Friday, September 14, 2007

My Do-It-Yourself Rating

Popular Mechanics created a list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know”. This was in response to some recent blogger discussion on the decline of hands-on skills. My brother and I have discussed several times how our father has some serious hands-on skills. He can build furniture for both of us, perform many different kinds of car repair, is handy around the house, garden (with Mom), and hunt/butcher his own deer, boar & turkey.

Both my brother and I have never been as inclined to perform hands-on work as Dad. We’ve no problem doing research in order to find the best person to do the work or to learn a skill if there’s a need. But we also rarely seek out new skills that aren’t immediately necessary to us.

Some of my motivation for my personal enrichment goals is to improve my own hands-on skills. And one of the things I like most about my job is that it forces me to take apart stuff (disassembling malfunctioning assemblies, performing function checks on components, setting up test fixtures, etc). It’s definitely improved both my intuition and confidence for do-it-yourself work.

Looking at PM’s list, I’m not as bad off in terms of handiness as I thought. But several of the skills are ones I’ve learned in the last year or so. The List & my status below the cut.

1. Patch a radiator hose - NO
2. Protect your computer - YES
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized - NO
4. Frame a wall - NO
5. Retouch digital photos - YES
6. Back up a trailer - NO
7. Build a campfire - YES
8. Fix a dead outlet - NO
9. Navigate with a map and compass - YES
10. Use a torque wrench - NO
11. Sharpen a knife - NO
12. Perform CPR - YES
13. Fillet a fish - NO
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid - YES
15. Get a car unstuck - NO
16. Back up data - YES
17. Paint a room - YES
18. Mix concrete - NO
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle - NO
20. Change oil and filter - NO
21. Hook up an HDTV - NO
22. Bleed brakes - NO
23. Paddle a canoe - YES
24. Fix a bike flat - NO
25. Extend your wireless network - NO

Overall score: 9/25 (36 %)
Still a ways to go before I acquire handy-person street cred.

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