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Thanks,Dad, For Teaching Me to DIY Stuff

Madcodger

Solar Addict
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
571
I was speaking with a guy I sorta/kinda know at a local watering hole this evening, and he was crying into his beer that he had just spent $1700 on a 50 gallon hot water heater. I said, "Well, at least you'll get a good-sized rebate and tax credit for it being a heat pump type." IT WASN'T! This poor schmo had been charged $1700 to yank out and replace a plain Jane, no frills, $600-with-no-discount basic 50-gallon electric hot water heater, by a local plumber.

I've owned more than ten houses, and I can't remember ever paying someone to change out a hot water heater. Hot line, cold line, quick electrical connection, done before your coffee's cold.

Anyway... I tell people I did my own solar system and am planning another one for another house, and you'd think I'd told them I replaced my own kidney. Are people really becoming that fragile and dependent?? Thank goodness I had a Dad who taught me to work with my hands, even as he pushed "book-based" education. I don't know how some of these folks survive, having never learned basic home repair. Thank goodness for forums like this. The technical knowledge sharing is great, but I think that engaging with people who aren't afraid to do some things for themselves is at least as rewarding as the knowledge.
 
Its not even just house maintenance and such.... They cant even learn how to cook in order to save money!! The under 30 crowed is totally F'd
35 here, I'm glad I mad the cut.
I'm the fixer among my group of friends, but a couple others have some excellent skills. We've done everything from bathroom remodels to building swing sets and breaking plenty of things along the way, fixing them of course. It's great working with someone who knows what you're thinking and is already in motion throwing that next joist to you or opening the cooler 😂.
I'll never forget, years ago, when I told one of my best friends to hand me a phillips head and he asked if that wad the flat one or the cross... He's came a long way.
Haven't tackled a water heater yet but I'm completely confident it'll be one of the easier plumbing projects I've done. Out of rebedding the water softener, replacing the pressure tank, upgrading the filter system, adding an outdoor hose bib through a concrete wall, copper pipe and cpcv; the septic pump was definitely the shittiest.
If it weren't for hovering over my Dad's shoulder growing up along with helping my Pop-Pop I'd be lost; the shop classes I took in high-school were invaluable as well.
It blows my mind how inadequate the skills of some homeowners are.
 
I guess both my parents fostered the idea of DIY. Either build it, repair it, cook it or bandage it (some one after the other) was a feature of life. And it did not stop with them but to this day I find learning experiences everywhere like from some of the folks here at this Forum. You grow up being self reliant and it is hard to think there can be any other way.
 
Thanks Dad for giving me work ethic and not just millions of dollars 🙄 so much better 🤣
I tend to agree with you …..BUT , if I had the chance I would have asked for a decent level of skills and just a couple of million….. 🤣

we’re to poor at first to ever hire anyone for anything….we had to learn to do about everything if wanted to have anything..
It paid off big time … dad lasted long enough to see the results of his efforts in teaching me how to do stuff….how to think ...that resulted in me having things he only could have dreamed of.
That made me happy…

But I still think he was a far better man than me.
 
My dad was a mechanic and my happiest childhood memories are of “helping” him. He was the king of make do with what you have, and paying someone else to fix something was unheard of. Anything broken can be fixed. I tried to pass it on to my son but he has no interest. The younger generation who I call “The help desk generation” seems unable to function without having someone else to tell them what to do.
 
I remember when my "tech" buddy actually pulled me aside to show me all the cool stuff to learn when you tube first took off. I was shocked!
I thought every man knew what I did. Dad had me handing him wrenches and parts at 8, swinging a hammer at 10 and swinging from trusses by 12. if it needed to be done he did it with me as his assistant.
I did a fare amount of grumbling in those years as the job got done before I could go off and play with my friends, but I am thankful to this day for what I know because of it.
 
Electric water heaters are stupid easy. Gas is only slightly harder.
I dunno 'bout that
3-4 electrical connections and a gland right?
With gas, it's one thread on fitting (2 if you do it by the book and replace the line) and a squirt bottle of soapy water to make sure it's sealed...
 
I dunno 'bout that
3-4 electrical connections and a gland right?
With gas, it's one thread on fitting (2 if you do it by the book and replace the line) and a squirt bottle of soapy water to make sure it's sealed...
You forgot the vent!
 
My neighbor and his wife are mid-late 20’s. He’s working in process control at a paper mill, programs eps32 projects, does solar with me, flies fixed wing and helicopters and is a tig welder. Handy guy to have around. Not the normal 20-something.
 
My dad was a mechanic and my happiest childhood memories are of “helping” him. He was the king of make do with what you have, and paying someone else to fix something was unheard of. Anything broken can be fixed. I tried to pass it on to my son but he has no interest.

My dad was a farmer and did everything needed doing. I wasn't always keen to help but so thankful he made me help as I learned a lot and can tackle anything now too. I've recognised for years that he's who I got my work ethic from.

