PDA

View Full Version : One trade skillset you'd like to learn



Rich Riddle
10-21-2012, 5:33 PM
Which trade skill would you most like to learn? Mine was welding. It's the one skill my grandfather and dad never knew to teach.

Ted Calver
10-21-2012, 6:40 PM
Welding here too. I'll get around to it one of these days.

Brian Elfert
10-21-2012, 7:10 PM
Diesel mechanics so I could take care of my bus conversion without paying so much to shops.

Raymond Fries
10-21-2012, 9:05 PM
Making leaded glass windows.

Erik Loza
10-21-2012, 9:08 PM
Ditto on the "welding"-thing. I can fix about any machine or automobile as long as it doesn't involve that aspect of repair. On the Bucket List for sure. Always jealous of those guys who can lay down a perfect TIG bead on aluminum.

Erik Loza
Minimax USA

Kevin Bourque
10-21-2012, 9:59 PM
Put me down for welding, too.
I always have things here on the farm that need welding or I see projects I would love to make , but that require a lot of welding.

Dave Lehnert
10-21-2012, 10:05 PM
Welding here too. Have a vocational school close that teaches it at night. One day i am going to sign up and go.
I would like to learn leather working. More than just craft type stuff.

Mike Henderson
10-21-2012, 10:42 PM
Metal lathe work.

Mike

Bonnie Campbell
10-21-2012, 11:04 PM
I was learning to weld this summer. Was fun, but I can't figure out the business of not being able to clearly watch what I'm doing lol Maybe I'll get some more practice in next month.

Rich Riddle
10-22-2012, 12:06 AM
Seems like welding is the trade for many folks. I need to learn TIG welding, but that might be more art than skill, so .... It sure feels nice not having to fork over $150 for half an hour worth of work to some guy with two teeth who does sloppy work. Basic welding proved easy enough for most of the folks in the class and is well worth the time when you consider you can own most of the supplies for a few hours worth of work from a paid welder.

Joe Kieve
10-22-2012, 7:41 AM
I'd love to have some HVAC skills. Those guys aren't cheap when you have to call them. (Plumbers aren't either)

joe

David Weaver
10-22-2012, 8:16 AM
I'd love to have some HVAC skills. Those guys aren't cheap when you have to call them. (Plumbers aren't either)

joe

that would be mine, too, plumbing/hvac and the electrical skills that would go along with it to make any of the stuff work.

Rich Riddle
10-22-2012, 9:34 AM
that would be mine, too, plumbing/hvac and the electrical skills that would go along with it to make any of the stuff work.

Plumbing proves relatively easy to teach yourself as far as residential goes. Read where to install flu pipes and the appropriate angles for waste pipes, etc. If you cannot solder then the plastic PVC proves acceptable. Drain cleaning is another matter but doesn't need a licensed plumber. I prefer not to mess around in the muck that can cause many diseases.

The HVAC industry has intentionally made HVAC more complicated though no more complex. I used to be able to work on the control units for the water heaters and furnace. Now they are sealed units, so if something won't light, I simply order a new one. That's what the HVAC man will do anyway at a premium. With the likes of the EPA none of us will ever be able to service our own air conditioners without a license to get the freon.

David Warkentin
10-22-2012, 9:49 AM
Welding steel isn't too hard. But I would like to learn to weld aluminum...

David Weaver
10-22-2012, 9:51 AM
I would imagine that the combination of cost of plumbing labor, modularity of components provided from overseas and the desire to limit liability probably has something to do with what is referred to in the automotive industry as a wave of "parts changers" rather than repair, etc. These days, it seems to be more about knowing where to get parts to change them out than it is about learning to fix specific items. When i was young, there were a lot of shadetree mechanics around. They replaced parts in every appliance, and they did every bit of work they could on their own cars and trucks with the exception of diesel injector pumps.

I don't know if I know anyone like that any longer, we all like to have clean fingernails and just throw away stuff that causes problems.

I dated a girl once when I was in college (for a while, not just a few dates) who said she would never marry someone who changed their own oil or worked on their own car. I change my own oil, and I "parts change" whenever I can reasonably diagnose and get to the parts that need to be changed. She felt that a male companion who worked on their own stuff was the sign of someone who hadn't made it far enough in life to be able to pay someone else to do it. It was easier to find a S.O. (now wife) who "tolerates" that I work on my own stuff.

