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Technical This poll is for those of us amateurs with no formal training

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56don, Dec 24, 2020.

  1. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,754

    jimmy six

    If we were rating ourselves at work... in my mind I’m a 10+. In my craft, electrician/troubleshooter there wasn’t anything I couldn’t find or fix to get a power unit back on line.
    With that and growing up in my father precision machine shop I knew what “right” looked like whether I could achieve it or not as I knew my dad did.
    Now I’m just too anal when someone else works my stuff, home, car, etc. so I do everything I possibly can. I’m a -2.... with a 10+ brain......
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
    Baumi, wicarnut, jnaki and 3 others like this.
  2. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 660


    Well, not slow and not fast. Just halfasst!
    So I’ll rate my skill set in the middle. “5” The end result is far from perfect but it’s safe and usually gets me home. As far as personal satisfaction, “10” I enjoy working with my hands, building things and learning new skills. I’ll tackle most anything rather than hiring it done. Often takes a few do overs till I get it right. Not striving for perfection, just enjoying the ride.
    56don likes this.
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,817


    Armature hot rod or custom builder = does not do work on hot rods or customs for others for pay. That may or may not include the bodyman or mechanic who works in a dealer or independent shop but only does repairs and not modifications at work.

    I've got a buddy who is very well known in PNW and beyond custom car circles who as far as I know has never done any work on any one else's cars except punch louvers for money. He may have had a hand in one of his circle of friends cars but I have never known him to take on outside work. His building skills match anyone in the country.

    Personally I have the skills but sometimes lack the patience. The I gotta get it done so I can go to____ had been an on going issue in the past.

    If you look at and compare a lot of guys work on very similar projects it isn't all just skill a lot of the difference is hours spent on rather insignificant details that make a huge difference in the finished product. The guys who puts a week of spare time into smoothing and detailing a stock or dropped stock front axle to make it slick and smooth before painting it as apposed to the guy who just wire brushes it and paints it.

    Still a day that you don't learn one thing new is a totally wasted day and that comes to rod or custom building skills. What did you learn yesterday that you can use to improve your skills? Not just using some product but actually improve your hands on skills in how you do something?
    trollst and 56don like this.
  4. Moselli
    Joined: Feb 16, 2009
    Posts: 99


    I grew up in the 1950’s and ‘60’s in a small town on the outskirts of what was later to become a Walmart. I’m still growing up but that’s not what my story is about. My neighborhood was over populated with craftsmen, most of them multi-craft, who were post WWII Veterans. We had mechanics, electricians, carpenters, welders, millwrights, plumbers, masons, machinists and a nuclear physicist. Okay, I lied about the plumber. This was just the women from the neighborhood.

    My father, a former Pacific Islands Theatre Marine was a language arts specialist, with a major in profanity and a minor in child psychology. I’ll get to this later. The benefits of having people with these craft skill sets was an obvious asset for me to have these individuals to draw on and learn from. It was also a benefit to everyone when a neighbor had a home repair project come up. Everyone converged to help and beer was the accepted form of compensation. I was assigned as a casual observer and part time “Go-Fer” early on for these Saturday projects but as I grew older I was allowed to become more hands-on.

    At about Cub Scout age, 9 or 10, I started doing solo projects. I recall one of my first projects was to build a birdhouse. Using the tools that I had watched the craftsmen use, I found some wood, saw, hammer and nails and proceeded to make probably the worst bird house ever made. But I built it myself, so now I was a carpenter. When my father came home from work that evening, I proudly brought out my birdhouse to show him. Sitting in his chair in the living room, through a haze of cigarette smoke, the “Old Man,” as we affectionately called him, looked up from his newspaper, ran his steely blue eyes over my project and said, “What the hell is that? Did Mr.Gepetto try to make a new head for Pinocchio and throw it out and a garbage truck ran over it?” The old man had a warped sense of humor but sometimes he was actually funny.