I'm still trying to teach my 10 year old son similar skills but not terribly successful yet. Maybe I have to push it more ... that's how I learned mine.


I remember when my "tech" buddy actually pulled me aside to show me all the cool stuff to learn when you tube first took off.

Many years before YouTube I asked in the local Blockbuster if they had any technical videos ... I wanted to learn stuff ... anything mechanical or technical. They looked at me like I had two heads. 😁 What's available online now is truly astounding.
 
My dad was a baker, so I did lots of baking and confectionery during school holidays.

But.

He was also a keen DIYer, mostly woodwork but he did electrics too. I was 10 when he trusted me with a power-saw!!

I dabbled with hobby electronics (early 70s anything with more than 3 legs was black-magic) and I managed to get on an RN Technician Apprenticeship.

So, I'm an engineer who can cook, could explain why my wife keeps me around :)

The rest is history.
 
I'll never forget, years ago, when I told one of my best friends to hand me a phillips head and he asked if that wad the flat one or the cross... He's came a long way.
I have been opening (and destroying) stuff ever since I was a 5yo child. I was privileged to have access to an entire bag of tools to play around.
But, even then if you had asked me this just four years ago, I'd have no clue.
All this time, I simply relied upon; if it's a flat screw, then flat end of the screwdriver, and vice-versa or improvise.
 
I’m a DIYer. But quite honestly, it is more cost effective for me to hire work/repair out and use my time instead with earnings in my profession.

But I still like DIY projects…when they go well! 😁
 
The trades are where the big money will be for some time. Too many never got their hands dirty and have mo idea how to do anything.

I know someone with a Phd and was complaining that trades people don't have a college education and should not make more than those that have a college education.

Another aspect one sees watching Youtube are the homeless encampments visited during the day and no one is there. This is in towns and cities where people from other states moved to driving up real estate prices. The homeless are at work, many are trades but the housing costs are unaffordable. This is not sustainable, either those working and repairing things will need to be compensated well for their efforts or there won't be anyone left in town to repair anything.

I have 2 children, both grew up helping my wife and I on weekends and during summer remodeling houses and building a new shop. My son graduated from college with no debt and lived off campus. He worked for his landlord after classes remodeling houses so his housing costs were free. He also worked internships all summer while living with us, very common for him to leave at 5 am and come home at 11 pm during the busy season. Anyone who employed my children has told me they wish they could find a few more employees like them.
 
We repaired stuff out of necessity. When something breaks you have nothing to lose if you try to fix it. So, most of my knowledge came from reading, and research and the willingness to try.

The best thing my folks ever did for me was buying a set of encyclopedias from a door to door salesman ... and the complete works of William Shakespear.
 
Many years before YouTube I asked in the local Blockbuster if they had any technical videos ... I wanted to learn stuff ... anything mechanical or technical. They looked at me like I had two heads. 😁 What's available online now is truly astounding.
It really is astounding. I ran a large maintenance shop for years, once in a while apiece of machinery would fail in some weird way - me and my right hand man would be staring at each other saying "Ain't never seen that before, now what!?"
Sure enough, you tube would have a video on it. Except for how to unstick a 20,000 lb boom lift sunk to its axles in mud. that was a fun day!
 
My dad was a time served Coach builder, he taught me nothing other than how to get shouted at when holding a torch that did not shine directly on the nut he was undoing. I am self taught (don't count the engineering degree as its of no practical use), have my own workshop with Lathe and Bridgeport Mill and learn new stuff all the time. Also I do not shout.
 
My dad was a farmer and did everything needed doing. I wasn't always keen to help but so thankful he made me help as I learned a lot and can tackle anything now too. I've recognised for years that he's who I got my work ethic from.

I'm still trying to teach my 10 year old son similar skills but not terribly successful yet. Maybe I have to push it more ... that's how I learned mine.




Many years before YouTube I asked in the local Blockbuster if they had any technical videos ... I wanted to learn stuff ... anything mechanical or technical. They looked at me like I had two heads. 😁 What's available online now is truly astounding.
When I was a kid radio shack was the place to get the things I needed. But in the late 90’s they started emphasizing cell phones over electronic components. I remember trying to substitute a transistor in the store for one they used to carry and listening to the salesman showing some woman all the ring tones some cell phone could make. Beginning of the end for them.
 
I have notice allot of the once busy various DIY forums have grinded to a halt. This current generation was not raised up to make things. I told my son the other day he would do well repairing all the robots that do everything for everyone else.
 
My dad was a time served Coach builder, he taught me nothing other than how to get shouted at when holding a torch that did not shine directly on the nut he was undoing. I am self taught (don't count the engineering degree as its of no practical use), have my own workshop with Lathe and Bridgeport Mill and learn new stuff all the time. Also I do not shout.
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My father was an electrician, and used to change his own oil.

