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Old 01-30-2019, 06:07 PM   #16
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


I learned a lot from my dad. We had a lake cabin in northern MN and we had to do a lot of the work ourselves as it was expensive to get people to do it. I was also fortunate to have a work/study program at college. I was assigned to be a carpenters assistant. And, I learned more practical skills there than I probably did knowledge from the college. OK, not really, I learned a lot at the college.

Another source of learning was reading. The Time-Life books on home improvement gave a good basic understanding. And then there were other books. And then more technical books.

Home improvement shows. This Old House, Hometime, and more recently the Mike Holmes series of shows.

Another source of knowledge is when I have to hire someone, is respectfully asking if I can watch and ask questions. I have also lived in areas where there is a lot of new construction and I go and watch them build. And ask questions. And I try and be helpful and not a burden.

Finally, I ask the planning board and building inspectors when I pull permits what I should be doing. I explain that I am doing most of the work myself and I ask what I can and can't do. What items can't I use, any special things I need to look for? Can I do my own plumbing, electrical, etc... They want the building to pass inspection so they collect all the fees and they want the tax base to grow. So they want to help. They are not the big ogre's most people make them out to be. Yes there are some asshats, but even they can be turned from the dark side. (These are not the outlets you think they are..)

The main thing is have fun, research what you are wanting to do, what you did 10 years ago, may not be the best way to do it now, er even the legal way. Use the internet. Use youtube and laugh. The main thing is check the date of the post. Go to providers/manufacturers websites. I have gotten samples from them at times.

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Old 01-31-2019, 01:34 PM   #17
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


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Still it is important to always recognize your limitations.
I'm in total agreement Drachenfire. I used to draw the line at anything electrical or gas-related, but with advice I received here, I've been able to replace a faulty light switch and a ceiling fan. However, I am never going to touch any of the pipes that carry propane to my furnace and water heater, or anything closer to my breaker box than fixtures, switches and outlets.
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:04 PM   #18
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


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You rock as well KaseyW.

Still it is important to always recognize your limitations. For instance, I can repair a leaking copper or pvc pipe, replace valves, faucets, sinks and toilets. However I draw the line at say replacing my gas furnace which feeds my two zone baseboard radiant heat system.

It is not that I could not figure it out..., I could. The issue is it requires substantial time, permits, inspections and messing around with natural gas. For me, it is worth having a professional do it.
Very well said Drachenfire, I couldn't have put it any better.

That is why I choose to hire out drywall. I could do it, I just can't do it well.

I have moved gas lines, but only after researching how to do it extensively and talking with plumbing friends. I wanted to fix what the P.O. did when he switched from gas forced air and a tank water heater to a tankless water heater for Hot Water and one for the in-floor water heater. He branched off of a 1/2" black steel pipe to 3/4" CSST. I put in a tee so I could put in a drop and a shutoff valve and then a run off 3/4" black pipe to where I could join it to the 3/4" CSST.

I used the correct dope/tape on all the fittings and tested them for leaks, I also added shut-off valves at the beginning of each new leg so that if I need to do work on that run, I can just shut off that run and not the whole gas line.

Thankfully, the house is still standing. And, yes, I will pull a permit and have it all inspected. I have talked to the permit department and the P.O. never pulled a permit for any of his work so they are letting me correct things (Like putting a extension cord end on romex to plug in the dishwasher and disposer.)

And all the unboxed electrical connections or overcrowded ones. You wouldn't believe the mess that main panel was in. And yes, I do my own electrical because I worked with a few sparkies in my past. Looking back, I wished I had followed that trade instead of going into IT the way I did. But, hey, I loved the IT work a lot as well.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:06 PM   #19
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


I must confess and give credit. I avoid electric as much as possible and some of you have heard this from me several times, the why. --" I've found it to be a rather shocking experience ".-- But there is an old box in a detached double garage that was here when I bought the ranch. It has a couple of fuses and a steel lever with a circle in the end to make those copper thingies go into a couple of other copper thingies. Those copper thingies have been connected and disconnected at least a thousand times since 1977 and they were getting a little ruff to engage/dis-engage. Through reading this forum I learned I could probably put some silicone grease on those male thingies for lubricationand OH MY GAWD does those thingies ever go in smoother. I must thank the electrical department.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:18 AM   #20
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


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I avoid electric as much as possible and some of you have heard this from me several times, the why. --" I've found it to be a rather shocking experience ".

As a young boy I was tasked with cleaning up my daddy's workbench. I came across a replacement lamp cord plug so my little pea brain thought the best place to put it was in a live receptacle. That blew the fuse and sent me across the room against the furnace. I replaced the fuse, cleaned the black off of me and the wall and kept my mouth shut about the incident!

That gave me a healthy respect for electricity! But it has never stopped me from diy electrical work although I do always make sure I trip the breaker first.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:36 AM   #21
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


Most of my skills came from UHK - University of Hard Knocks.

Seriously, I grew up watching my dad build stuff and got started very early. I saw him use construction "encyclopedia" type reference books, and since I loved to read, I availed myself of books and magazines early on (before YouTube and Internet). I then spent some 9 months working in a high-end cabinet shop between college and my first engineering career job, and just continued referencing woodworking magazines and home improvement shows on TV. Obviously, my engineer training in college and my 33 years in manufacturing and manufacturing support have given me some depth of understanding behind many construction techniques. At this point... today... the internet forums and YouTube are simple extensions of what I've been doing all my life, and I continue to learn something new every day.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:10 AM   #22
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


When I was a kid I had a neighbor who was a hard core DIYer. He would often invite me over to watch and even help some. I watched him repair appliances, build cabinets, put an addition on his house, etc... When I got older he gave me some old tools and thing and I started building things myself.
I also did odd jobs as teenager. People appreciated the fact that I was trainable so they taught me how to do stuff they were too old to do anymore.
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Old 02-01-2019, 03:38 PM   #23
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


My childhood is filled with experiences of working with my dad and other family members.

