This Father’s Day, we’re running a number of features on the site dedicated to dear ol’ dad. One of the them involves reaching out to you, our readers, and asking for tips and sayings from your father (or grandfathers) about the noble art of making things. We want to gather up the best of these “Tips My Dad Says” and run a feature piece on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 18).
To say thanks for participating, our friends at Leatherman are giving away four of their SuperTool 300 multitools. As someone who’s had a Leatherman tool on his belt, or close at hand, for at least the last 20 years, I can personally attest to the awesomeness of these tools. To be eligible for the drawing, all you have to do is leave a tip, saying, or story about the dads in your life, related to tools and making in the comments below. The eligible drawing period will be until midnight on Wednesday (June 15) and we’ll announce the winners on Thursday morning. And then stay tuned for the feature piece on Sunday morning.
Update: And the winners ARE…
You each win a Leatherman SuperTool 300! Send me your smailing information ASAP. Thanks.
Kicking things off, we asked the MAKE team and some of our contributors to share some of their dad-ish tips. Here are a few (many more on Sunday).
My dad’s advice about tools:
Good tools can last a lifetime — but if it’s easier to abuse a tool than to go out and get another, go for it.
Whenever I’d help my father, I’d be tentative when I didn’t know what I was doing, but my father told me not to worry about messing up a project. Messing up is one of the best ways to learn, he told me, and that we can’t learn well if we aren’t willing to take risks and make lots of mistakes.
My Dad taught me this golden rule:
“HEY BOY! Where’d you put my good pliers?!?”
(Lesson being: Always have a scapegoat for misplacing tools, even if dad hasn’t lived at home for 5 years)
My favorite is:
“Don’t put chips in backwards”.
As a rebellious child, I tried, once, just to test dad’s advice. After all, it does fit the other way in the socket. I learned my lesson.
My dad is not really a maker, but he did inspire me to work very hard at whatever task I set my mind to, and for that, I’m grateful. Teaching good work ethic, teamwork skills, and diligence is just as valuable as showing someone how to use a drill press or a soldiering iron. Oh, and he also taught me that mom was probably the better person to go to when things got broken. ;)
If you want a solder joint to last, you first need to make a solid mechanical connection between the two things you’re connecting together. Solder only makes an electrical connection; it doesn’t provide strength.
My all thumbs stepfather taught largely by example. Like the time he warned me “Always be sure you’ve pulled the fuse before you touch the wires.” He then promptly, in a great shower of sparks, blew three inches off the end of his screwdriver in the 220 outlet he was working on.
“Don’t weld without long sleeves and proper welding hood!”
“Keep things in their original box whenever possible.”
“If you get in trouble when you are diving for abalone, drop your weight belt. It will be right where you left it at the bottom of the ocean when you go back to find it.”
My father (a lawyer) told me that company culture is driven from the top — if it’s the people who make the product, you’re good; sell the product, you’re OK. If the accountants take over, look for another job, and if the lawyers take over, run as fast as you can the other way.