Mike Wilkins
10-22-2012, 10:06 AM
I would like to be able to perform electrical work. I can do simple things like wiring a switch or outlet, but do not feel comfortable with complicated things. Just this past week I kept having a problem with tripping a breaker. All the wiring appeared fine; I had not done any electrical work at all. It was only after unplugging all the items in that circuit that I discovered a bad power strip. Frustrating.

Ben Hatcher
10-22-2012, 10:49 AM
I'd like to learn more about electronics so that I could replicate some of the sweet, automatic blast gate contraptions I've seen on here.

TODD RAYMER
10-22-2012, 11:26 AM
I would like to learn blacksmithing and welding.

John Pratt
10-22-2012, 11:45 AM
Computers; how they can be used in design, planning and even CNC.

I made a point of learning the other different trades enough to get most common tasks accomplished related to HVAC, plumbing, electrical and simple engine repair. I have a pretty good knowledge of most things wood working (however, not on the same skill level as some on this site) and I can use a welder, acetylene torch, and plasma torch profeciently. But, with the move to computers in everyday use in the trades, I feel somewhat left behind in that area.

Dennis Peacock
10-22-2012, 11:58 AM
welding aluminum, machine shop, CNC in the machine shop, HVAC, and automotive body work/painting.

Other than that...... :)

Frank Drew
10-22-2012, 12:22 PM
Not a building trade, but if I hadn't become a furniture maker I would have liked to have been a silversmith. I love silver.

Building trade? Maybe a stairmaker. But plumber if I wanted to get rich quick and retire early!

Rich Riddle
10-22-2012, 1:20 PM
That was a good distinction, the parts changer comment. I am good at that but not a mechanic. My guess is that many of the tradesman today are parts changers. That might be why so many of us ourselves become parts changers; why pay a "tradesman" who in reality only changes parts when we can do it for a small percentage of the price? Paying a real tradesman is another story.

Blacksmithing is quite interesting. I am not sure if one could do that living in the city though. Doesn't it call for quite a large area for a fire pit? It's always interesting to watch those guys work though.

Peter Kelly
10-22-2012, 2:51 PM
I'd like to learn both Korean and Spanish. I'm terrible at languages though.

Jason Roehl
10-22-2012, 5:45 PM
Welding and HVAC are definitely high on my list. Electrical and plumbing are pretty easy when it's all said and done--so much reference available.

I'm comfortable welding simple steel in non-critical applications--like a minor repair on a mower deck, for instance. I also built a ladder rack about 15 years ago for a pickup (sold it and the second truck in which it resided just over a week ago). I could stand on the part of the rack overhanging the cab, but not all the welds were pretty.

I do have a bit of a burr under my saddle about HVAC, though. It's hard to get parts without a license to even work on your own stuff. But for me, the greater evil is how expensive a furnace is for how simple a device it is. I can buy a computer with millions of times the computing power of the control board in a furnace for the cost of that one control board. Yet furnaces are so far from being "smart" in any sense of the word.

Kevin W Johnson
10-22-2012, 11:56 PM
For me it would be machine shop/CNC work. I've used a metal lathe some, for small, but easy projects. I'd like to expand that alot... being able to make just about anything.....

For those who want to weld, MIG is the easiest by far. With a good MIG rig, you can be making nice welds in no time. Stick welding takes much more practice, an although I've done some stick welding, I'm far from great at it. Have done some TIG, but not great amounts.

Chris S Anderson
10-23-2012, 1:27 AM
Electricity. It scares me, and I know I should have died a few times when tinkering outside with the meter when it was shorting out. I was just lucky I didnt prod too far.

Paul Murphy
10-23-2012, 1:27 AM
A stick welding class at the local voc-tech school and a $300 stick welder will set you up for repairs to steel from ~1/16-1/2". Not too much invested in equipment, and doesn't take up too much space. This is easy to justify for many people.

An oxy/acetelene rig is handy, but that's an additional skillset, and investment. A cutting torch is very handy for carving up sheets of steel. Having tanks on your property is is not to be taken lightly, and they usually are rented. More justification is involved here.

