DIY Philosophy and pep talk

DIY Philosophy and pep talk

[prelim version]

You people need a pep talk here.  Many of you are going to laugh and will say that “you are not handy”.  Let me ask you this, is someone who doesnt know how to ride a bike uncoordinated?  Of course not, they just have never been taught to ride a bike!  There is no such thing as “handy” – there is only knowledge and skill and I will show you how to obtain both no matter what your project is.
There are 3 reason for DIY.  The first one is what people always seem to focus on but its the least important in my opinion:
1) save money
2) satisfaction, self esteem
3) getting top quality
Lets start with #1. Most people focus on the saving money aspect of DIY.  In fact, a lot of people consider DIY to be something that only cheepskates do but nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, it saves money and that is awesome but there are even more important benefits of DIY.
There is an incredible satisfaction that comes from learning how to do something and doing it well.  There is an incredible pride in knowing what is behind the paint and that it is done properly.  Mastering a new skill gives you self confidence that can transition over to other areas of your life just as working out and getting in shape can do.
There is too much deferrring to the “experts” these days.  Most of you simply assume without question that you could not do as good a job as a hired professional could and nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody cares as much about the quality of the work than you do so your work will be better than the experts and I will teach you how.
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Most people you hire are far more interested in getting home in time to watch the football game and drinking beer than in giving you quality work.   Although sub contractors need to be licensed, this is no guarantee of quality or training.  Although the person running the business is licensed and knowledgable, the people they hire can have zero experience and this is the normal case.  The licensed sub contractor will come out and give you a bid  but then they send their unskilled people out to do your work.  Not only dont these folks have the skills necessary but they simply dont care.
There are really good tradesman out there who are highly skilled and take pride in their work.  The problem is that you cant hire them because they get snapped up by high end general contractors who pay them well and appreciate their work.  These skilled sub contractors are loyal to their general contractors and can stay with them for years or decades which is why you cant hire them.  If you want top notch work, you need to hire one of these perfectionist general contractors and they usually cant be bothered with anything that is less than 1/2 your regions average house value.
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give you a couple very specific examples.
Painting my airplane.  Many people buidling airplanes pay to get top notch work and this can cost 10k for labor. I knew that I cared way more about the quality of my paint than anyone else would so I taught myself how to paint by reading all kinds of books, watching videos, and practicing on lots of plywood.  [show video] it took me three months but it turned out great.
Another example
I am experience at tile, here are some examples of my work.  Laser straight lines and precision width grout lines.  its not hard and its a requirement for quality tile work. I simply didnt have the time for this project and the $2700 labor for 12-20 hours labor to install 45 square feet of backspash was reasonable for top notch work. Yelp led us to a 5 star company with hundreds of positive reviews and they did such horrible work that we made them remove the tile and kicked them out.  I have seen better tile work truck stops and in houses without running water and electricity in Vietnam than this.  They had no idea how to tile and clearly did not care.  This is the quality of tile work you would expect when you give your bowling team beer and pizza to tile your kitchen, not top notch work you expect for $2700
THIS is why you do it yourself becuase nobody cares as much as you.
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DIY strategy
The internet and YouTube have actually made DIY harder, not easier for most people and here is why.  This is what you need to know in order to tile.  This book has about 110,000 words and you can read it in about 3-4 hours.  From experience I can tell you that a 1200 word video takes 12 min, 100 words a minute.  To get all the information in this book would take 18 hours of video. This is exactly why people get into so much trouble.  They watch a 10 min tiling video that makes it look easy but then paint themselves into a corner and make a huge mess.
  1. Read real books, not websites.  Go to your LIBRARY!  The things you are doing are not high tech and the best way is the old school way.  The best book are usually the old classics that have been revised every 5 years to incorporate any new materials.
  2. Watch videos.  After you have read the books, watch a few vids.  You will see that many of them are bozos who have not bothered to read the book but you will still get some technique pointers.
  3. Practice. Because of all the money you are saving, you can afford a little practice.   Build a miniature room from plywood and tile that.  Learn on something you are going to throw out rather than front and center in your house.  When you are satisified, start the real work.
  4. Zen
    • Take time
    • Get comfortable
    • be where you are – turn tv off, turn phone off, focus on what you are doing
    • If prob, stop, think. Dont force or hurry
    • No timetable. Done when done