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BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....

Joe Offer 07 Jun 17 - 12:28 AM
JennieG 07 Jun 17 - 02:07 AM
akenaton 07 Jun 17 - 03:34 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 07 Jun 17 - 03:43 AM
Senoufou 07 Jun 17 - 03:52 AM
Mo the caller 07 Jun 17 - 04:17 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Jun 17 - 04:31 AM
Senoufou 07 Jun 17 - 05:51 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Jun 17 - 05:58 AM
banjoman 07 Jun 17 - 06:45 AM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jun 17 - 07:58 AM
Will Fly 07 Jun 17 - 08:04 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Jun 17 - 08:22 AM
Senoufou 07 Jun 17 - 08:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 17 - 08:55 AM
gillymor 07 Jun 17 - 08:55 AM
Greg F. 07 Jun 17 - 08:57 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Jun 17 - 09:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 17 - 09:28 AM
Will Fly 07 Jun 17 - 10:39 AM
leeneia 07 Jun 17 - 11:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 17 - 07:07 PM
ranger1 07 Jun 17 - 11:11 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jun 17 - 01:32 AM
BobL 08 Jun 17 - 02:54 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 08 Jun 17 - 01:28 PM
ranger1 08 Jun 17 - 09:22 PM
Bill D 09 Jun 17 - 07:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 17 - 09:54 PM
Amos 09 Jun 17 - 10:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 17 - 07:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 17 - 07:14 AM
Bonzo3legs 10 Jun 17 - 10:25 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 17 - 10:48 AM
Bill D 10 Jun 17 - 12:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 17 - 12:35 PM
Bill D 10 Jun 17 - 02:52 PM
Gurney 10 Jun 17 - 06:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 17 - 06:48 PM
leeneia 10 Jun 17 - 07:02 PM
Senoufou 10 Jun 17 - 07:12 PM
leeneia 11 Jun 17 - 03:20 PM
ranger1 11 Jun 17 - 07:14 PM
JHW 12 Jun 17 - 05:31 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jun 17 - 02:18 AM

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Subject: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 12:28 AM

I've always been the family handyman. Even my dad, an inventor and engineer, grew to depend on me to fix things when I went to visit - as did all my siblings.

Now I fix things in my son's home - and his landlady is my ex-wife (I still fix things for the ex, as well). It's a nice excuse to get me to visit - have a "Joe-list" ready, and I'm there with bells on. This is really nice now because it gives me an occasion to visit my new grandson. I'm not very good at just visiting, but I have a great time visiting if I have a project to work on.

So, this weekend when I was just visiting, my daughter-in-law asked me if I would teach her how to fix things. I think she has the intuition for it, so I'd like to try. But how do I go about teaching something that comes naturally to me? I've spent my life studying things and figuring out how they work. And when they break, it's usually easy to fix things because I already know their logic.

So, what do you think? How do I impart this thing that feels so natural to me?

I don't think my two sons have what it takes to fix things. Both sons are gifted musicians, and the son who's married to my daughter-in-law is an amazing photographer - I wish I could learn his wizardry. But they didn't seem to pick up my ability to fix things. It would be nice to pass this on to my daughter-in-law, who has shown real aptitude. How can I go about this?

I want to drag this out a long, long time, so I have lots of excuses for grandson visits.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 02:07 AM

Joe, that's a lovely story!

Perhaps when you make a 'fixing visit' your DIL could work alongside you? If she's as handy as you suspect, she will pick up hints from you as you work together.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: akenaton
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 03:34 AM

What a wonderful thread this could become, it asks so many questions about where society is headed if we don't start educating our children in the really important things of life.
In my childhood everyone had to learn to fix things...if you were unable or unwilling to do so your place in society was diminished.
Now everything is thrown away rather than be repaired, consumerism has been accepted almost worldwide....only the most "primitive" societies actually "fix things".

When we start to contemplate that fact, we realise that we are on a race to the bottom in terms of energy production and use.

