I just got a new toy to tinker with at home (because even on my days off I'm not content to sit around and do nothing... I need a project to mess around with).
Stick with me, there are money-saving and life-saving lessons in this.
My new hobby is a vintage Mark Twain speedboat from 1977, and it needs a little work.
That is to say, all of the interior wood is rotten. I need to strip it all the way down to the hull and totally rebuild it.
At first I was let down. This is a huge repair and I definitely won't have the boat on the water this summer. Just call me Captain Drydock.
But once I got used to the idea, I got excited and started researching the right way to fix it. Now whenever I'm working on my custom cabinets and need to stop for a minute while the paint dries or the glue sets up, I'll hop in the boat and rip out the floor for half an hour.
Since boating is a new world for me, I've been studying boating forums and Youtube channels to see how this kind of project is done. A lot of the guys doing the demonstration are hobbyists as well, and outside of boat remodeling, many of them don't have a lot of experience doing handyman or carpentry work.
And there's a big mistake I've noticed amateurs making again and again when they DIY their boat repair: They use cheap materials.
Think about it: you're about to spend the only resource you can't recover or get back... a resource that in some ways is even more precious than your money... your time.
In the case of a total boat repair like this, you'd be spending about 300 hours of your life.
Yet instead of choosing marine-grade materials that will last for a long time, some of these guys are using the cheapest plywood available and just trusting in their fiberglass coating to do the work.
Since it's hard to add a perfect waterproof coating, changes are that the plywood is going to rot in ten years and all of that time will be wasted. And the money they spent on the cheap materials will be wasted, too.
And here's another mistake to avoid making... and this is one that even the pros make all the time... and it drives me crazy because it's really dangerous...
They don't wear proper masks or safety gear. Heck, some of them don't even use ventilation!
Your health is just as precious as your time. And wood dust causes cancer.
When you breathe wood dust, you're basically breathing in silica (the stuff they make glass out of) and the worst part is, the most dangerous dust is the finest dust. It hangs in the air longer, you can't see it, and most masks don't filter it out.
If you are going to DIY a project, always buy the best mask you can afford and work with the best available ventilation.
That's why even though I have a professional workshop with the best ventilation I can buy...
...I still leave the windows and doors open in good weather, and I wear my powered-air dust filter.
Is it overkill? I have good reason to believe that it is not.
I'm fortunate (if that's the word) to have an allergy to wood dust because I spent so many years breathing it in. If I expose myself to a dangerous cancer-causing level of dust, my body reacts as if I've just inhaled a handful of pollen. And if I don't wear my powered air mask and use good ventilation for even a few minutes of light sanding, I get that allergy.
If you're not "lucky" enough to have a wood dust allergy, you can easily expose yourself to a dangerous level of carcinogens without ever knowing it. Don't believe me? Ask the American National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. Those are just the first two that came up on my Google search. The evidence is there.
And speaking of carcinogens, I have an outdoor work table which I like to use when painting, because even with low-VOC paint there can still be dangerous fumes, and I don't trust my spray booth to clear the air as well as a strong breeze.
I'm not saying you shouldn't DIY your household projects. But don't save money at the expense of the more important things in life... the things you can't get back once they're gone... your time, and the health of you and your loved ones.
OK, I'll climb down off my soapbox now.
If you have a project that you'd like to DIY, but don't have the time, know-how or safety equipment, give us a call. We'll take care of it for you.
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