    Well shitballs! (I was just learning the art of swearing) Walking back to the garage my next door neighbor, Harold, saw me and asked what I was doing? Harold was the sage old wise man, nice uncle type of the neighborhood who had probably done about every type of work in his lifetime. I took my piece of crap bird house that the Old Man had trashed over to show him. He looked it over and said, “That’s pretty damn good work. In fact it’s really cleaver. It has character.” He was effusive in his praise and pointed out all of the good things he could find. Wow, maybe I have a future in building bird houses, after all! Then he paused and let his words sink in for a minute. Then he said, “Even though you did a good job, actually a great job, here are some things that you can do to improve your work when you make another one.” He would then mention a tool or a technique and explain it in words that I understood as a ten year old and how it would improve my work.

    Using my newfound information, I made another birdhouse and it was better. Actually much better. I took it over to show Harold. Harold looked it over and paused. He said it was “pretty good.” Pretty good! Are you shitting me? It was exponentially better than the last one! Again, he pointed out good things and gave me suggestions on things to improve.

    Back to the workshop. Built another bird house. Close to an award winning bird house. Took it over to show Harold and he looked at it. “Well, that’s a fair piece of work.” I was flummoxed, which was rare back in that time. Before he could give me his tips for improvement, I said, “Harold, this is much better than any of the bird houses I’ve built so far and yet you said the first one I built was the best one I built? What the hell gives?”

    He smiled. “If I told you the first bird house was lousy work you probably would have given up and not built another one. As your work improved, if I told you it was excellent, you likely also would have stopped learning and given up on improving. Perfection is a destination that cannot be reached.”

    I took my latest “fair” creation in to show the Old Man. Through his perpetual haze of cigarette smoke he looked it over and said, “Nice bird house. Where the hell did you steal it from?” Can’t pick your family….
    Sixty years later, I’m almost at a “5” with my builds….
  5. 61SuperMonza
    Joined: Nov 16, 2020
    Posts: 489


    Before I started hanging around here I thought I was a solid 8 with my skill set. Now I see I'm more like a 5.
    I will say I'm a perfectionist so the work gets done and done right to the best of my ability and the tools and equipment I have on hand.
    In my opinion to be a 10 you would need to be a master in all aspects of building.
    The fun of this hobby for me is learning all the skills to one day be a 10 and in the process enjoy some sweet rides.
    56don likes this.
  6. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,303


    I have to do everything myself because I can’t get people that wanna work. My junk is ok, but you won’t be seeing me on tv anytime soon. Not that that really means a lot anymore.
    wicarnut and 56don like this.
  7. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,120


    Far better artist than artisan. For almost everything, of the many things I know how to do, I know someone who is better. So I have many resources. As far as rating myself, it all depends on who I am being compared to. I don't do enough of any one thing to consider myself upper echelon.
    56don likes this.
  8. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,336


    Since this is the first time for me doing something of this magnitude and given the extent of the body work that I've been doing and the fact that everything has been coming together with relative ease either means I'm doing something right, I've been getting lucky everytime, or I'm completely naive and everything is going fall apart on me.

    Sent from my moto z4 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    56don likes this.
  9. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 728

    from TX

    Not sure, think it was a famous man named @porknbeaner who once said.
    "we did not know we could not do it, so we just went ahead and did it anyways"

    I suck at fabricating & teaching myself how to weld at the same time. I do not have high expectations and having fun with the process.
    56don likes this.
  10. spdster
    Joined: Nov 26, 2009
    Posts: 38


    I am still learning bodywork but I have a friend who claims he is a "Youtube Certified Mechanic"
    wicarnut, Cosmo49 and 56don like this.
  11. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,329


    Fortunately, I probably don't qualify as an amateur builder.
    I took auto body and mechanics in high school.
    After high school I was a paid mechanic both at jobs as hired help, and in my own shop.
    I did 20 years on a dirt track as an owner/builder, and helped others in my class run better.
    The 25 years before I retired, I ran my own welding shop.
    There are things I can do very well, and there are other things I know I'm not good at. Some things I know not to do, and other things I believe I can get better at. I'll never achieve the level several here are at, but at the same time, I know there are several here that can't do what I can.