Where is the politician with the balls to tell us that to be poorer in financial terms, makes us all richer in the understanding and sustainability of life?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 03:43 AM

I think a lot of it is realising how things are assembled, the use of the correct materials etc. When you examine a failed item it usually because it has had some unexpected stress, so the replacement needs to be stronger or the stress removed. If you can think in that way you are halfway there to becoming a repairer, which is a lot of the DIY that I get asked to do for the kids.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Senoufou
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 03:52 AM

That's lovely Joe. I bet they look on you as an absolute gem.

My father was like you, very handy and clever with 'fixing things'. He had his own father's tools and equipment (really old, beautiful tools, sets of chisels, planes, brace-and-bit etc) and he always encouraged me to spend lots of time in his big shed watching and helping. I learned all sorts from him.
I think your best bet is to let your daughter-in-law watch at first, and help in small ways. She'll learn more easily that way. Then maybe give her a small project to tackle while you keep an eye on her. She'll soon gain confidence, as she seems to have an 'inclination' for DIY.

By the time I was about twelve, I spent loads of time in that shed on my own, making all sorts of stuff and using all the tools correctly. I bless my father now, as I'd say I'm quite a handywoman!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 04:17 AM

Well, when we were young boys learnt woodwork & metal work, girls were taught to cook - division of labour (or sexism, depending on your viewpoint). And the girls who didn't pass the 11 plus exam to go to Grammar school also learnt laundry skills with the idea that girls would stay at home and be in charge of childcare and the day-to-day drudgery, men would be wage earners and do the handyman jobs as they arose.
Glad your DIL is taking an interest, you will still have an excuse to visit, when you've trained her you can start the scientific and practical education of your grandson. When I ran a Playgroup for 3-5 yr olds the proper use of hammers and saws was a regular activity, and occasionally we spent a week exploring bulbs, wires & batteries in very small groups.

I think to teach her you need to decide first what her basic tool kit should be.
Then get into the habit of giving a running commentary of what you are doing. And the thinking behind it. There must be a lot that you do automatically because you know that something is an A type not a B.
Or just stand back and give step by step instructions.

Then start planning the Christmas present kids workbench (to be used under strict supervision only - "tools not toys"). One of the things I had to stress with preschool children was to saw without too much pressure - "like stroking a cat". I should think using the right amount of force, not too much, is one of the skills all good DIYer has learnt to do instinctively. Not ruining the slot of a screw etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 04:31 AM

My father was absolutely hopeless. I wish I'd have had the chance to have known "Uncle Jack" (actually my mother's uncle) better. He worked as a chauffeur/mechanic for one of the shoddy mill owners in Yorkshire and apparently was a highly skilled engineer and occasional inventor.

Me, I always had an interest in pulling things apart to see how they worked but have limited abilities.

I suppose necessity was one of my drivers. As a teenager with a motorbike we used to ride round a field, if there is no one to pay for a job and no one else to help, you learn to fix what you can yourself. In household where (at that time) no one else could put up a shelf or fix a tap washer, you learn how do do it... Although I suppose some interest in doing these things helps...

I'm probably less interested in fixing these days than I was and in some cases, if we were stuck, we'd probably turn to another family member, eg. one brother is a time served mechanic and far better than me at that sort of thing...

... and probably look more to the very occasional "project" instead. Something like my attepted "windmill" suits me as there was a tiny bit of lathe work and some programming (you can eg. start stop it with an android and it changes speed and direction) inolved so it combines things I've picked up.

But I don't know any other family member interested in trying that sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Senoufou
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 05:51 AM

My old dad was a Post Office Electrical Engineer, then got telecommunications qualifications and ended up Manager of most of West London for the GPO (now BT) He was always doing stuff around the house, plumbing, electrical re-wiring, building a brick garage, installing a boiler, tinkering with his car,and decorating. That's one thing I'm so grateful for, the ability to paint and put up wallpaper. I've re-decorated countless houses over the years, even put up plaster cove-moulding all by myself.

