Sometimes it’s easy to forget that dads have so much wisdom to share – especially when they’ve forgotten what they went upstairs for – and that’s why we’re taking the opportunity this Father’s Day to remind you of all the amazing DIY tips our dads have taught us.
From advice on how to fix our cars (turns out there’s a thing called a fan belt) to career guidance (turns out there’s a thing called a cover letter), dads really do know best. We don’t know how we’d manage without them, so we’ve collected some of the best dad-given DIY advice. Goggles on.
Get a tool kit
Owning a tool kit can save some serious stress! Most DIY stores sell tool kits that come with everything you’d need in them. Make sure your toolbox has a hammer, both Philips (crosshead) and flathead screwdrivers in different sizes, wrenches, allen keys, screws and nails in assorted sizes, a small spirit level, some pliers and a tape measure. Bonus points if you also get a decent drill and some drill bits. With these tools on hand and following a quick consultation with YouTube, you’ll be able to hang pictures and shelves, put together flatpack furniture and do odd jobs around the house – with or without your dad!
Get extra dad points by: Referring to length in millimeters, and calling them ‘mil’. 200mil. 435mil. We don’t know why he does this.
Choose the right drill
So you want to stop borrowing from dad and do your own drilling independently. But, depending on the density and material of your walls, a standard cordless drill simply might not do the trick. If your walls are made of stone or solid brick, for example, you’ll need to purchase a drill with a hammer setting to get through them, whereas if you have plasterboard walls, a cordless drill should be all you’ll need for hanging mirrors, pictures and shelves. It’s worth checking which kind of drill you’ll need before you begin to avoid disappointment and wasted money!
Get extra dad points by: Using the word ‘torque’.
Safety comes first
You might have watched your dad drilling and sanding away while you were growing up, but using power tools can be a dangerous business, so it’s always best to come prepared with the right safety equipment. A pair of thick, sturdy gloves could save your fingers in case of an accident, while eye goggles and a dust mask will keep your eyes protected and prevent you from inhaling dangerous fumes that can be kicked up from drilling and sanding. A painting suit will protect your clothes while you paint, and as a bonus you’ll look like a monochromatic teletubby. Ear defenders are also an essential piece of equipment if you’re going to be operating loud machinery or power tools like drills and angle grinders. We all want a trendy home, but nothing is more important than safety!
Get extra dad points by: Using a wire and pipe detector to make sure you’re not drilling through… wires and pipes. Dad loves a gadget.
Don’t cut corners
When we’re desperate to get a job finished, it can be tempting to cut corners. When we’re painting, for example, we might not use masking tape around light fittings or electrical sockets to ensure a clean job, or we might decide to skip the spirit level while we’re hanging shelves. These short cuts might save time in the moment, but you know what dad would say: it will only cause more work in the long run. Do the job once and do it well!
Get extra dad points by: Saying ‘measure twice, cut once’.
If your dad keeps a careful eye on his wallet, like so many do, you’ll know that before calling a handyman or splashing out on a new piece of furniture it’s worth getting creative with your DIY to save yourself some cash. As long as the work doesn’t require an electrician or gas safety specialist for safety reasons, why not watch some how-to guides on YouTube and have a go at the job yourself? Likewise, you could use paint to upcycle a piece of second-hand furniture rather than forking out for something new. DIY is, after all, all about creativity and learning new skills.
Get extra dad points by: Describing the purchase of brand new furniture as ‘daylight robbery’.