When I was a teen, I watched my dad remove a wrought iron railing (1970’s style) and install a new more modern wooden one (1990’s style). Over several days he cut and recut boards, fit them together, took them apart, and swore at them. I watched quite a bit as he worked, until finally I asked, “How long would this take a real carpenter?”
Now I thought this was a pretty harmless question but apparently he didn’t because he went into quite the tirade starting with, “A real carpenter!?” And I got out of there quick.
When I think back on this time, what other choice did he have other than to fumble through each project. He had a picture, he had the pieces, I assume some of the right tools, he was a mechanic by trade not a woodworker, but he didn’t have the tool we have today, YouTube.
What did we do before YouTube? We did exactly like my father always did, worked his way through it, until he got it right. He relied on his thinking and problem solving skills. However, that is not is what we do now. Now we reach for our Smartphones and Google the answer or watch the YouTube video. No problem solving or thinking, just a couple clicks and the information is ours.
I was refinishing my hardwood floors and needed to know how to use an edging sander. Click, click… 1,350 videos. I wanted to know how long it took mineral spirits to dry, again click, click…11,600,000 results. What kind of matte finish do they make for floors?…more clicking and even more results.
I am not usually a proponent of just Googling it, but when it comes to projects like this that I have little experience in, it has been a great resource. Now of course you can’t believe everyone you read or watch but if you see enough of them, you get the idea. Or at least a better idea.
But what about my problem solving skills? Am I missing out on figuring and refiguring like my dad did? I don’t think so, if he had a professional standing within arm’s reach waiting to answer his questions, he would have taken the advice too. Seeing I don’t know a professional mason, floor finisher or laminate expert, I need to go where I can find them… and in most cases fast. I am not sure that the Internet and YouTube are making me a smarter person but they definitely are making me better at home repair. By the way the railing turned out beautiful, is still standing and even my dad watches the videos!