The Cellar

The Cellar (
-   Home Base (
-   -   Are you handy? (

BigV 07-19-2007 06:42 PM

Are you handy?
Do you like fixing things? Do you have a list of Honey-Dos? Does the prospect of a new project bring a smile to your face? Is it because you'll have the chance to get a new tool for the job? Do you have more time than money?

Would you rather hire out your projects? Are you a menace and a danger to yourself and others when it comes to tools? Do you usually hit the wrong nail?

I'm handy. I know others here that are too, footfootfoot, busterb, and zippyt come to mind, and I am certain there are others. I recently came across this continuum:

The Five Categories Of Handymanliness

Category 1: Basic Edition. Knows when to leave things alone, call somebody else. Can handle himself with screwdrivers, pliers, even a hammer.

Category 2: Going Places. Learning and yearning for more fix-and-repair projects. Looks at each repair as a challenge. May even dream of major things, like building a deck or garage. Probably the most dangerous type of handyman, as he believes everything is easy and within his grasp. Handle with caution to avoid bruised egos and missing digits. Best to work up from basement remodelings and garden sheds. Hey, nobody can start at the top.

Category 3: Building Up Skills. Has a good enough understanding of home improvements to be able to figure out new problems without dashing to the refrigerator, grabbing a beer and hiding behind the TV set. Has developed a reputation with friends and relatives as a good handyman. Knows when to seek advice on something complicated. Has remodeled a few rooms, basements, porches, but not quite ready for prime time.

Category 4: Bitten By The Bug. A compulsive handyman, he loves to tinker and repair things and sometimes fixes them better than new. Able to handle almost any project, but takes a lot of time to make sure everything is just right. Would never consider buying a new house because he would rather have the adventure of building his own or remodeling a fixer-upper. People routinely ask him for advice on home improvement matters. Has done some major projects, like building a garage, addition, or seriously participated in building a house. Has seen numerous ways to do things and is able to customize those experiences for each unusual situation. May have some work experience in construction or maintenance, or have considered those trades as possible employment.

Category 5: Para-Professional. Experienced enough that he can make money, possibly even make a living doing handyman or construction work. Knows not only how things are built, but knows how to build things quickly. Has a serious set of tools, many of which are time-saver tools (e.g. air nailers) and precision tools. Has seriously considered becoming a builder or contractor. Able to instruct others in home improvement topics.
On this scale, I am a solid 4.5, practically chewed to death by the bug. I *do* feel I can do a better job than average. Eventually. This has come up before in the Shade Tree Mechanic thread, and I treat the house the same way, basically.

My latest project is a new roof. I **HATE** working on ladders and on the roof. It's a long way down, and the sudden stop at the end and all that. I just hate it. But I'm a cheap bastard, and I do like working on stuff, and, well, the (remaining tatters of the) tarp on the roof just had to come down. The tarp served its purpose for the emergency coverage during the winter after our terrible windstorms, and although the roof wasn't leaking during our lovely July weather, it was time to make my move.

Being cheap, I opted for a re-roof instead of a tear off. The tear off, which it will need next time, would have meant a lot of additional expense in hauling the old roofs away, plus, since the original shake shingles were attached (in 1938) to what's called skip sheathing, I would also have to replace the decking with plywood or OSB. I was not ready for that level of involvement. In the course of researching this smaller scope project, I did find some nice answers and ideas about re-decking the roof one 4-foot wide swath across the rake at a time. That's much much more imaginable than stripping the whole thing off down to the bare rafters across the whole house and then decking it out. But I digress.

As I said, being cheap, I opted for roll roofing. I know this will be a short term temporary roof, say, five years or so. Plus, once you get going, you can really cover some territory with that stuff. So I went and bought enough for the south face of the roof, seven rolls. Plus two rolls of 15 pound roofing paper, five one pound boxes of two inch galvanized roofing nails (no five pound boxes in the two inch length), a big box of button nails for the roofing paper, a gallon of roofing asphalt cement and four one inch cheapo brushes--$250. I also hired my nephew for five hours, another $50.

On Sunday, we got all the materials home, then up on the roof. We tore off all the old tarp and battens, swept it very clean, rolled out the paper. We tacked the paper down with the button nails. That took all day. In the hot clear weather, the roof was so hot it was impossible to sit on or touch for more than a minute. By the end of the day, all the paper was installed and we returned to Earth with no injuries.

