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Old 03-19-2010, 05:13 PM   #16
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Learn from the pros here or other forums
Internet, books, diy sites
HD/Lowes people sometimes give good info./instructions, you need to find the right person


A picture is worth a thousand words.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:01 PM   #17
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Shop classes in high school. Quite a lot from my father, not as a kid growing up but as an adult. I was like a lot of kids, not really interested in what the old man was up to, but found myself picking his brain a lot when I had my own home.

This Old House is a great show. And Norm Abrams does some interesting stuff, but most DIYers could not justify laying out the money for all those specialty tools he has. The internet, most recently these boards in particular and just jumping and doing. Some things you can just figure out for yourself. I learned from building my own fence for example to use the appropriate fasteners, not right away but a few years down the road when the old ones started to fail.

I know my limits though and there are jobs that I just won't tackle. I had the roof done this fall and did watch and learn from those guys but still would not attempt that. Maybe if I had a single story with a 3/2 pitch or less but not my roof. I had some guys repair and level some rotted joists for my current bathroom renovation project but am doing the rest of it myself. This is to date the most involved project I've taken on and am learning something new every day, mostly that tools and materials are expensive. But compared to hiring it out it's still money in the bank. I have been at it for a few weeks now, a couple of pros could have had it done in 2 days, but there is a satisfaction in doing and learning for yourself.

I have mentioned on these forums before that Habitat for Humanity is a great opportunity to learn from others as your are helping the less fortunate. I hope to have the time to volunteer myself one of these days, but I am giving them a bunch of old paint from my basement.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #18
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The wife bought me the Readers Digest book of DIY, wrote out a list of jobs and then nagged me incessantly until I did them.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:36 PM   #19
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Much the same as Oh'Mike-
I learned a lot for working with my dad---He was a typical WW 2 vet--If he wanted something done he did it him self.
I heard him say,more than once,"I'm as smart as that guy,if he can do it so can I."
My dad had very much the same qualities, and in addition he was born in 1914 and grew up farming with a mule during the Depression. People then had the philosophy of "make it do and make it last" or something like that. There was no Home Depot, Lowe's, etc to run to and get another handle. He told me of cutting many from a sapling nearby. He taught me to be self-sufficient. I learned to cook when I had to stand in a chair to reach the stove top, and he had the common sense to stand right beside me. And I could run the washer/dryers and the local coin laundermat not much later. He always said there was no excuse in going hungry or dirty.

Did I mention he landed on Omaha Beach in WWII? His unit was cited for covering more ground in less time than any other infantry division-
Third Army, 134th- "Even hell can't stop us!"
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:59 PM   #20
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I suppose through the Grace of God, I've been lucky. My Granddad was a carpenter back in the '40's and by the time I was 12 my Dad had me on the job with them in the summers. One of my fondest (?) memories was using the cutter to cut asbestos siding and punching the nail holes in them for Granddad and Dad to put them on. I wish I had Granddad's old cutter back. Dad got a "real" job later in life but continued to do carpentry work and I'd help him. I had an Uncle who was a roofer in Fla., specializing in flat roofs and I worked three summers for him. I thought he was trying to kill me and my two cousins. The sheet metal experience I learned from him became valuable. My Senior year of Hi School I had to work. I got a job in a factory as a helper in the Maintenance Department. I had my career. Thirty-eight (38) years, two employers later--I retired. Two Associates Degrees, Machine Tool Technologies, Pre-Engineering, an Electrician and Plumbers License along the way. During the last twenty years or so I was doing "Home HandyMan" type work for people so after retiring I was "talked" (?) into starting my own business doing this. Things went well for about four years and the economy has hit even those of us who do "HandyMan" type work and those I know who do remodeling work. In the meantime, I have two very active young grandson's to try and keep up with. And YES-I let them help me do projects as much as they will pay attention. David
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:58 PM   #21
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My dad was a general contractor. Growing up I did concrete work, built houses, electrical, plumbing etc. Everything but flooring. So of course the last 37 years I have installed flooring and have had a woodworking shop on the side.
The ads in my post are there without my permission. I do not endorse any of the products.
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Installing since 1973
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:40 PM   #22
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I'm 24 now and as of 18 I had little to no interest in all things house related.

Then I moved in with my to-be wife in her mobile home...

I had to do all kinds of stuff there, out of necessity - replace a water heater, fix shorted outlets, replace subfloors in the bathroom and kitchen, replace heat tape on the water line, repair the kitchen cabinets...and the list goes on.

I also found out that my 80 and 82 year old grandparents built their own house from the ground up. They did everything - framing, electric, plumbing, finishing, roof...and that really impressed me. Of course times were a bit different back then and they said just about everyone on their street built their own house (with the help of other neighbors) but this really impressed me. I thought that if they could do it then I could do it too.

Since then we've gotten married and we're on our 2nd house. We both have the can-do attitudes, but our work personalities don't match. She's the type to wake up on a Saturday morning and start a project that she really hasn't planned or thought much about. I'm the type to over analyze; I talk about it, do some reading, watch some videos about it, do some more reading, talk to my wife, make a few drawings...I usually spend more time thinking about what I'll be doing than actually doing it. But hey, that's just how I am. It causes friction between us because it takes me so much longer than it would take her, but oh well, we get through it.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:21 PM   #23
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Agrred! Common sense, research... And patience!

Above all else, the feeling that you either have, or know how to access knowledge to complete a project or repair to make a customer happy enough that they inited you into their home, sure as hell makes you feel good! I don't know of a better occupation where someone looks you in the eyes, offers their hand and settle the payment without hesitation.

I started in this when I was 12 years old. My father was a chef, my mom was a waitress. When my sister was getting married my mom wanted to have her shower in the back yard ( which was a single hinged door leading to a small slab and a rockery)

I went to the library and looked up deck building and patio door installations. I convinced my dad to buy the material and I would do the work.

My dad was great! He trusted me enough and I built a 3 tier deck with railings and diagonal stairs. I installed a second hand sliding door (yes, complete with lintel) and it looked great!

OK, it looked great, but the fact is I messed up a bit. I left the spacings between the deck boards too wide ( high heeled women were not impressed)
I over did the posts..I put posts every 2 feet (insecurity)
I got slammed into a wall and my brother went through a fence when the auger caught a root.

But the best thing about this industry is that one never stops learning. And not the learning that, say, a computer programmer has to learn..or rather update, but moreover, talent learned from experience. I love this website..it offers great advice .

My 17 yr old daughter thrives on helping me. I get the ooos and awws everytime I take her on a job (the best part is the govn't pays her WSIB while she's in school..lol) and she loves the way people react to her doing contracting. I hope to encourage more teens into the trades.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:39 AM   #24
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alot of practice, alot of reading, always either asking for help or looking something up when you need to, and not giving up and getting someone else to do it if you get stuck
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by canadaclub View Post
I love this website..it offers great advice .
Yup! I'm surprised someone hasn't just said: "Here! Where else?" yet.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Click here to see some of my original magic tricks and trick boxes!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:46 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by canadaclub View Post
My 17 yr old daughter thrives on helping me. I get the ooos and awws everytime I take her on a job (the best part is the govn't pays her WSIB while she's in school..lol) and she loves the way people react to her doing contracting. I hope to encourage more teens into the trades.
that's pretty awesome!

my parents used to make me help them out in the yard and around the house and i always HATED doing it and yet here i am with a home of my own doing the exact same thing


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