I used to make billy karts and cubby houses for fun as a kid, and I'd often misplace all his tools.
 
My dad was a mechanic and my happiest childhood memories are of “helping” him. He was the king of make do with what you have, and paying someone else to fix something was unheard of. Anything broken can be fixed. I tried to pass it on to my son but he has no interest. The younger generation who I call “The help desk generation” seems unable to function without having someone else to tell them what to do.
My earliest memories were under cars with my father.
Back in 73 at 4 or 5 years old, i was under vw beetles in the driveway of our apartment in iceland pulling engines, adjusting valves, changing oil screens etc...
All the tv shows that depicted incompetant dads screwing up the tv or the plumbing, lights exploding from a lack of skill... never made any sense to me. My dad regularly repaired everything... he was always building ham radio stuff, as well. I have soooo many ham radio setups in my shop i know nothing about.
He was maintenance officer in the air force, repairing jets, and writing service manuals for the f4 and the f16... maybe the 15 also, but i think that was a navy plane... we got evacuated from Iran in 79, dad went back and helped the first set of hostages escape, then was captured and tortured there...
Anyway, in 80, we opened an engine repair company in washington, kept it up when we moved to south dakota, then took over grandpas hvac company in 84...
Been here ever since.
Dad never really taught me. He taught my big brother... i just understood what was needed. I soaked up second hand training as it came.
I have fond memories of my big brother trying to learn about valve lash and magneto timing, spring rates, and front end lift... and id just do it without being tought.
When it came to hvac stuff, dad would teach me service, relays, control wiring, and it just made sense to me.

Grandpa would show me high voltage wiring, service drop stuff, one day i spooled out a long 480V 3phas run around 300' 500kcmill i thing.
Anyway, i counted up the conduit joints fittings, etc, spooled out the runs, laid em on the tarmac, and started the pull.
When finished, i had to cut 3" off the meter side, and 14" off the panel side, and grandpa yelled at me like i had burned down the building...

He said, "DONT EVER CUT WIRE SO CLOSE! I WANT 3' MINIMUM EXCESS ON BOTH ENDS!"
 
Has anyone ever wondered where shit went to,when helping your dad work on somthing in the carport and he send you inside garage to get him the —- - - - - …

Dad it’s not here…

Yes it is, right by the bench grinder…

I don't see it dad… it’s gone…

No it’s not gone ….

I can’t find it dad…..

Dad gets up off the ground …#*#&%### .. damn it boy..


Here it is boy… what the hells wrong with you ..?

Dad , it mysteriously just appeared ….it wasn’t there …it wasn’t there ..I swear…

Dad as he’s crawling back on the ground , muttering…” damn kids today” ..

Has anyone ever had that happen.?
 
My father was an electrician, and used to change his own oil.

I used to make billy karts and cubby houses for fun as a kid, and I'd often misplace all his tools.
My dad was forever mad at me for losing his tools. about 10 years after I'd moved out of the house, I was riding in the back of their car... dad had an epiphany.. he was still missing tools and I hadn't been home in 10 years. He looked at my mother.... a light bulb went on in his head. lol
 
My earliest memories were under cars with my father.
Back in 73 at 4 or 5 years old, i was under vw beetles in the driveway of our apartment in iceland pulling engines, adjusting valves, changing oil screens etc...
All the tv shows that depicted incompetant dads screwing up the tv or the plumbing, lights exploding from a lack of skill... never made any sense to me. My dad regularly repaired everything... he was always building ham radio stuff, as well. I have soooo many ham radio setups in my shop i know nothing about.
He was maintenance officer in the air force, repairing jets, and writing service manuals for the f4 and the f16... maybe the 15 also, but i think that was a navy plane... we got evacuated from Iran in 79, dad went back and helped the first set of hostages escape, then was captured and tortured there...
Anyway, in 80, we opened an engine repair company in washington, kept it up when we moved to south dakota, then took over grandpas hvac company in 84...
Been here ever since.
Dad never really taught me. He taught my big brother... i just understood what was needed. I soaked up second hand training as it came.
I have fond memories of my big brother trying to learn about valve lash and magneto timing, spring rates, and front end lift... and id just do it without being tought.
When it came to hvac stuff, dad would teach me service, relays, control wiring, and it just made sense to me.

Grandpa would show me high voltage wiring, service drop stuff, one day i spooled out a long 480V 3phas run around 300' 500kcmill i thing.
Anyway, i counted up the conduit joints fittings, etc, spooled out the runs, laid em on the tarmac, and started the pull.
When finished, i had to cut 3" off the meter side, and 14" off the panel side, and grandpa yelled at me like i had burned down the building...

He said, "DONT EVER CUT WIRE SO CLOSE! I WANT 3' MINIMUM EXCESS ON BOTH ENDS!"
I taught my daughter many things... plug a tire. Brake job on a truck... and the most important thing she could have learned for the US electrical system... "black on brass will save yer azz".
 
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