Monday, after work, I read about the next step. I had to cut nine inch strips from the roll, some fifty of them. Then the next three days after work I spent on the roof, nailing the strips to the edges of the roof. This represents a LOT of nailing. The instructions said to nail these strips to the roof with two rows of nails one inch in from the edges, four inches apart. I don't have a nailgun, this was all old skool hammertime, with the occasional holiday to the the nail on my left thumb. Ouch.

So last night, I finished the last strip and the whole perimeter is now "shingled" so to speak. This surface, very securely nailed to the roof, will be liberally coated with roofing cement, and the downstream edge of the strip of shingle. The upper edge is nailed to the roof, and it becomes the lower edge to be cemented to by the next higher course. The first strip of actual roofing material will be applied tonight. If I can get out of here, that is. More updates, and possibly a picture or two next time.

yesman065 07-19-2007 07:10 PM

Very cool - I would put myself at a 3-ish. I am definitely into doing new things and love to see what others have done. Looking at their work inspires me.

xoxoxoBruce 07-19-2007 07:30 PM

All that work for 5 years?

Couldn't you design a roofing merit badge?

Uisge Beatha 07-19-2007 07:33 PM

5 years at only $60/year. Not bad at all. Good job, BigV.

xoxoxoBruce 07-19-2007 07:51 PM

$60 and a hell of a lot of work he'll have to undo, then do over, when he's 5 years older. Doesn't sound efficient to me.

Uisge Beatha 07-19-2007 08:00 PM

Obviously a lot of satisfaction goes along with the work for someone like BigV, though. Efficient? Maybe it is for him, what with the enjoyment factored into it. I couldn't say for sure, since I'd only be about a 1.2 on the scale.

jinx 07-19-2007 08:03 PM

Good job V. We have a roofer in the family, but since he's fallen off twice he doesn't often go up on roofs anymore... (broken pelvis smarts)
We need a new one ourselves. No re-roof here unfortunately, as jim has his heart set on copper (or at least metal) and we need new rafters on half the house. Not looking forward to that bill....

Weird Harold 07-19-2007 08:09 PM

I'd rather work overtime to pay someone to do it. Then if the wife isn't happy with the finished product, it isn't my fault.

busterb 07-19-2007 08:09 PM

Hey V 5 years is great. Me, I might not be around then. What me worry?

xoxoxoBruce 07-19-2007 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by Uisge Beatha (Post 365864)
Obviously a lot of satisfaction goes along with the work for someone like BigV, though. Efficient? Maybe it is for him, what with the enjoyment factored into it. I couldn't say for sure, since I'd only be about a 1.2 on the scale.

I got a great deal of satisfaction ripping off the old roof and putting down a new one. But anyone who's done a roof, no matter how much satisfaction, doesn't look forward to doing it again... unless they're a sadist.

Roofing is not fun. Why do you think roofers will lie, cheat and kill, to get a job in the Union Hall?

SteveDallas 07-19-2007 09:37 PM

We just recently laid out $$$$ for the roof. (Not only the roof, but we had to get a couple overgrown trees pruned back before we could do that, and then we discovered that the roof of the back porch had separated from the house.....)

Anyway, I'm very good at assembling pieces.

If I have to change the pieces... like, say, drill a hole in the wall... cut a piece of wood down to size... etc. ... it's usually trouble. Big trouble.

We tore up the carpet in our living room and dining room last year. It was really crappy, and we had essentially been waiting for the kids to grow past the stage of messing it up. (We now know this will never pass.) We suspected there were very nice hardwood floors under, and there were. But now I need to put in some molding down at the baseboard. Should be interesting....

xoxoxoBruce 07-19-2007 09:59 PM

Go for a nautical theme and put rope along the baseboard.

SteveDallas 07-19-2007 10:38 PM

Or I could go with a junkyard theme and put rotted garbage along the baseboard. Believe me, Mrs. Dallas would find either option equally palatable! :D

busterb 07-19-2007 11:08 PM

My roof and I just might go to court. Before time runs out, for storm repairs. Boy it sucks.

xoxoxoBruce 07-19-2007 11:16 PM


Originally Posted by SteveDallas (Post 365905)
Believe me, Mrs. Dallas would find either option equally palatable! :D

Tell her Homeland security regulations require sand bags. By the way, if you're going to paint that molding, screwups and gaps can be filled with paintable butyl caulk.

@ Buster...That sucks, good luck.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:59 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.