I also have no hesitation at assembling flat-pack furniture. It's common sense. I can't understand folk who pay someone to do that!

I think the secret Joe is confidence. Familiarity and a bit of knowledge, realising it isn't that hard after all, and one is away!

By the way, my generation was also taught knitting, dressmaking, general sewing and mending and cooking from scratch by our capable mothers. We were so lucky to have all those skills when we set out into the world as young adults!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 05:58 AM

I was a bit out of sync when trying this and can't be bothered trying again but just to give some idea of "windmill with Android here. Maybe that sort of interaction would make this type of thing more interesting to youngsters?? I don't know...


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: banjoman
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 06:45 AM

Most of my misspent youth was taken up in fixing things, mainly because we couldn't afford much in the way of new. Over the years I have fixed bikes, cars, washing machines televisions etc. etc. My motto has always been "Never throw it away" Its amazing what you can achieve with a roll of Gaffa Tape or a tube of glue. Both my sons have inherited the fix it gene but still come round to ask me to fix things. I currently play a banjo made up of bits cannibalised from lots of unrepairable instruments which I recovered from a skip behind a music shop.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 07:58 AM

I have always had that knack as well, Joe. At the office I was the one who unjammed printers, got other office devices back into working order, and at home I'm the one who takes apart the weed whacker to put in the new starter rope or fuel lines, etc. I repair computers as needed. I replaced a toilet last week. Necessity, but also a general interest in such projects and the follow-through to finish them. You know the signs in repair shops - $25 if we fix it, $50 if you help, $75 if you started first, something like that - but usually if I start I don't need to take it in to be reassembled. A few months back I took my elderly dryer apart to be sure lint wasn't accumulating inside. As a child I attended summer camp and that led into a 2-week stint working at a local ghost town and museum. And while working there the cash register was one of those big old historic monsters and was only used to store cash (pushing a "drawer open" key only), not used to actually tally the day. But I poked around inside, figured out how to get under the hood and reset the dials and levers and after a little while had it working the way it was supposed to. (I was 13 at the time.)

My mother used to buy old appliances at Salvation Army - lots of clocks, toasters, etc, and on rainy days she'd give each kid a cake pan, a clock, and a screwdriver. I suspect that was the roots of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:04 AM

There's a massive resource out there which shows how things can be made/fixed and it's called YouTube.

Not as a good as a 1-2-1 with an experienced "fixer", perhaps, but you could check out a few videos and pass them on to your kith and kin. If you're interested in doing work of guitars, for example, or some aspect of work with wood or metal, there's loads of stuff out there - and lots of ideas.

Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:22 AM

I have found YouTube useful. How my Ausus laptop "unsnaps" to gain access to the hard drive for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Senoufou
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:53 AM

We made such things as bogie carts, bows and arrows, catapults and stilts from old pram wheels and bits of wood. I remember doing these things from the age of about ten.
I suppose young folk nowadays look at screens most of the time and don't actually mess around with tools and bits and pieces.
The Internet is handy, yes, but watching someone in real life and copying them under supervision is in my view the best way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:55 AM

My father was great fixing things, and I never was. But over the years I seemed to have learnt how to manage, and enjoy managing. I'm more of a botcher than a craftsman (I don't mean botching as doing a job badly, but as working out how to do it while doing it, and using what's to hand) - but it's not so much the skills, it's the attitude. You get to see things that don't work right as something that could be sorted out, rather than put-up with, and you learn to do it by trying to do it.

Even things like a wobbly chair or table in a restaurant. Instead of putting up with it you find a bit of cardboard and botch it up so it doesn't wobble.

Now my son, who's never been good with it, is getting to learn how to do things.

Playing string instruments is maybe good for learning the attitude, because you have to tune over and over again.

YouTube is amazingly helpful for this, showing you how to sort something out. And you run across such idiosyncratic characters in the process...