Mig is easier to learn than stick, but the equipment is more expensive. Flux core wire is handy on steel, and no external shielding gas is required with flux core.
Mig is great for aluminum, but requires shielding gas. Steel welding with mig and shielding gas produces less "spatter", and easier in downhill welding.
Mig aluminum is enough different than mig steel that most people doing both have a "dual gun" welder set up for each.
Mig is good for sheet thinner than what stick can handle, and thick section up to the current limit of the machine purchased. Mig is a fairly quick process.

Tig is great for thin sheet, and is a slower process as thickness increases. The equipment is somewhat costly, and requires a supply of shielding gas. Tig is a lot like oxy-acetelene in operator technique, but uses the arc instead of flame. Cost justification probably required for tig equipment.

Plasma cutting equipment is handy, and will cut stainless (oxy-acetelene will not cut stainless). The thicker material you cut, the more the machine costs to purchase. Plasma cutters can use compressed air, but the compressor goes up in size relative to thickness of material cut.

Rich Engelhardt
10-23-2012, 6:47 AM
If I had my career path to live over again, I would have become a plumber.
I hate plumbing so much that I figure if I have to do it - I might as well get paid for it...

Jim Matthews
10-23-2012, 5:03 PM
Old school machining (http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=5Y7&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1655&bih=915&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=-rKC2McdUhzsaM:&imgrefurl=http://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/gould3.htm&docid=Vvt-Qx88CQ0_iM&imgurl=http://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/images/GouldShop-01.jpg&w=800&h=600&ei=sgWHUL6nFcbJ0QGn9IC4CQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=412&vpy=153&dur=60&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=120&ty=102&sig=108698357313870927854&page=1&tbnh=141&tbnw=184&start=0&ndsp=47&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:77) (no CNC).

I like the idea of running something that (provided the raw materials) is sufficiently flexible to make a copy of itself.

Lex Boegen
10-24-2012, 7:17 AM
The timing of this thread is interesting. I've been looking into taking night/weekend courses in welding. Several decades ago, I bought an oxyacetylene torch set from Sears (back when they still made quality tools) and taught myself how to weld. Well, I taught myself how to make the ugliest beads in the free world anyway. I got rid of that rig years ago (the gas bottles aren't something I really want to have around my house), so this time around I want to learn the various forms of electrical welding.

Don Orr
10-24-2012, 12:15 PM
Machining metals. (And other materials as appropriate.)

Larry Whitlow
10-24-2012, 2:20 PM
Funny, my sons and I were just discussing this. I told them that the one thing I wish I could do better and faster was taping/texturing because it is something that seems to come up fairly routinely.

Rich Riddle
10-24-2012, 3:44 PM
Funny, my sons and I were just discussing this. I told them that the one thing I wish I could do better and faster was taping/texturing because it is something that seems to come up fairly routinely.
If you are referring to taping and mudding, that's one skill I am convinced is more art than skill. I doubt I have the patience or ability to learn it well. I look like Casper the ghost after taping, mudding, and sanding and use about twenty times the amount of mud most people use.

Mike Cutler
10-25-2012, 1:03 AM
Metal work, i.e. Machinist.
It still fascinates the heck out of me watching a trained Machinist, and I've been working with them for close to thirty years.
I can do some basic things, and speak a few words of machinist, but I'm convinced the best of them have a very artistic side. I've seen some impressive work through the years.

Welding would be cool too.

Jerome Stanek
10-25-2012, 7:50 AM
I wish I had learned how to fly when I was in high school my bil was taken lessons and I would go up with him

Larry Whitlow
10-25-2012, 10:13 AM
If you are referring to taping and mudding, that's one skill I am convinced is more art than skill. I doubt I have the patience or ability to learn it well. I look like Casper the ghost after taping, mudding, and sanding and use about twenty times the amount of mud most people use.

And, it takes a lot of patience. I managed to get to the point where the end result is pretty good. It just takes me 4 times longer than it should. One thing I did learn, at least in my experience, is to avoid the buckets of premixed stuff. Seems the sacks of dry stuff I mix is much easier to use.