    I come here to help those that I can, and learn from others. To compare myself to others, or for them to compare themselves to me is an inappropriate temptation based on incomplete information concerning all involved and usually doesn't end well. Gene
  12. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,233


    Overtightening and then giving another turn and a half has served me well, lo, these many years.
    Sky Six, jimmy six and 51504bat like this.
  13. getow
    Joined: May 9, 2016
    Posts: 283


    Great question.. Well everytime i make something, it takes me twice as long as i think it should and it turns out twice as bad as i hoped it would. Then i do it over again hoping for better results, without any satisfaction. Therfore ive verified my answered more than once by adding it up over and over... Twice plus twice plus over again equals... 5 ever time... ha
    56don likes this.
  14. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,816


    Well, let's just say it's a good thing I don't have to do this to eat! Purely a hobby and I'm always learning something new that I should have known years ago.
  15. big john d
    Joined: Nov 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    big john d
    from ma

    i am a 5 or 6 welder but i am a 10 grinder
  16. markinroseburg
    Joined: Apr 20, 2016
    Posts: 9


    I gave myself a 5. I am pretty good with most anything mid-70s back in Mopars. I cut teeth on mopars and am familiar with they way their shop manuals read, and with wiring color codes, and can pretty much fix anything with them.
    I just started to learn to weld and that learning curve is steep. I'm starting to play with fords, that curve is steep as well. As someone else said, lifelong learner.
    56don likes this.
  17. After spending today in the shop I came back in and revised my estimate down 2 notches. May have to do it again after tomorrow (If there's room).
    56don and anthony myrick like this.
  18. railcarmover
    Joined: Apr 30, 2017
    Posts: 609


    I was fool enough to chose this shit for a living, after 43 years I'm institutionalized, I do it as a hobby cause I don't know anything else.
    56don and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  19. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 967

    Hemi Joel
    from Minnesota

    I am a hack supreme with delusions of grandeur, so I gave myself an 8.
    56don and X38 like this.
  20. Formal training, does that mean school? o_O:rolleyes:

    Its a funny thing literally anything I have ever wanted to do I just got a job doing it. I have always had this problem, I am not as smart as most people and don't know that I can't do that. The upside of that is that I have done a lot of things and the down side to that is that I have been in way over my head way to many times. In Missouri they would say that my mouth overloaded my ass.

    I gave myself a 7 in the Richter Scale. Now if this thread was about good looks I would have given myself a 1, which is just zero less than 10.
    56don, Montana1 and wicarnut like this.
  21. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,040

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    My strengths are "getting it done"..I finish projects, and in a timely manner.
    To the non-car person I'd be considered a the accomplished professional, I'd be considered a hack.
    I do take pride in the fact that I do it myself though.
    Make my vote a 5
    Budget36, 56don and wicarnut like this.
  22. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,373


    I rated myself an 8 because I work at level 4 but have to do things twice....
  23. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 6,260


    I gave myself a 6. I'm a DIY guy in most areas of life all my life, because of this line of thinking I have a variety of skill sets, most not at a pro level but I get it done. IMO There are only a few if any top tier car builders/restoration shops that one man can do it all. We as hobbyist car guys had our jobs/careers, families, etc. I've traded my skill set with fellow business owners, my craft being Tool & Die Maker, Patternmaker with my own shop/business for 36 years for their skills in their area of expertise. One great benefit of our hobby/racing is the variety of men you meet and network with for help that I needed, time and experience has taught me sometimes you go to a Pro.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
    56don likes this.
  24. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,919

    from Minnesota

    I’m a 10 at taking apart.
    Reassembly? Quit doing that years ago.
    I have zero patience...a bad trait for this hobby.
    56don and Hemi Joel like this.
  25. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,848

    from Brooks Ky

    I went for a job interview for a promotion one time and the fellow doing the interview asked me ......."What is the most important quality you will bring to this job if we promote you ?"
    Being caught off guard and not expecting a question like that, the best thing I could come up with was "Tenacity" .
    I explained that if he hired me, that I would pursue any tasks given me until they were done well and to the best of my ability.

    The thing about doing something well (though maybe not perfect)is a mindset. You either strive to do things well or you are satisfied with just getting it to function somewhat. Lot of guys here deny their talents because they aren't better than what anyone else in the whole world can do.......but they are still pretty well done none the less. Quality doesn't always have to be perfection. Yes, almost every task of any kind could be done better by someone somewhere.......but its still pretty dang good as it is.

