So you buy a house, you’re in awe of how perfect everything seems, and then… a light switch stops working. The toilet starts running at all hours of the night for no apparent reason. You find yourself wanting to do something to make that blank wall a little less… blank. At first, you might call someone out to fix these things for you, or to design a space, but you quickly realize that sometimes, this isn’t cost effective, and you want to learn how to take care of these things yourself. Where to begin?
Who am I?
I’m Andrew Laine, the Hesitant Handyman. I started this blog as a twofold endeavor—to document my journey in learning skills in home improvement and woodworking, and to help others discover, like I did, that doing it yourself doesn’t need to be scary—you just need to take the time to learn the skills and improve them with repetition.
My grandfather was an operating engineer with the AFL-CIO local 701, driving heavy equipment on construction sites. When he retired, he built a home for my grandma on couple of acres outside of Hebo, Oregon, and he spent his retirement woodworking in his basement shop and fine tuning the landscaping their wooded property between motor home trips around the country. As a kid, I remember being fascinated with all of the tools in his shop, and I couldn’t wait to learn from him when I was older. My freshman year of high school, he passed away from complications after heart surgery, and I was left a garage full of tools with no idea how to use any of them, but a determination to one day learn.
The most impressive of my granfather’s tools was a 1956 Shopsmith Mark V, which is the veritable Swiss Army knife of power tools for the DIYer with limited space, with five functionalities built in, plus a number of attachments that could be powered by the headstock. When my grandma wanted to sell it in order to get it out of her garage, I convinced her to let me keep it and stashed it on a friend’s farm. After laying dormant for over a decade, my wife and I bought our first house, and with some minor electrical work, I was able to bring the 60 year old machine back to life.
I use a good number of Ryobi tools in my shop—They’re solid tools at a price point that won’t make you cringe, and the 18V One+ battery form factor is consistent—you could pick up one of the old blue and gold tools, slap a brand new high capacity battery into it, and it’ll still run. Check out the “What’s in the Shop?” page if you want to see what all I’m currently using.