Jim Marshall
10-25-2012, 11:52 AM
If I had it all to do over, I would really liked to have learned to make tangent hand rail parts the right way, instead of the way I did. I also would have really liked to have learned to master the old tools like hand planes and such. Another trade that I would like to learn is blacksmithing so I could make some of my own tools.

Jason Roehl
10-25-2012, 4:55 PM
And, it takes a lot of patience. I managed to get to the point where the end result is pretty good. It just takes me 4 times longer than it should. One thing I did learn, at least in my experience, is to avoid the buckets of premixed stuff. Seems the sacks of dry stuff I mix is much easier to use.

Just an FYI. The "pre-mixed" mud is only called that because it's wet and not powder. To make it "ready-to-use" usually means adding some water, some Dawn dish soap (some pros will add ~1 tsp/5 gal or so) and stirring it up. Even if you don't add anything, power stirring it will make it much easier to use. The other thing I've noticed is that pros rarely use the mud from the Borgs that comes in the plastic buckets. One very good drywall finisher I know is convinced that the pre-mixed mud today has less water in it than just a few years ago.

Brian Elfert
10-25-2012, 7:17 PM
Just an FYI. The "pre-mixed" mud is only called that because it's wet and not powder. To make it "ready-to-use" usually means adding some water, some Dawn dish soap (some pros will add ~1 tsp/5 gal or so) and stirring it up. Even if you don't add anything, power stirring it will make it much easier to use. The other thing I've noticed is that pros rarely use the mud from the Borgs that comes in the plastic buckets. One very good drywall finisher I know is convinced that the pre-mixed mud today has less water in it than just a few years ago.

None of the pros I have seen in action has ever used premixed mud. They all mix their own from powder. I usually add a little water to the premix, but have never heard of adding soap.

I wish I knew how to do drywall taping like a pro. It usually takes me forever and I get the stuff too thick so I end sanding forever.

Jason Roehl
10-25-2012, 7:31 PM
None of the pros I have seen in action has ever used premixed mud. They all mix their own from powder. I usually add a little water to the premix, but have never heard of adding soap.

I wish I knew how to do drywall taping like a pro. It usually takes me forever and I get the stuff too thick so I end sanding forever.

Wow. The ONLY time I see the pros use powder (some call it "hot mud") is if it's a rush job or a small patch or something like that. New house? Not a chance around here. The powder is way more expensive than the pre-mixed. For taping, a banjo is a huge step up over doing it manually for not much money. Even faster is a bazooka, but those are a LOT more money, and a LOT trickier to use and maintain.

Brian Elfert
10-25-2012, 11:20 PM
Wow. The ONLY time I see the pros use powder (some call it "hot mud") is if it's a rush job or a small patch or something like that. New house? Not a chance around here. The powder is way more expensive than the pre-mixed. For taping, a banjo is a huge step up over doing it manually for not much money. Even faster is a bazooka, but those are a LOT more money, and a LOT trickier to use and maintain.

I'm pretty sure the pros used powder in my house when it was built 11 years ago, but I could be wrong. My house was built by a small builder who only built a few houses a year and uses really good subs. I paid $10,000 to $15,000 more than another bid, but I think I got a superior house.

Shawn Pixley
10-26-2012, 12:36 AM
I'd liked to have learned better rigger techniques. I'd really like to build a full sixed trebuchet. Until the advent of Napoleanic cannon, they were the dominant artillary or siege engine. Unfortunately, the forces involved make full sized versions very dangerous.

I've helped others rig gin poles for hoisting items up where cranes were impractical. Erecting big circus tents also appeals to me. There are arts to fabric, rope and other tension structures I find intriguing.

Rich Engelhardt
10-26-2012, 7:05 AM
If you are referring to taping and mudding, that's one skill I am convinced is more art than skill. I doubt I have the patience or ability to learn it well. I look like Casper the ghost after taping, mudding, and sanding and use about twenty times the amount of mud most people use.Next time you have to - - try some of the lightweight stuff that lowes sells in the plastic pails.
I just used some & it feathers in like nothing else I've ever used before. They claim it doesn't need to be sanded either. Just a wipe down with a damp sponge instead of sanding.
I sanded anyhow & like I mentioned, I was able to feather the edges perfectly w/very little effort & it seemed like a lot less sanding.

Best of all - humping around a full bucket is a whole lot easier on the old back. Espcially if it has to go up a flight or two of stairs.


