DIY Tools Workshop

The Forgotten DIY Wisdom That Dads Know Best

Whether a pipe bursts or construction begins on a new home addition, we often call the handiest people we know for some sage advice: our dads. In honor of the fast-approaching Father's Day, we've asked a few of our favorite DIY bloggers to share with us what home improvement knowledge they've picked up from their own fathers. Let the next 10 heartwarming and valuable lessons in DIY prove Dad always knows best.
Kathleen Corlett Avatar

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Always Give It a Try

“I can’t remember a time that my dad hired contractors to fix or build anything at the house. While ‘DIY’ wasn’t the catch phrase it is today back in the ’80s and ’90s, Dad instilled in me to try to fix or build it myself and laugh off the failures, which only make the completed successful project more rewarding in the end.” —Ryan, The Horticult

Craft with a Bit of Caution

“My dad has taught me so much about DIY and how to use power tools without cutting off my fingers. His biggest tip: ‘Go slow, and don’t rush the machine.’ He also showed me how to tap the drywall with a hammer and listen for the change in sounds to find the stud. I was probably 15 years old when he showed me, and I thought he was crazy… but he was right! I still find studs in the wall using that method 20 years later.” —Jessica, Four Generations One Roof

Fix It Yourself First

“My dad (and mom) is a DIYer in the maker-fixer kind of way. Like when something around the house breaks, they try and figure out a way to hack it or fix it before buying a new one. I’ve always had the same mentality. I think I got it from them, but maybe I’m just a cheapskate.” —Pete,

See the Potential in Everything

“My dad taught me to get creative with DIY projects. Basically, to look beyond what something was made for and repurpose it or display it in a whole new way. Creativity definitely runs in the family and I have my dad to thank for that.” —Kristin, Bliss at Home

Save Your Scraps

“My dad was a machinist who did things like make his own screws. From scratch. For fun. He built, made, grew, fixed, and broke things all the time, often the same thing in the same day. Most of what I learned from him I learned just by following him around or watching him. One of the greatest tips I picked up from him, I still use today: Never throw away scrap lumber. Squirrel it away in the rafters, and by the time you’re 35 you’ll have all the scraps you need to make pretty much anything.” —Karen, The Art of Doing Stuff

Don't Get Caught in the Details

“My Grandpa always had a funny saying. It goes, ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing fast.’ That helps me keep things in perspective when I get a little too perfectionist.” —Mandi, Vintage Revivals

Believe in Yourself

“Dad taught me (more through example than in exact words): ‘Yes, you can absolutely do this.’” —Sarah, The Ugly Duckling House

Good Tools Come in All Sorts of Shapes

“It’s funny, but my dad never failed to show me that an old license plate can fix just about anything. He repaired siding with one, and when there was a mishap with me and the lawnmower, he fixed the lawnmower with an old license plate, too.” —Jenna, Rain on a Tin Roof

Know Your Limits

“My dad taught me that anything can be fixed, even if you don’t know right away how to fix it (or you break it even more in the process of learning how to fix it). He also taught me that we Fieldings work best solo… We don’t play well with others, so leave us alone to get it done. And even if we ask for help, give us 10 more minutes to decide we really want it before jumping in!” —Stephanie, Sandpaper & Glue

Tidy Up Every Time

“My dad taught me the importance of a clean shop: An unorganized shop will make your projects take three times as long. Take the extra few minutes to put away your tools after working so you know where each tool is and don’t waste time gathering them for your next project.” —Pete,