My dad and two of his brothers was in construction (different companies). Two others were mechanics.

Whenever a family member was working on a major project they called relatives and a weekend for the job would be set. If we were old enough to hold a shovel, sons went along. The men would work and the wives would cook lunch. No money was involved, the work was traded for favors, a meal and beer (sodas for us kids). My mechanic uncles would trade automotive repair for construction work but everybody helped no matter the job.

As kids we started out as gofers, helpers and clean-up. As we got older and learned more, we were allowed to help with more complex tasks.

It was some of the best education we had. To this day, my family still trades in work.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:53 PM   #24
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


My dad taught me which end of the hammer worked best, and other basic skills.

My father in-law was a contractor and plumber. I helped him build his house and he helped me fix my plumbing. I learned lots from both of those.

Coworkers: I'm an electronics engineer by day, and that job seems to attract people who like to build and fix things. One coworker was a licensed electrician, so now I'm no longer afraid of that stuff. He even gave me an old code book, so now I have a book to prove I know everything about residential electrical circuits.

Church Mission Trips: I went on two trips where we built houses for families who lost theirs in hurricanes. Some church members were pros who led different project pieces. The best thing I learned there was nail guns. They rock! Get one of every size and you'll never need a hammer again. Just fire up the compressor, oil the gun, run the hose to your project, and you'll have that birdhouse put together in no time.

And now it's mostly Google and YouTube. If I've never done something before (and I really do look for those projects), I can find someone who has and is willing to share.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:07 PM   #25
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


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The best thing I learned there was nail guns. They rock! Get one of every size and you'll never need a hammer again.

I also like nail guns! but you still need a hammer as a nail gun won't always draw 2 pieces of wood tightly together. Can't throw the nail set away either. A finish nailer does a great job of setting the nails but every now and again ....
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:29 PM   #26
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Maternal uncles taught us boys how to make a rope making DO-DAD--THING-AHMA-JIG to make rope. Have purchased very little rope in my lifetime.

You may not have ever heard of a barn warming gift. When a niece and her husband built a new barn they needed a barn warming gift and what better.
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:43 PM   #27
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


My career has been in mechanical and electrical engineering so I just like to look at the details of things and try to figure them out. Between my inquisitive nature to just figure things out and my desire build my own garage by myself, I've spent an enormous time looking at building codes, many you tube videos, installation guides for most of the materials that I'm selecting for building it.

While I've built a lot of things and done a lot of remodeling, I never quite anticipated all that there is to learn when it comes to building an entire structure from the ground up. There are a lot of details that I just never considered. It's been eye opening, sometimes stressful thinking about it, but very exciting at the same time.

I wanted something bigger than was allowed here, I learned about applying for a variance, what it takes to have a shot at getting one, learning about all of the city zoning codes, a lot of paperwork. I succeeded at my variance and over the past weeks have been narrowing down all of the details of my build, learning Sketchup to model it in as fine of detail as possible.

I don't have any one go to source for learning, I think if I had to pick one that would fall on google. It's great to be able to search and get varying opinions on some things, but it's also really frustrating when you can't quite find the answer you're looking for. But you push ahead anyway.

I'm starting to ramble, but I just love learning how to do new things. In many cases it's stressful up until you make that first cut, knock that hole in the wall, stop at the store to get all of your materials. Then somehow you just end up figuring things out as you go.

Happy to be a new member here! Hope I'll continue to learn something new and hopefully be able to contribute.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:48 PM   #28
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


Google and YouTube. For the former, I think I've searched every DIY skill I was interested in, phrased it in different ways. For the latter, sometimes it is more motivating to see a finished product to get me going. Save for my gadget of choice and the Internet, learning through these was basically free.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:17 AM   #29
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Re: What Resources Have You Used To Learn DIY Skills?


I was fortunate to grow up on a farm where the first response to any project or problem was "how do I do this?". My dad was a classic "jack of all trades, master of none" -- he very rarely called in help (and then it was usually a favorite brother-in-law) so I got involved in lots of projects, ranging from robbing a bee hive to butchering a hog to carpentry/electrical/masonry tasks -- and as you can imagine some projects worked out less well than others <G>. I remember playing at my own little projects in the farm workshop as a little kid, no more than 5-6 yrs old.

My dad never put much effort into drawings beyond a rudimentary sketch but I learned early that I got better results with detailed drawings, so I took mechanical drawing classes in high school and college, and still have my well-used drafting kit. Books and magazines, DIY TV shows were valued resources for decades, and lately YouTube . I wish my grandkids would show some interest, but that (so far) seems unlikely...
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:27 PM   #30
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I still stand by my earlier answer (Google), but it also helps to share with people close to you that you have an interest in doing DIY. They may lead you to similar-minded people and earn friends in the process. It's always a delight to exchange tips in person, suggest activities and even go to stores together when there's time. Even help from the web are not out of the question, like this one I learned through a friend-slash-DIYer. These are people whose opinion on similar interests you value more than what you see on review sites (some of which are dubious anyway).
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