Learning new skills

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Red Hood

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Jan 15, 2018
Hey fellow Kiwis.

I've been thinking about learning a little bit about carpentry in my spare time. I don't really know where to start, I've been looking for classes in my area but outside of joining a professional carpenter's union (and I'm not looking to go pro) or going to a community college an hour away it seems the opportunities are rather limited. I never took a shop class, and outside of taking guns apart to clean them and changing fluids and filters in my car I don't have many mechanical skills or tool experience. Anyone have any advice?

Also, if you have an interest in discussing the acquisition of new skills or resources for this kind of thing, post them here or something.
 

SiccDicc

The Defenestrator
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Aug 8, 2017
First Lesson: Learn Spanish.
Second Lesson: Go to Home Depot.
Third Lesson: Spot the dirty brown people.
Fourth Lesson: Ask them if they're looking for work. (Do not give up the trump card of knowing Spanish, that's to keep track.)
Fifth Lesson: Pay them to teach you carpentry.

In all honesty, there should be community lessons at the college that doesn't require getting a degree. Weird that there isn't... well, if you're not willing to go to a tradeschool - since that probably costs like community college - there should be books you can pick up, maybe videos. Check your library.
 

Red Hood

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Jan 15, 2018
YouTube.

And get a nice table and a nice saw.
Yeah, I just realized my tools are pretty limited. I basically have a hammer, a tape measure, a screwdriver set and a level. And a tire iron, but that one's pretty specific. Guess I better hit some yard sales.

First Lesson: Learn Spanish.
Second Lesson: Go to Home Depot.
Third Lesson: Spot the dirty brown people.
Fourth Lesson: Ask them if they're looking for work. (Do not give up the trump card of knowing Spanish, that's to keep track.)
Fifth Lesson: Pay them to teach you carpentry.

In all honesty, there should be community lessons at the college that doesn't require getting a degree. Weird that there isn't... well, if you're not willing to go to a tradeschool - since that probably costs like community college - there should be books you can pick up, maybe videos. Check your library.
Yeah, the tradeschool route is kind of out since this is just a hobby I want to get into more than anything. The only reason the community college is discouraging is because it's an hour away and commuting here is a bitch.
 
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Hatoful Dandy

Harbinger of Thrawn
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May 20, 2016
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OG 666

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kiwifarms.net
I don't know if it will be useful for carpentry, but I really like Udemy for online classes.

They have some decent ones for free, or if you're willing to pay $10, there are a lot of other great options. I purchased this Python course, and it's been extremely helpful. I like it much better than Codecademy and SoloLearn.
 

Corbin Dallas Multipass

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Jun 20, 2018
Well... what do you mean by "learning carpentry"? Is there a specific thing you want to build? If so, look up videos on how to build that thing. Then build other things. You'll get better at it as you keep doing it.

Got a way to measure, cut, drill, and smooth wood? The smoothing part is optional, but nobody likes splinters. Draw up the thing you want to build on some graph paper, make dimensional lines so you feel like a professional drafter (That's the thing where you draw a little line with brackets and write the length of the part in).

To be honest, your request sounds so vague that it sounds like you don't really know what you want to do, and carpentry is "something". Does working with your hands interest you? Do you like building stuff? Did you just watch breaking bad and get inspired by Jesse's little wooden box?

I personally hate youtube videos, but it's often the best thing you're gonna get as far as specific instructions. But that combined with some good old fashioned googling will allow you to learn to do pretty much anything.
 

Nekromantik

I was phone!
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May 1, 2017
You could also try looking for some simple How to books. Start small and work your way up. Also keep looking around where you live, you may find someone that's giving lessons. We have a place not to far out of town that teaches carpentry, blacksmithing, basket weaving, and pottery. I've been thinking of taking a class myself to make a chest for blankets.
 

Bassomatic

HOW DO I KNOW YOU'RE NOT MAKAROV
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Mar 9, 2015
You could also try looking for some simple How to books. Start small and work your way up. Also keep looking around where you live, you may find someone that's giving lessons. We have a place not to far out of town that teaches carpentry, blacksmithing, basket weaving, and pottery. I've been thinking of taking a class myself to make a chest for blankets.
I suggest books before YT as books while some are rubbish, they tend to be bit more vetted and can't grasp the same social/film boosts a good YTer can have while being awful with skills.

I'm really good with wood working and at first was going to do it for a living, I'm glad it's a hobby. So feel free to ask if anything direct. First and foremost always get a few good tools, a good hand saw, laser level, sanding stuff etc to start. Pros will tell you, never stop or forget measure twice cut once.
 