One very good drywall finisher I know is convinced that the pre-mixed mud today has less water in it than just a few years ago.I've noticed similar. I've also noticed a lot of here today, gone tomorrow types of pre-mix.
I'd used a pre-mix a couple/three years ago that was some sort of easy sand stuff. It worked so/so, but, it did sand with a whole lot less dust.
It seems to have disappeared from the shelves.
Anyhow - I have to wonder if the newer paperless drywall has anything to do with the pre-mix seeming to have less water?

Rick Markham
10-26-2012, 7:35 AM
My vote goes with Jim's! Old school machining (no CNC) Welding is a skill that I would also like to learn, but there has been a little machining monster in me for a very long time... I need to learn to get the ideas out so they can evolve into bigger more complex ideas. Woodworking is my passion, but I'd kill for machine shop too :)

Peter Kelly
10-26-2012, 9:49 AM
I'd like to learn how to plaster walls like this guy:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Z9Xv_b1JE

Larry Whitlow
10-26-2012, 4:51 PM
I'd liked to have learned better rigger techniques. I'd really like to build a full sixed trebuchet. Until the advent of Napoleanic cannon, they were the dominant artillary or siege engine. Unfortunately, the forces involved make full sized versions very dangerous.

I've helped others rig gin poles for hoisting items up where cranes were impractical. Erecting big circus tents also appeals to me. There are arts to fabric, rope and other tension structures I find intriguing.

Trebuchet! -- gotta love it. I'm changing mine from taping and mudding sheetrock, to building a crossbow. Had plans when I was in 8th grade that used a car leaf spring for the bow part. At the time my Dad said not to even think about it.

Belinda Williamson
10-26-2012, 5:22 PM
Something probably simple to you guys . . . soldering. I am currently learning one of the skillsets I wanted to learn, nothing to do with work . . chain maille construction.

Shawn Pixley
10-27-2012, 10:56 AM
Something probably simple to you guys . . . soldering. I am currently learning one of the skillsets I wanted to learn, nothing to do with work . . chain maille construction.

Belinda, my wife teaches silversmithing. The maille construction is one of the more interesting aspects to me in that area. Many start with copper stripped from wire. If you are starting by making your own jump rings, you are ahead of the curve. I never really considered that there could be so many maille patterns out there. I have a SS maille ring (tiny, tiny rings). Have fun!

Belinda Williamson
10-29-2012, 7:14 AM
Belinda, my wife teaches silversmithing. The maille construction is one of the more interesting aspects to me in that area. Many start with copper stripped from wire. If you are starting by making your own jump rings, you are ahead of the curve. I never really considered that there could be so many maille patterns out there. I have a SS maille ring (tiny, tiny rings). Have fun!

Geez, we would be on opposite coasts so I can take classes! I do make my own jump rings. My first bracelet was Byzantine pattern. I'm not happy with the results because I used larger rings for ease of learning, so the pattern is not as tight as it should be. I'm enjoying it so far. Once I have a couple of patterns down I'm tackling Viking chain.

Jamie Lynch
10-29-2012, 1:03 PM
I'll have to side with 90% of you guys and say welding. I did play with mig welding and brazing while I was in Seminary, the monks had a pretty sweet shop setup and said I could mess with stuff as long as I didnít break anything or leave a mess. Thanks to then internet I was able to re-braze and weld bits on a bicycle frame. It's now been 7 years since I picked up a welder and my dad just said I could have his old Lincoln stick welder. I think it will come in handy for making lumber racks, work tables and stands. If I can justify it to the wife maybe I can hit up the local votec for actual training.

Doug Richardson
11-13-2012, 2:00 PM
Masonry. There's an adult education class at the local tech school for $450.....

Moses Yoder
11-13-2012, 3:17 PM
My goal is to learn cabinet making. I have been working on that goal full time for over 20 years now and have made some progress but have not arrived yet. When I have learned all there is to know about cabinet making I plan on learning wood turning.