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: gillymor
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:55 AM

I think the first thing an aspiring handyperson needs to learn is Tool Control. It may seem obvious but this is probably the most important thing my Dad taught me. Over time accumulate as many (or make as many) tool boxes or buckets that you need and fill them with the tools you will need and keep them there when not in use. This will make any job go so much smoother and save lots of time. I have separate containers dedicated to cars, bikes, carpentry, painting, drywall work, plumbing, electrical, eyeglass repair and musical instrument repair plus a square, lightweight, cloth open tool holder with numerous pockets that I got from Home Depot that holds the basic tools (hammer, screw drivers, vice grips, hex and adjustable wrenches, various pliers, small saws etc.) that will suffice for a large majority of handy work. This makes Xmas and birthday shopping that much easier for friends and family of the handyperson because he/she always needs (or desire) some tool or another.

Also, buy quality tools because it's actually cheaper to buy one good one and take care of it than to buy several that fall apart in short order. I'm still using some tools that belonged to my grandfather. This is not true in all cases because sometimes, depending on what it's used for, the cheapie works just as well as the more expensive one. This is something you learn through experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Greg F.
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:57 AM

One problem with fixing things these days is almost all item are not MADE to be fixed but to be thrown out & replaced and repair parts simply aren't available unless that can be cannibalized from another item.

And yes, I think the watch/learn/copy is the mose effective way to teach this sort of thing. Very time intensive, however.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 09:04 AM

"washing machines"

I used to fix our washing machines and having once worked for Hotpoint (only as materials handler on a production line and later involved in the stock [MRP] system), I once knew the build of the old 95xx washers and 93xx driers fairly well, even down to several part numbers (which were not the same as the service/spares part numbers…) and where on the line/press shop most items were used.

I didn't do the last trivial repair on our current washer though. My mother insures these things these days and the cost of a replacement plastic button for me to just push on was about £10.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 09:28 AM

You can find most of those fiddly bits on the net - one problem is of course knowing what to call them. That's where the YouTube clips can come in handy.

General rule I play by is that most things are pretty straightforward, unless they are downright impossible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 10:39 AM

On my last-but-one car (an Audi A4), I wasn't sure how to replace a blown brake light bulb - i.e. how to get at the damn thing to replace it. Nothing in the manual, but I was saved a trip to the Audi garage (and a bill) by finding a YT video that showed you just exactly how to do it. Worked first time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 11:51 AM

Joe, I think your best course is to start working with her, fixing things that need it around her house. Because there are just so many different ways to fix things.

I once fixed my dishwasher by using the military's first solution - RTFM. But I had to give up on my breadmachine. All it needed was a gasket, but the replacement gasket cost almost as much as a new unit. And I might not install it right.

So to answer your question - how do I teach her to fix things? I say this:

1. teach safety
2. teach her to use the owner's manual, which usually has a section on troubleshooting
3. use YouTube
4. then go case by case


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 07:07 PM

If she has got to the point of wanting to be able to fix stuff, and trying to find how to do so, that's the essential bit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: ranger1
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 11:11 PM

I grew up as my dad's handyman's helper and now I'm the maintenance person at the park. Carpentry, mechanical stuff, plumbing, etc., I do a bit of all of it. My co-workers call me "the machine whisperer". I find it hilariously amusing that I am a much better mechanic than my male co-workers. And Kendall once showed me how to fix my neighbor's dryer. The best part about that was the colorful language I learned, lol.