Corbin Dallas Multipass

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Jun 20, 2018
I personally am terrible at every aspect of manual precision work, like cutting a straight line, drilling a straight hole, measuring and drawing the line where it's supposed to be... But even still, I have built a few wooden structures that hold up. When you break it down to its parts, it's simple. Plan ahead, sketch out whatever it is you want, if you can't think of how something should work, look it up. Look at examples of what you're trying to do.

The mental part is something you probably already know how to do. Your hands will get better at it as you practice.
 

Red Hood

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Jan 15, 2018
Well... what do you mean by "learning carpentry"? Is there a specific thing you want to build? If so, look up videos on how to build that thing. Then build other things. You'll get better at it as you keep doing it.

Got a way to measure, cut, drill, and smooth wood? The smoothing part is optional, but nobody likes splinters. Draw up the thing you want to build on some graph paper, make dimensional lines so you feel like a professional drafter (That's the thing where you draw a little line with brackets and write the length of the part in).

To be honest, your request sounds so vague that it sounds like you don't really know what you want to do, and carpentry is "something". Does working with your hands interest you? Do you like building stuff? Did you just watch breaking bad and get inspired by Jesse's little wooden box?

I personally hate youtube videos, but it's often the best thing you're gonna get as far as specific instructions. But that combined with some good old fashioned googling will allow you to learn to do pretty much anything.
I guess that's the rub, I don't really have a set goal. I just have a lot of down time and figure I should spend it in developing a new skill. I don't have any particular thing I want to build. I have always wanted to learn to work with my hands but I used my elective in middle school for Band and just didn't care through High School. The lack of a particular project and no prior knowledge is what had me looking for a shop class format because I figured it would walk me into the subject and give me some projects to complete.

I think the thing that clinched the interest was my brother-in-law asking me how to make a dovetail joint and me telling him "I don't smoke weed." I looked up what a dovetail joint was after he got done laughing at me.

Anyway, I picked up a Black & Decker book that's supposed to cover tools, shelves, walls, and doors. I'll see what I can do with that.
 

Kiwi Lime Pie

The tasteful spring treat. 🥝🥧🐈
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Jun 11, 2018
(G)oing to a community college an hour away it seems the opportunities are rather limited

It's a shame the community college is that far away. The local one here allows people to take one or more classes solely for enrichment purposes (for lack of a better term) without pursuing a degree or certificate.

Growing up, I had a neighbor that wanted to open and run a pottery shop when her husband retired. So, she took every pottery class she could at the community college. I even took a single class shortly after earning my Bachelor's degree to learn something I felt would be useful in my hoped-for career that my University didn't yet offer.

Others have given you great advice (books, online how-tos, YouTube, etc.), so I won't repeat that here. I'm not sure what your best way of learning is (reading, seeing and repeating, etc), but I'd suggest choosing whatever medium helps you learn the most. Once you do have some of the basic tools, start off with a simple project to see if you like doing carpentry as much as you thought and if you want to go on and learn more.

Good luck.
 

Red Hood

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Jan 15, 2018
It's a shame the community college is that far away. The local one here allows people to take one or more classes solely for enrichment purposes (for lack of a better term) without pursuing a degree or certificate.

Growing up, I had a neighbor that wanted to open and run a pottery shop when her husband retired. So, she took every pottery class she could at the community college. I even took a single class shortly after earning my Bachelor's degree to learn something I felt would be useful in my hoped-for career that my University didn't yet offer.

Others have given you great advice (books, online how-tos, YouTube, etc.), so I won't repeat that here. I'm not sure what your best way of learning is (reading, seeing and repeating, etc), but I'd suggest choosing whatever medium helps you learn the most. Once you do have some of the basic tools, start off with a simple project to see if you like doing carpentry as much as you thought and if you want to go on and learn more.

Good luck.
Thanks for the encouragement.

Anyone got any ideas for what my first project should be? My limit is that new tools and materials have to come out at no more than $50 total.

As tools go, I have a hammer, screwdrivers, a level or two, a sledgehammer, and a level, and a pruning saw. I don't know how useful most of these will be, but I'll try to hit yard/estate sales this weekend for more tools.
 

Nick Gars

"that" guy
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Aug 29, 2018
I've noticed a decline in skills and trades as time passes by. What are skills you possess that the majority doesn't?

For me, it's cooking. It's such a basic skill, but I've been noticing the upcoming generation has almost no ability to do so. Just give me ingredients and I'll come up with something that tastes good and it won't be burnt or spoiled.