Dave Beauchesne
11-20-2012, 2:31 PM
I do have a bit of a burr under my saddle about HVAC, though. It's hard to get parts without a license to even work on your own stuff. But for me, the greater evil is how expensive a furnace is for how simple a device it is. I can buy a computer with millions of times the computing power of the control board in a furnace for the cost of that one control board. Yet furnaces are so far from being "smart" in any sense of the word.[/QUOTE]

Jason:

Interesting post from everyone - as a HVAC guy ( in Canada ) for the past 33 years, and a licensed Gas Fitter, yes, the industry has tried to be somewhat 'closed' in the way of parts sales - the internet, You-Tube and e-bay has changed that to some degree, but, you have to remember a couple things - 1) Being an electrical based Trade, think of automotive electrical parts - usually ' NO RETURNS ON ELECTRICAL PARTS ' - same goes for HVAC electrical stuff I buy - they won't allow returns - BUT, I am dealing with higher voltage components - up to 575 volt. It is a way of keeping DIYers from hurting themselves to some degree, but, if I were an outsider looking in, I would think the same as you. Also, equate it to new vehicles - they have the specific training and tools, and make no bones about charging $100.00 ++ an hour to work on your vehicle.
2) As for the furnace control boards - no, they won't do anywhere near what your computer can, but much of the cost is R&D as well as insurance. Any new gas fired appliance has to meet stringent criteria as far as AGA ( American Gas Association ) and many other regulatory bodies, and the circuit boards and major components in thqat appliance have to be tested and made to ' fail safe ' - that is, if they fail, they won't cause a fire. Wading thru the regulatory body testing and approval is a huge expense to any manufacturer, as well as a liability fund that most have in place if there is a failure and subsequent lawsuit.

One could go on and on about this issue, but one story I have really brings it home ( to some degree ) - I was working at a helicopter hanger on an oil furnace that was hanging above a small, flat topped office in a warehouse. To get to the furnace, I would have had to stand on some large rotor blades from a Bell Jet-Ranger that were stored on top of said office. I asked what to do, and the heli mechanic said ' no - those blades have 1.2 hours left on them '.

I asked a few more questions, and found out they catalogue flight time down to basically the minute - these blades were reserve and could be used for a recovery situation - say a helicopter was an hour away from base, suffered rotor damage, these blades could get them back if necessary. He then told me long since forgotten specifics of the cost of a set of blades and how many percent of parts cost was R&D and insurance on those parts - the numbers were staggering.

Then, I was changing a ignition transformer on said furnace, and needed a 8-32 x 1/4'' machine screw to finish the job, which I could not locate in my truck - I asked the mechanic if he had one - he pulled a dusty parts bin box off a shelf, and there was one in the box all by itself. I used it and finished the job. When I cleaned up and took the invoice to him to sign, he said, ' hey, guess how much that machine screw was? - I ordered another to replace it ' - of course I didn't know but said 5 bucks - his reply ' $35.00 ' and showed me the P/O he had just written up - - - ' insurance ' he said.

Point is, many things we purchase has costs the consumers don't realize, and thank goodness we have appliances that have regulatory bodies that test them to look after the consumer to some degree, but there is a cost to that. When is the last time you have heard of a furnace, that had been serviced properly, burnt down a house? Pretty few and far between.

One last thing about the HVAC Trade - it is multi - disciplined - Electrical, Instrumentation, Pipe Fitting, Millwrighting and Refrigeration are all encompassed under the HVAC umbrella, which, comes in very handy as a DIYer.

Just my 2 cents -

Dave B

David Rust
11-20-2012, 8:13 PM
I'm not sure if there is a big market for this, but I would love to learn the art of stone wall building. In New England there are stone walls everywhere from the farm days. A well built stone wall will last hundreds of years and looks so nice defining property lines or for decorative work around the house. The old stone walls have stood the test of time, they are a reminder of the hard back breaking work that was required to clear fields back in the day. Just you, a team of horses, harnesses, stone sleds, and good Yankee know how. I'm afraid the art of building stone walls has disappeared, however the fruits of their sweat live on.

Chris Padilla
11-20-2012, 8:34 PM
Welding...

jason thigpen
11-20-2012, 9:27 PM
After watching some of the latest woodwrights shop episodes, I would love to learn blacksmithing. I'm a pretty competent welder, learned a lot when I attended wyotech. Heck, I can even tig weld two aluminum cans together! But blacksmithing, that just seems like the ultimate in metal working!