Author Topic: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?  (Read 5681 times)

MrDelane

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Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« on: January 03, 2016, 02:14:57 PM »
One of my goals for the coming year is to increase my badassity in regards to home repairs, improvements and projects.

I would say I'm pretty average in my knowledge, and possibly below average in my experience.
I know my way around tools for the most part (and thanks to family members and holidays, I have a decent set of them), but what I don't know is proper technique, steps, etc for most projects.  Simple things like hanging a set of shelves or replacing a faucet I can do, no problem.  But once I get into things that require a bit more craft I am at a total loss (for example, my next project will involve replacing a rotten threshold on our back door).

The question is - how/where can I learn?
I know that seems simplistic, just wondering if anyone here knew of any good resources for education.  I look up youtube videos and the like for specific projects when I need them, but I'd like to find a way to continually learn more about carpentry, handywork, etc, so that I can become more self-reliant in 2016 and beyond.

I would love to hire someone to come do the work with me, and simultaneously teach me, but most people don't seem too keen on teaching their customers.

Thanks for any advice.


EDITED TO ADD:
Just realized this probably should have gone into the DIY forum.
Apologies for that.  If a Moderator would like to move it, I would appreciate it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 02:18:40 PM by MrDelane »

lukebuz

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2016, 05:28:01 PM »
I went from zero to hero (brazing plumbing, laying tile, refinishing hardwood floors, etc) by just jumping into it.

1. You have the start - find a youtube video, forum, etc and then educate yourself. 
2. Just do it.  Go SLOW.
3. Plan for it to take 3-4x as long as people estimate.  2 hours to hang a screen door?  OK, try 6-8.  You get the idea.

Don't overbuy on tools.  You don't need a $499 Dewalt sliding mitre saw to cut trim successfully.  A $99 store-brand saw will do just as well.  It may not be laser-perfect, but it will do, and you will still be proud of your work.  I've laid 2,000 sq ft of tile on a $105 wet saw.  And it looks better than the "pros" that did mine when I was still a zero.

SwordGuy

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2016, 07:41:45 PM »
Habitat for Humanity uses volunteers.  Help them out and get some on-the-job training at different tasks.

Lowes and Home Depot used to offer "how to" courses for free.  Probably still do.

You might get lucky with a continuing education course at the local community college.

Check out the local real estate investor's association in your area.  There are bound to be some nice folks who do a lot of the renovation work themselves.    They might let you help them out for free.  (That's not really a deal for them, it will probably take them longer to do the work themselves.)

brokescientist

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2016, 07:55:40 PM »
Honestly just having the motivation to learn is the best way.   Youtube videos are great and also I read a bunch of different forums for different subjects.   If I ever have any questions I read forums.  Never hire anyone to do anything in your house (unless it is massively out of your abilities), just do it yourself.  In reality all of this stuff is really easy, it just takes more time and energy to learn and do it yourself. 

Its not hard to put up drywall, solder copper pipe, re-do hardwood floors ect

I would recommend to also learn your automobile as much as possible and join a forum that is specific to your make and model.


MrDelane

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2016, 03:55:06 PM »
I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and motivation.
I've already looked into my local Habitat for Humanity, found some online forums and also looked into Home Depot workshops.

I took your advice and just dove in with my latest project.  I watched a ton of youtube videos and took it slow, and I just finished spending about 5 hours replacing the rotten wood on our patio door sill. It doesn't look gorgeous, but it's WAY more solid than it was, and once I can paint it it will look worlds better.

You were right, Lukebuz - it took about 3 times longer than it should have... but I know I can do it now.
If I did it again it might only take 4.5 hours.

Seriously though - thanks to everyone here.
Your suggestions are all great and I'm intent on following through on them and making 2016 a significant year in regards to my self reliance in maintenance.


mohawkbrah

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2016, 04:57:27 AM »
i find people think things are harder than they really are.


Tradesman will say a  lot of mumbo jumbo to a customer to make them confused and will just trust that the tradesman knows what he's talking about.

Just get stuck in, that's the best way to learn. And if you're like me. it doesn't have to look perfect (or even good) if it saves money :P

Kaplin261

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2016, 05:19:26 AM »
Learn on someone else's dime!! Find someone looking for a "helper", helper is the keyword here. Helping them with their project  earns you money, expands your skill set and if something goes wrong from their lack of experience you're not the one paying to fix it.

MrDelane

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2016, 09:19:24 AM »
Perfect timing on your suggestion, Kaplin.  As luck would have it, I just discovered that my new nextdoor neighbor does quite a lot of handyman work as a side hustle. I'm planning on talking to him soon on the possibility of helping him out if/when he needs it.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2016, 10:13:31 AM »
Following this thread! I'm in a constant quest to "be more useful", and even though I did a lot of handy work growing up, I'm losing all my skills.