    I think the thing here is that none of us are capable of doing every job perfectly, but the ones we do attempt will be done to the best of our ability. I think everyone here deserves a "10" in that respect or they wouldn't participate on this site and constantly be trying to learn more about this hobby.....and to do the next task even better than the last time. ;)

    Moselli got it exactly right and I appreciate him sharing that story.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
    Moselli and 56don like this.
  26. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,601


    I said a (7). When working with metal fabrication I do pretty good. I found out with my 22 year fabrication of my Avatar, there is a whole hell of a lot more to building a hotrod than the metal fab part. Wiring, upholstery, trans, suspension front and rear, wheel/tire choices, door latches, windows, and a thousand other little "things" popup out of the blue. I was very fortunate in that my back yard neighbor knows all this shit and came to my rescue just when I reached the wiring stage and has been my "Foose Overhaul'n" help ever since. We lived as neighbors for over 30 years and did not know each other. Posting my '66 show Rivi on Craig's list brought us together as close friends.
    56don likes this.
  27. Oldb
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 218


    I gave myself a 3. Like many who have posted on this thread I grew up on a farm with none of the goodies my friends from church who lived in town had. We had a dairy and dad was too busy to help with things like a tree house or other things, and from an early age I had a lot of cores to do, but when I did have spare time I just started building stuff myself with what was available. All self taught, no formal training, just books and manuals. To this day I have never built or repaired anything without learning something. Usually the hard way. The thing about learning as you go is you always get the tests before the lessons.
    I have terrible handwriting, could never throw a ball straight, was always picked last for sport teams. But for some reason I could repair and build things. My welds don't break and from my dairy farming days what I build is always stronger than needed. But my work is seldom easy on the eyes. I would be very reluctant to post pictures here. And visiting the welding forum always brings me back to reality quickly. Having retired last summer I finally have the time to really work in my shop. I hope to continue to hone what skills I have, maybe on the next poll I will give myself a 3.5.
  28. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 6,260


    mad mikey quote. "The hard, is what makes it great" I believe that's what she said LOL AHH, the memories.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
    56don likes this.
  29. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,810

    from Berry, AL

    I didn't vote either. I'm self taught in most everything I do, somebody at one time may have showed me something or I got some info from a book or now off the web, but putting it to practice has been all me, sometimes to the good, sometimes not so good. I'd be a liar if I said every idea I have had worked out to a T, some do, some fall way short, some end up being stupid after the fact. I've always been a voracious reader, I read cereal boxes at the breakfast table, so if I could find info on something, I greedily lapped it up and tried to put it to use.

    I've worked as a carpenter, did my own mechanical work, electrical work, my own body and paint work, always and without formal training in any of it. Like several others have said, I had to do it or it didn't get done. My old man was tight with money, we lived without perks but had the necessities. He had coffee cans of bent nails he would straighten when he needed to nail something, coffee cans of nuts and bolts and washers, coils of short pieces of wire to tie stuff together with, he was a kid in the Great Depression in the rural south, so he saved everything. I guess that's where I get being a pack rat from, just not as bad. He would take junk and repurpose it, and I now do the same. Only difference is I have two welders and stuff to cut metals with and he only had a hack saw and a 3/8" drill. He could change his oil and plugs and points, but that was the limits of his automotive skills. I, on the other hand, didn't think anything about pulling an engine and swapping it or doing a shade tree rebuild. I didn't know I was supposed to have a skill to do that, I just did it. Same with body and paint, I figured out how to bump dents with a ball pein hammer and a hunk of metal for a dolly because I couldn't afford a proper body tool set. First car I painted was a VW Bug with a case of spray cans, turned out surprisingly good! If I didn't have the money for the proper tools, I'd make something to do the job, still do sometimes.

    I look at others work and aspire to do the same quality, but I fall short of a lot of the craftsmen on here. I do have the satisfaction though of being able to say, "I did it", when asked about a lot of things. I shy away from transmissions and differentials, but engines, wiring, body work, paint, I try to do most all of it myself. I don't have the machine tools to surface blocks and heads or bore cylinders, but I can put the pieces together. Never tried sewing any upholstery, but have made door panels and such by stapling and gluing. I look at it all as a challenge, if a man did it before me, I think I should be able to do it, too. I'm my own worse critic.....
    56don likes this.
  30. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,083



    My dad taught me the trick to minimize the time to straighten bent nails. Once the started to come out, just keep adding shims to keep them straighter. Took more time, but as a kid I had all the time available. ;)

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