depended on these ''weekend'' machinist to fabricate components for them on a piece work basis,it was not uncommon to see a full metal shop in the basement during the 20's-70's

they made parts for companies like Sperry/Allied signal/Bendix ect...

these where the guys that wore blue or green company uniforms

you don't see this anymore
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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My Dad turned into a first class jerk in the latter half of his life and then fell in with the worst of rightwing relgious nuts that essentially sold him a place in heaven. He died with me not speaking to him which is a shame. I forgave him but never forgot. Maybe a final reckoning would not have accounted for much. There is nothing left I would have said to him but how much I grew to pity him for his desperation.

Dad was a cabinet maker and his father a carpenter. I remember three generations of us working on things and both of them extremely patient with me as I learned hand tools first and then their power equivalents. I remember posting support for the suggestion to take 1/8" off a door edge with a sharp plane. Most suggested it would take to long. Better to track down something straight and Skilsaw the edge? Hugh?

I did not have the patience to be a cabinet maker and frankly could never hold those kinds of tolerances. I did more than alright designing structures, benches, bridges and things though and my Dad and Grandfather saw some of my work and complimented me once.

I went on to work with others that taught me more things in different ways. They were patient because of the respect for tools my Dad and Grandfather taught me though. I owe them both that.

And as some have hinted in this thread, you never forget the smell of fresh wood. And people, I assure you, taking 1/8 off with a sharp plane smells different than with a power tool. I've not had much use for them in a long time but still have my father and grandfather's planes and hand shaping tools. My approach to stripping woodwork was to try a super sharp hand scraper.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:30 AM   #11
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so, he is inspiring you and seems that your learning curve increasing. keep it up.


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