Handy do-it-yourself books to keep on hand
TDS Reader Contributors
Fix It Myself?
Top 10 DIY Mistakes by Home 'Handymen'
Is anyone out there aware of a high quality do it yourself home repair book? I want to have one on my bookshelf as a handy reference. I've been looking in the bookstores for one: Readers' Digest and Better Homes and Gardens seem pretty thorough, but I wanted to see what the rest of the frugal world thinks.
-- Russell S
Try 'Quick Fix'
This is for the person who wanted to know about home repair books. I found a book called Quick Fix Home Repair Handbook
through a book of the month club (during my spendthrift years). It is written by Katie and Gene Hamilton. The book is very easy to read and follow, is well illustrated, and covers everything from plumbing to appliances to wall repair. It doens't go into highly skilled or technical repairs, though. I have found it to be very useful in my own home and have even loaned it to friends.
I have used The Home Depot's home repair book
on several occasions. It is easy to read and have easy to follow illustrations. I am single with only one income, so if it is a simple job I usually will whip this out and do this myself. So far I have learned to repair and replace some of my bathroom faucets, lay tile and hang wallpaper. I definitely recommend it.
Regardless of the high cost of the New Fix-It-Yourself Manual,
it is worth EVERY PENNY. My husband is not "handy" by nature or experience and I purchased the above mentioned book for him for Father's Day at the recommendation of a friend. The illustrations allowed him to visualize each upcoming project and his repair has saved us literally, hundreds of dollars this past year. He has replaced a portion of a bathroom carpet, repaired our air conditioning unit, taken apart our dryer, replaced certain belts, and put it back together again, diagnosed a problem with our riding lawn mower, and fixed many other items all because of that "expensive" book. We both recommend it to everyone. We are also using it to teach our 13 yr. old son HOW to do repairs. It is self-explanatory and I've seen many repair jobs done with the book in one hand and a wrench in the other.
Old Popular Mechanics Handbooks
Try a set of Old Popular Mechanics handbooks. The ones made before 1970 are preferable, they have more useful information. Unlike the new ones today, these show EVERYTHING that you might need to know, especially the forties and early fifties ones. You can find them in used bookstores, Goodwills and Salvation Armies, or flea markets and garage sales for quite cheap. Although the decorating is outdated, my 1961 set of PM handbooks shows me how to do everything from building a higpowered crossbow to using a motorized plow behind a four by four to reparing a industrial sewing machine.
-- D W
Go to your local library. Check out books like the Time/Life series. Take them home, read them thoroughly to see if they are indeed what you want. Then go to second hand bookstores to see if they have the books you have selected. Often a second hand bookseller will keep a record of a book you want and do a search for it. Save a bundle this way.
Older Is Better
In answer to good home repair books, I've found that older books are better than the new "glitzy" ones. Black & white line drawings that show how to do something is much more useful than color photos of the finished product.
You can buy great used books (saves money also) that will use common sense & show step by step how to do a job & warnings of pitfalls.
Audel's books from the 50's & 60's (On every subject you can think of)
Popular Mechanics Home Encyclopedia (3 book set 1965)
Fix It Yourself - Home Repairs Made Easy Popular Science Monthly (Pre power tool days 1940's 1950's)
Ebay Online Auction
(use caution, bid only if the person has feedback!)
Take the Next Step
- Not sure if that home repair is a DIY job? Find out if you should try it yourself or hire a pro.
- Visit the Dollar Stretcher library for home maintenance tasks you can easily DIY.
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