DIY - home improvement
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neil

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Are any of you guys or gals handy? I used to be one of the most unhandy son-of-a-guns.. I mean, things always seemed so difficult, from electrical, plumbing, structural stuff. But the more I watched contracters do the work... the more I watched/helped my dad do the work, the more I realized that the stuff isn't rocket science, and its quite enjoyable and gratifying to do it yourself.

My latest project is my kitchen. We've ripped out the floor, cabinets, sink, the whole nine. When the cabinets came, my pop and I installed them. But he took off, so I had to do the plumbing stuff on my own when the countertops came in. That was a first, but easy, because it was all compression fittings and PVC drains. Scary still -- especially when I hooked up the dish washer (my first dishwasher ever, believe it or not). But holy crap, I love the thing. I'm doing loads of dishes just for the hell of it now.

And today I hooked up the supply line to my new fridge (for water filter / ice maker). I didn't go with the standard kit which includes a saddle-valve -- I went the real way with a Tee-connector, cutting into my brand new copper pipes (had house re-piped recently), and a real valve! A little flood in a room in the basement, but no big deal.


I guess this post is just to toot my own horn. When you have to do something on your own, feels damn good to get it done and learn something along the way. Oh yeah, and accumlating tools is cool too. DeWalt Miter saw, Rotozip, and some Craftsman open-end wrenches are my latest acquisitions. Oh yeah, bought a copper pipe cutter today too. Heheh.

Maybe I'll start dabbling into building my own portable amps!
 
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john_jcb

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The Roto-Zip is agreat tool, wonder how I got by without it. Remember your earplugs and glasses.
 
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dougli

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I have to agree, it's a good feeling to know you did this stuff yourself. Even if you mess something up, you can always get it right again. That's another good part of doing it yourself: you know it get's done right. And if it doesn't, you have no one but yourself to blame. Although it's not always true, ususally you can save so much money that you can do more things, or use better quality components.
 
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Tuberoller

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well,of course I do all my own electrical work.I also did most of the finish work on my basement listening room.I now work really hard on two jobs so that I can hire people to do everything for me, including mow my grass.I formerly felt lazy and guilty about this but those guys work faster(and do a better job) and now I have more money than time.
 
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dougli

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Yeah, that's a helpful way to look at the world, at least in the more developed countries: do I have more time than money, or more money than time? Myself, I'm running kind of low on both...
 
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neil

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I think you have to weigh things out. For instance, $20 or $30 for a lawn service every other week is fine -- I mean, how bad can they screw up your lawn? But, I just paid a good plumbing company here in town (very reputable) over two grand to re-pipe my house -- and man alive, I could have done that job. I mean, it would have taken me a while (a few days) but hell, with practice, I can get really good. (Jude, don't get any ideas, I'm not looking for practice
)

I just gave my wife the tour of the work in the basement and finally, the water and ice from fridge. We just remembered that I was willing to have that same plumbing service come out here to do it right (not saddle valve it, but put on a real valve (1/2" copper to 1/4" compression) -- and shoot, that would have been at least a $100 or more, easy day. But instead, I spent about $15 on material and graduated to the next level of plumbing!

Quote:

The Roto-Zip is agreat tool, wonder how I got by without it. Remember your earplugs and glasses.


Yeah, the Roto-Zip kicks butt. You know what.. I picked up the latest model from Sears (Sears is still a great store everyone -- you should buy your major appliances there.. the sales people know what they're selling and more). It came with this bad-arse extra-tool that acts like a grind wheel or mega-cutting wheel -- it's fantastic. Also, a new feature of this Roto-Zip (compared to my Dad's older model) is that it has TWO speeds. But best of all, it has a little switch that allows you to send the exhaust to the left or to the right. (you know, the wind it generates is pretty damn serious)

Next in line is a table saw. Maybe I'll even build a new garage or something.
 
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

$20 or $30 for a lawn service every other week is fine


gah! Why pay a lawn service when you have your teenage children(ie: me
) mow the lawn?


Personally, my dad and I do a lot of the stuff around the house. Right now, were remodeling the basement. This is the first time a contractor has EVER stepped inside a house of ours. Even now, he only does the big stuff. We're putting in a toilet by hourselves. :_
 
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bubbaj

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Neil,
Congratulations on your new found skills. Most of that stuff is pretty easy. Watch the tv shows and buy a couple of books. The only thing I hate doing is plumbing. You sweat the joints and do all the work and you fill it with water and if it leaks, you have to start all over again. Arrrrgh!

How hard was it to do your kitchen cabinets? Did it take a long time? My wife wants new cabinets, counters, sinks. The local home depot charges $100 a foot to install cabinets. They're expensive enough as it is.

bj
 
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I am, and likely always will be, a hire-someone-for-everything kind of guy. I don't own a lawnmower. I down own much in the way of tools. And I can't see myself actually developing the inclination to want either. Admittedly, sometimes I think it would be handy at times to be more handy, especially as I contemplate and discuss with contractors a possible major home improvement/construction project.
 
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Tuberoller

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I'll admit that I always work on my own cars and bikes except for stuff like body work and warranty work.I built my own motors for my race car and for my Buell motorcycle.I installed the Cd changers in all my cars and I just installed an exhaust system on my Yukon this past week.I think DIY is great until you mess something up,then it gets embarrasing and expensive.
 
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neil

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Quote:

Originally posted by bubbaj
How hard was it to do your kitchen cabinets? Did it take a long time? My wife wants new cabinets, counters, sinks. The local home depot charges $100 a foot to install cabinets. They're expensive enough as it is.bj


Yep.. that's where I picked up our cabinets -- the Depot. The difficult parts of the installation were: 1) We've never done it before. 2) My kitchen walls are not square (house built in 1923).

I paid Home Depot to send one of their measuring guys out. They put it all into the computer, and then we met with a designer. We ordered our cabinets (a couple custom ones too -- very deep one above the fridge)

I didn't have any books or videos, just my dad. We had to take extremely careful measurements because of the finite spare space left due to the fact that everything was pre-measured. Well, our measurements were not accurate enough -- so there was a whole lot of setting and re-setting, and re-setting.. it sucked.

Also, just make sure that you have all of your electrical outlets situated too. (i.e. I just had to put one in the cabinet above my stove for my microwave that I also installed just yesterday) This meant, of course, cabinet removal, Roto-Zipping, etc.

It took us a couple days to get it all set up right. Once we figured to put short 2x4's underneath the cabinets as we set them (to help support the weight), the job got a whole lot easier.
 
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Magicthyse

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My girlfriend is a huge DIY fan. She loves to put up things by herself. She brings to mind the adage "Ignorance is bliss, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...."

Case in point, a cabinet - I told her to leave it alone because I'd get a friend to assemble it. I came back that evening to find a very proud GF standing beside the Leaning Tower of Magicthyse...
 
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Jeff Guidry

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I'm a 'simple things, cheap things' DIY'er. If it is easy to take apart, easy to put back together, cheap and/or won't destroy the item in question, I will usually attempt to do it myself. I installed the head unit and speakers for my car, but left the wiring of the amp to an installer. Too much current and voltage for me to feel safe...I also installed all the vibration damping myself, spent hours waiting for that blue paint stuff to dry...

I replaced the coolant in my cooling system for my car, I have a set of jacks and I will replace my own oil and filter in a few days. If I can reach it on my car, it doesn't affect a seriously critical system and it doesn't require a special tool, I'll replace it myself. The timing belt I will leave to experienced professionals...
 
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