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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Likes: 2
If you HAVE to read it out of a book, to be able to do something, what does that tell you about the person reading the book?

Practical skills are something you learn by DOING them, not reading them out of some other guys opinion on how they are done.

Otherwise, they'd can the apprenticeship system and give every apprentice a bag full of books and say "See you in 8000 hours time"

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 165
Periodically, in a big box store, I'll leaf through one of these books for laughs. What limited wiring (and plumbing) that I can do, and do do, I learned from working directly under the supervision of pros. Bottom line: these books can be dangerous and I feel they should not be sold.

Addenda: when writing the above, I first wrote big "bog" store. Freudian slip? smirk

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
I have found that although it is unfortunate that DIY books are out in big box stores. Usually at some point most customers will realize that there is a time when good old fashioned experience trumps easiness of acessible information. When the book is not giving them an answer. Hopefully, it is before a novice gets killed.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,283
Likes: 3
I just received an (official) email at the office about this. Only 12 days after retired helper posted it here.

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 47
sbi Offline
Most of the DIY books come with a small fine print warning in them. I honestly believe that if these books did not say shut the power and check for power. A lot of DIYers would kills themselves.
Also there is no way any book on any trade will be 100% correct. Something is always going to slip by the editors.

When was the last time you guys looked at an License Exam book? Did you count the mistakes in it?

when in doubt jump it out
I happily work for slumlords
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 73
On the permitting side of things, we review for ‘functional and code compliant’ installations when it comes to DIY projects (homeowner’s permits). As a rule, they might not be pretty, but if they are safe they will be approved. Most DIY projects people get permits for are line extensions in unfinished basements or new additions, either off existing circuits or from new breakers. Most of the ones we see are ok: GFCI where they are supposed to be, EMT on exposed runs on concrete walls, properly supported, in approved boxes, etc. Lots of these people learned how to do these projects from, well, “How to” books and/or talking to friends or, gasp!, from the Internet. They aren’t experts in everything, but if they can put it in, and it passes inspection, more power to them. Many of our homeowner permits are pulled by people who can’t afford an electrician (or a plumber, or a contractor, or a roofer) and they literally are doing it themselves because that’s the only way they can afford it.

What is troubling are the projects done by people who DON’T come in for permits…. Lots of scary installs out there, I imagine, and not much we can do unless the house burns down. I think someone should write a DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself) book for these specific individuals.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
I just got a fantastic book on 'how to' build traditional American kitchens, [you know, face frame, painted, Colonial, Shaker-style and so on]. And there it is. A half-page pic of a set up on the sawbench, with the 'pressure' [hold-down] shown mounted the wrong way round. Just right to get 20lb of plywood jig and cabinet door smack in the chops! So it ain't all electrical accidents. mad

Wood work but can't!
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