Do It Oneself (1963 edition)

It appears that I have no excuse whatsoever to fail to fix anything, ever again.

dozens of encyclopediae


The used book sale just finished, and the above 30lbs or so of books were almost left forlorn upon their shelves.  I felt it was incumbent upon me to further test the load limit of my apartment floor by purchasing them.

The black books are the 1970 edition of The Family Handyman DO-IT-YOURSELF Encyclopedia, and the red books are the 1963 edition of The Practical Handyman’s Encyclopedia.

As noted above, the information contained within is extensive, and surprisingly catholic in scope.  I hope they will prove a useful reference for a broad variety of projects, crackpot or otherwise.

There are a few caveats, however:

1) While I may now be able to make my own tambour door (FHDITE, p. 1082) or Economy Directional Microphone (PHE, 11, 2032), I currently lack the facilities necessary for the construction of a 26′ racing sloop (PHE, vol 15, pp. 2710-2721).

2) As I do not own a home at present, many of the otherwise sound construction projects and techniques mentioned are not useful to me.  In addition, the books come from an era where 100lb. bags of asbestos cement were readily available to the homeowner (FHDITE, p. 101).  While it is easy to laugh at the practices of another era, it is regrettable that code compliance officers have a nigh proverbial lack of humor.

3) As hinted at above, some materials are now harder to come by than previously.  Fortunately, I plan on placing a large bulk order for these materials via the middle book in the picture above, the (reprinted) 1902 Sears, Roebuck catalog.  Those who think that so-called “big box” hardware stores have a large inventory would do well to investigate the pages of this book.  The 1902 catalog contains guns, tools, clothing, corsetry, furniture, electric “vigor” belts, carriages, telegraphs, bicycles and furnaces.   Picture, if you will, stopping by the hardware store and purchasing a a crinoline dress and a new Buick.  This catalog comes from (just before) a time when Sears would sell you a house.  I hasten to add that this house would not be constructed; rather, you would place an order, negotiate financing, and then 30,000 pieces of house would be delivered to the railroad siding nearest you.  Good luck!

4) Regrettably, I did not find a full copy of the Popular Mechanics handyman guide.  The one book of it that I did find included instructions discussing how to build one’s own arc welder.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…

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