Careers and how they influence Hobbies (was RE: Re: inept)

Jeff Coleman

I learned basic carpentry from my father when I was a teenager. Was
building models before I could saw a straight line. After high
school I went to work at the railroad, brakeman then carman. Now 30
yrs. later I'm a QA inspector with a contract railcar shop, still
some hands-on but more paper work than I like.
Jeff Coleman
--- In STMFC@..., "Pete Brown \(YahooGroups\)"
<YahooLists@i...> wrote:

I'm not sure where I fit in on your theory :-)

I'm a 33 year old software architect and project manager for a
development consulting company. I started with the first computers
school had in 7th grade, got my computer science degree in the 90s,
and have
worked professional in the field since 92. This is about as much of
sit-down job as you could possibly get.

The only time I had Shop was for 1 semester in Jr High. I wasn't
very good
at it, but we weren't really taught any skills either. The only
power tool
we were allowed to use was a palm sander. They were changing the
to remove most of shop, and renovating the school, so that was the
last time
I saw any woodworking tools in school. The following year, we had
drawing. I did very well at that - far better than the rest of the
actually, but was never able to try my hands at making anything
from the

My family lived in an apartment (several, over the years) until I
was in
college. Therefore we never had many tools around, nor any
equipment. If you aren't exposed to it, you don't learn it. I did
model airplanes (but never really painted them, except a couple
times with a
brush) until I was in high school.

In 2001 I bought my first house. Having a place of my own with some
land and
some room to stretch out got me interested in woodworking, model
railroading, cnc machining and other things. I don't consider
myself to be a
good woodworker, but I have built a few things that surprised the
heck out
of my family :-) I am completely self and book-taught in all my

My father in law, who is a retired carpenter, puts me to shame
whenever he
comes over to help work on the things in the house. It takes
everything I
have to keep up with a guy who has done this his whole life.
Luckily, he
appreciates that I make the effort :-)

Some of my woodworking projects:

Some of my railroad and machining projects


For some reason, I thought this was the traintools list. I see now
this is
STMFC. I'm going to post this anyway since I took the time to write
it up,
but I'm sure it will be risking testing Mike's patience. For that
reason, I
request any replies go offline.


Pete Brown - Gambrills, MD (Near Annapolis)
Visit my personal site :
(wallpaper, western maryland ry, .net, photography, model rr)


From: mcindoefalls [mailto:mcindoefalls@y...]
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 5:21 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: inept

I don't know where this thread started, but...

The lack of mechanical acumen among the general population today is
staggering. I once
worked in a photo studio, where we were building a set. I handed a
screwdriver to a 20-
year old (man) and told him to do whatever. You should have seen
the look of
incredulity! I
think he had never held a tool in his hand before.

A group of rowing friends and I teamed up and built a dock to row
from. One
guy means
well, but just doesn't get it (he took a cast-off stub of 2x4 once,
that it must have
been the size I had been cutting on the chopsaw, and proudly
brought me
about 20 pieces
that were several inches too short). Another guy is just plain
with power tools; I
try to keep him busy going for coffee. These two can't even
assemble a piece
of Ikea
furniture. Fortunately they both have more money than brains, so
they don't
need to.

So it's not surprising that people tighten truck screws too tightly
strip the holes. It's
not surprising that so many model railroaders think anything more
than an
Athearn kit has "too many parts"

On the other hand, I worked in a hobby shop once. A woman wanted to
buy a
train kit for
her husband for Christmas. He was not a modeler. I told her he'd
get bored
with an
Athearn kit, and suggested the Gould crane. She bit. I made a $20
sale. He
built it. And he
kept coming back. So, there is hope.

But on the whole, people who have the hand-eye coordination and the
to figure out how things work and go together are a minority in this
country. The sons of
the guys in my rowing group show ZERO interest in doing the guy-
type stuff
we do, like
building a dock. When I was a kid, I always hung with my father and
and cousins
while they built barns and silos and milking parlors. I'm not
confident in
the future!

Just out of curiosity, how many in this group work in a trade,
i.e., are in
construction, or
are machinists or mechanics, and how many are, um, paper-pushing
"professionals" (as I
am, although I have worked in construction)? Is there a correlation
the work we
do and the hobbies we pursue, or does our interest in making things
earlier? I
guess that would also influence our career choices.

Sorry, I rambled a bit here!

Walt Lankenau

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