The Art of DIY

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been the type to try to fix things on my own. I blame my dad and an uncle. Growing up, my father watched A LOT of home improvement shows, most notably This Old House. My mom still tells me that when I was real little I’d get excited and yell “my daddy has that tool!” every time Bob Vila showed up with a tool my Dad owned. So yea, I also blame Bob Vila.

The Legend (totally taken from his Facebook).

So pretty early on I got inducted into the hall of “do-it-yourselfism.” Thanks Dad (but really, thanks).

Oh Jeez, What is He Doing?

Cameras, VCRs, TVs, and other random “junk” wasn’t safe around me as a child. As early as second or third grade, I was prying things apart just to see the inside. Heck my third grade teacher would give my parents old things she no longer used (like cameras). Shout out to Mrs. Colagiovanni–you contributed to this addiction.

My parents thought this was cool, I thought this was cool, and it was and still is pretty hecking cool. Why throw something in a landfill if you can use it for an educational experience?

Down the line DIY showed up more in more in my life. From learning to fix physical things to computer issues, I hated paying and waiting for someone else to do it. I blame this for my random hobbies.

YouTube, Google, Instructables, forums, HowStuffWorks, Wikipedia, etc. were all mainstays of my personal entertainment growing up. Learning how stuff works, goes together, and breaks is amazing to me. This also played a huge role in picking Professional and Technical Writing for a major.

Building, Fixing, and Breaking

Time progressed and I started to fix my own things. In grade school it was a remote control car (anyone else remember XMODS?). In high school I was trying to keep a computer from literally breaking into pieces. In college I was recabling my headphones, fixing my record player (that I 100% wasn’t the one to break in the first place; nope, no way), painting my own wheels with a friend (a black rattlecan coat is better than rust), and working on my own guns.

After (finally) finishing school, the trend continued. I actually repainted those same wheels: first time wasn’t good enough.

Some of my recent/on-going projects have been making a knife (on hiatus until…), fixing a camera, refitting gun parts (please don’t put JB Weld on a gun, it’s cruel), and replacing some swollen capacitors on a pair of speakers I picked up at a thrift shop for a good price (these guys had similar problems). The last one is what spurred this article. I’m currently waiting on the parts to come in today Turns out I ordered the wrong parts and they came in as I was writing this: always triple check.

All I want to do is listen to some weird music and these two guys are stopping me.

I Blame My Dad, but Thank You

Yea. That’s right, I blame you, DAD. Doing all these cool projects and building things on your own my entire life. I forgive you though, because this is a dang cool skill set to have.

Honestly, I enjoy helping my dad on his projects when I can. Sometimes it’s landscaping, sometimes it’s cleaning gutters, and sometimes it’s building a large pergola out of wood.

My dad’s 77 and still doing this stuff by the way. We’re actually working on the pergola now. He had hired some help to set up the bigger pieces (kind of impossible to do as a one man job), and few years down the road that guy’s poor craftsmanship is showing. The wood is sagging, so my dad, a few neighbors, and I will be lifting the sagging bits and replacing what we can and slapping some more support pieces in there.

There really isn’t anything like the satisfaction of looking at something you’ve built or fixed on your own or with friends. You sit there and think “Dag I’m awesome. I did that.” Others may not know you did, but you do and that’s what matters (that and it can save you money).

If you’re interested in fixing your own things, building your own things, or just doing things yourself, I encourage you to! Get out there and research things on your own (some good sources are mentioned earlier in the article).

Anyways, I got some speakers to go fix parts to reorder; I’ll catch you guys later.

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