As for how to teach your daughter-in-law, start by letting her watch you and hand you tools. Tell her what you're doing as you're doing it, and why. It's how my dad taught me, and how the maintenance mechanics for my region still teach me. They tell me they don't mind coming to our park because I always ask them to teach me how to do things and then they don't have to come back for the same thing time and time again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 01:32 AM

Well, I like to think I'm handy, but I sure didn't do a very good job on the irrigation system today. If I had only taken my time.....but it was getting dark, and I got in a hurry and broke some stuff I'll have to fix tomorrow. The Moment of Truth comes when I turn on the water tomorrow. Hope it doesn't leak.
    Note to self: When you want to join two pipes together end-to-end, use elbows and make the connection from the top. Don't try to force the pipes to fit together.
I knew that, but didn't think it would be an issue today.
Oh, well. Glad my daughter-in-law wasn't watching. Then again, if she had been watching, we would have had a good laugh and a good lesson.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: BobL
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 02:54 AM

To an engineer, there are two types of stuff.
1. Those that need fixing,
2. Those that will need fixing after I've played with them for about twenty minutes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 01:28 PM

Some years ago Anne was a bit put out when I repeatedly mended the faults on our cheap washing machine. It ended up with a replacement pump from another make fitted on with a packing piece spacer and you had to use a screwdriver to open the door but it worked fine.
She just wanted a new machine!

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: ranger1
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 09:22 PM

Joe, sometimes it's those jobs that your helper learns the most from :D

One of my favorite moments as my dad's handyman's helper: "Umm...Dad, is the little motor gizmo supposed to be smoking like...hey, we got sparks...OH CRAP! IT'S ON FIRE! Why don't you have a fire extinguisher like a normal person??!!" We were working on the plow motor on my brother's truck. We ended up going to Brownie's Auto Parts and ordering a new one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 07:02 PM

There's two parts to being handy and 'fixing stuff'.. one is some 'feel' for shapes, measurements and material-- the ability to see 3D in your head. I got a high score one that in 7th grade, but thought I had no interest.

The 2nd is just one-step-at-a-time practice.... and if step 1 exists, the rest will come gradually. Things like changing a lamp switch and/or cord... using s screwdriver or hammer on a small job. I one had to unstick a window to get it raised, and a young lady I knew was watching and wanted detailed info... seem her dad never bothered to show 'girls' that stuff. I used a screwdriver to loosen it a bit, then a piece of wood as a fulcrum to avoid damage. That data about fulcrums and levers was pure Archimedes, and was 1st step in applications to things like changing a tire or moving a tree limb.

Plumbing can start with just changing a washer in a leaky faucet... then MY next step... turning OFF the house supply to allow drilling a hole in a pipe to install a water line to a refrigerator. A trip to the hardware store to point at the options will help. It's amazing how soon someone is saying..,"Is that all there is to it? That wasn't hard."

It's not overnight... just as learning where files are located on a computer and how to download & install useful programs in not overnight... (I have friends who have NEVER installed anything and can't tell you where those icons they click are located.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 09:54 PM

If you really want to do something, you'll learn to do it. Not necessarily doing it well, but as Chesteron put it "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing it badly.

Whether you learn best by trial and error, or by being taught, or through books, is a matter of personal learning style, and people differ enormously. But the essential part is the desire to do it.

I think that applies to just about everything in life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 10:35 PM

Hands-on small tasks combined with just enough theory. I'd be inclined to start with simpler ones like screwing things together or replacing a washer. Wood is easier and more forgiving as a learning subject than machined parts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 07:10 AM

Wood is great, and metal is challenging - but plastic can be the work of the devil when it comes to mending stuff


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 07:14 AM

It should be possible to invent a kind of plastic with the qualities that make wood so good to work with. But I've never heard of that being done - plastic that looks like wood, yes, but that's not the point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 10:25 AM

I make my own mics for recording gigs, and although I haven't for a few years, used to make my own guitar effects from factory circuit diagrams, or schematics as the USAians like to call them - for instance the MXR 100 phase shifter


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 10:48 AM

An important part of all of this is that we learn from mistakes - in fact, our mistakes are one of the best ways to learn. You do have to acknowledge the mistake and figure out the correction, but this is something I routinely tell our student employees at work as they are learning new skills - they will make mistakes, but that is part of the mastery of anything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 12:17 PM

"....our mistakes are one of the best ways to learn. "

Point made... but in many shops, like the 5 years I worked in a cabinet shop, and later doing a lot of woodworking at home, some mistakes can be serious. I'm not referring to just inattention, but to being unaware of certain applications of the laws of physics and 'how' certain materials behave under stress.
   I also just got a chain saw and am being VERY careful about how and where the saw is applied to a piece of wood.
In the same way, a mistake of NOT turning of the power when fixing an electrical item can be an **interesting** way to learn...