Love the Habitat for Humanity suggestion. I always assumed they would only take already skilled folks. Someone tell me otherwise?

MrDelane

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2016, 04:24:07 PM »
Love the Habitat for Humanity suggestion. I always assumed they would only take already skilled folks. Someone tell me otherwise?

According to their website they take all skill levels of volunteers.
At least that is the case at our local one.

MrDelane

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2016, 04:33:04 PM »
I'm not one to usually share pictures... but since the people on this forum helped give me the motivation to just dive and do stuff, here you go.

This is what I spent my weekend doing - replacing a rotted door sill as well as some of the trim.

I absolutely love what I do for a living - but my work is intellectual more than anything else.
Even though this little project wasn't professionally done by any means, I have to say there is a great satisfaction in getting your hands dirty and actually making something.

Kaplin261

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2016, 05:14:36 PM »
I'm not one to usually share pictures... but since the people on this forum helped give me the motivation to just dive and do stuff, here you go.

This is what I spent my weekend doing - replacing a rotted door sill as well as some of the trim.

I absolutely love what I do for a living - but my work is intellectual more than anything else.
Even though this little project wasn't professionally done by any means, I have to say there is a great satisfaction in getting your hands dirty and actually making something.

Great work!!! Did you also address water issues that caused the rot?

MrDelane

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2016, 07:55:31 PM »
Thanks for the kind words.
Not having much experience with these things, I have to say it was a bit scary to just start tearing apart a barrier between the inside and outside of the house.  But, like so many things in life, now that I've done it it seems ridiculous that I ever found it scary.

Great work!!! Did you also address water issues that caused the rot?

Unfortunately, the drainage issues are much larger and will take much more work to fix long term (the yard slopes back towards the house).  As far as the door sill itself goes, I added some flashing behind the trim and the sill to help ensure moisture doesn't get into the house or the rest of the door frame.

The patio tends to flood when we have VERY heavy rains (which happens, but not often) The house was built in the 60s, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the door sill was the original.  I'm exaggerating a bit, but I can say that we've lived here for about 9 years and that door sill was already in questionable shape when we moved in.  Hopefully the new sill and trim will buy us some time as we make plans for larger future changes.

Manguy888

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2016, 06:27:46 AM »
It sounds like you're on the right track.

I've owned a house for just over 10 years now, and I've found that there are two kinds of jobs: active and passive.

Passive is: "I'd like a nicer ceiling in this room", or "these tiles are looking a little old"

Active is: a pipe is leaking! The dryer isn't spinning! We're doomed!

With active jobs, the trick is to not immediately call someone to fix your problem, and instead live with the inconvenience while you learn how to fix it. If you fail and have to call someone, it's okay! You were going to have to do that anyway, and you probably learned something in the process. (this advice does not apply to roofs and high voltage wires)

With passive jobs, the problem for me at least  is overcoming analysis paralysis. Because it doesn't 'have' to be done immediately, the planning process drags out forever and I worry about every little detail. What I've found is that if I just start the demo part of the job I'm more motivated to wade in and finish it. So for example, when my drop ceiling started to look outdated, I just ripped it down. Living with an exposed, cracked plaster ceiling was great motivation to start the project of fixing it. Basically, I have to back myself into a corner and work my way out.


CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2016, 06:40:44 AM »
Here are some suggestions
  • Home Depot used to have a very useful book which gave pictorial ideas of how to do stuff. Very useful.
  • Start with painting. Easiest skill to learn.
  • Next, drywall patching
  • Get some tools and start doing basic repairs (like you are already doing)


Manguy888

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2016, 06:47:43 AM »
Here are some suggestions
  • Home Depot used to have a very useful book which gave pictorial ideas of how to do stuff. Very useful.

Second this. The home depot books on plumbing and wiring (which I got used for $1 each) are some of the clearest books I've seen to explain the systems inside your home.[/list]

soccerluvof4

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2016, 04:44:15 PM »
Like the Nike slogan- JUST DO IT! -  Alot of great suggestions on here as to find out how!  I too was intimidated and still am but am just doing it. I recently tried to address a  plumbing issue which i failed at so called a plumber. In the end I learned something and in the past would of just called the plumber anyways. I will keep trying and have success more as time goes on!

MillenialMustache

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Re: Becoming a handyperson. Where to start?
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2016, 01:18:42 PM »
My husband is very handy (put a metal roof on our home by himself a few years ago, has maintained all of his/our cars for 10+ years, etc) and one thing that he cites as helpful all the time, believe it or not, is "This Old House" on PBS with Bob Vila. He learns about all kinds of stuff and then recalls it years later when he has the same problem, and it also just has shown him how to think about solving these sorts of problems. For specific projects he uses YouTube (he must have watched 20 hours of video or more for the roof), but he learned a lot of general information from that show.