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 12:35 PM

Mistakes versus accidents - the level of seriousness of the resulting events?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 02:52 PM

Not exactly... I'd call that just a linguistic difference. Some mistakes are automatically accidents. (getting your finger in the wrong place near a saw blade.)Some mistakes can "lead to" various degrees of accident...(using the wrong tool... which tends to slip under extra pressure. Might be only a bumped knuckle... might be worse.)

Some accidents are mere brief nuisances... having to replace the tool.

Awareness of the situation and your current level of competence is the issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 06:41 PM

Back to Joe's original post: I'm much like him in that when I see something broken, I start working out ways to mend it.

I spent much of my working life as a Rectifier in automotive plants, until they all went East, and in other trades I took over the maintenance of plant.
For the last 17 years until I retired I was a jobbing handyman, and one of my customers was a shop that did clothing alterations. It employed a score of seamstresses, and one of those ladies preferred the jobs that I did because "Boys had the best toys!" She watched my working (NOT watching me, I aver) and often peered into my van to familiarise herself with tools she didn't recognise.
Does that sound like your DIL, Joe?

I hate the modern way of planned obsolescence, where we throw away perfectly good working electronics, and a cellphone is destroyed beyond sensible repair-cost by dropping it on a vinyl floor! I once dropped mine from a roof onto asphalt with only cosmetic damage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 06:48 PM

Some mistakes aren't accidents. For, if you paint a room and then realize you picked a horrible colour. You learn from those mistakes also.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 07:02 PM

We bought a fixer-upper house, and gradually I became aware of the energy in the job. In particular, I identified:

1. the 80% slump, where the job is mostly done, but you are tired of the job and tired in body and mind. This is a good place for a friend to come along and help out.

2. the 95% shortcut. At this point, you are facing a deadline or have lost all enthusiasm, and you do something stingy or stupid that you always regret, just to get the job over.

When this time comes, it's best to down tools and get a good night's sleep.

It is easier not to fall into either of these traps if you remember their names and are aware of them ahead of time.

Joe, your pipes that had to be connected as darkness came on sound like a 95% shortcut.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Senoufou
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 07:12 PM

My father taught me to spend a while just thinking about the job I proposed to do before making a start. He always said that a few minutes reflection beforehand could save enormous amounts of fiddling about and making silly mistakes which would have to be rectified.

He also said that going at a steady rate rather than like a bull in a china shop was the way forward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Jun 17 - 03:20 PM

Good advice, Senoufou.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: ranger1
Date: 11 Jun 17 - 07:14 PM

Last year, our push mower at work was having issues. I did a quick trouble-shooting search and found out it the carburetor jets needed to be cleaned and and a how-to video. Stood me in good stead, as I was able to diagnose the mower belonging to my landlady's son this afternoon and teach him how to fix it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: JHW
Date: 12 Jun 17 - 05:31 AM

I was putting up shelves at my father's knee. No power drills then, braying a hole in the wall with a three cornered chisel was the way. A hole in wood?, red hot poker in the fire was easier than the hand drill. Technology has moved on, much is beyond my comprehension but that grounding in fixing things yourself was essential. I'm always still fixing things. How on earth do people manage who cannot?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dad, teach me to fix things....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 02:18 AM

You described my daughter-in-law to a "T," Gurney. She's bright and curious, and she won't let anything stop her.
My plumbing disaster had a great outcome. I was able to replace a complicated construction with something much simpler and more durable - but it delayed my vacation for two days until I got the irrigation system fixed.
So, we won't be able to take the scenic route to Yellowstone....
-Joe-


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