Prefab Construction

I definitely have the do-it-yourself genes.  I'm slowly learning that there just aren't enough hours in my lifetime to do everything myself.  It's still a struggle.  Some things are easy.  We have a 100 year old house with the original pressed metal shingles on the roof.  Needless to say, they're due for a new batch.  Most of the roof has a 100% pitch, and the way the ground slants means there just about a three story drop off one side.  As much as I'd like to proudly say that I redid the roof myself, standing on the widow's walk is sufficient to remove any need I might have for supporting underwear.  You guys know what I mean. 

It's the smaller things that are more challenging.  Take, for instance, these neat little parent and child projects that Lowes or Home Depot offer. 


There is absolutely nothing keeping me from firing up the table saw and cutting out the parts for a bird house, bird feeder, or a some form of UFO.  The problem is the time.  By the time I've settled on a design, obsessively optimized it for most efficient use of wood, cut it out, realized I miscalculated a critical component, ran to Lowes and bought another board, cut it out again, predrilled the nail holes, realized that the nails I bought are too long, ran to Lowes again... you get the point. Sure it would go a lot faster the second and third time around, but so much of a DIYer's life is doing one-offs.  Sometimes, it more important to just swallow your pride and send the extra time with the person the project was actually meant for. 

As of this time, we've made a bunch of bird houses and one UFO.  Peter universally enjoys the experience.  I've come to the conclusion that there is almost no such thing as a kid who's too young for this.  He or she can hold the hammer while you "guide" the blows and get just as much feeling of accomplishment. 

One word of warning.  If you go to a Lowes build, you might be supplied with a cute little kids-sized hammer. 

On the face, this seems like the perfect solution.  The problem I found was that in order to actually drive a nail with this thing, you have to swing it ever harder.  Young hands are still learning to control that hunk of metal with two blade-like protuberances at the end.  It only make matters worse when the need to rear back to really follow through to get enough kinetic energy into it.  Ironically, as the face over their shoulder, I feel safer when they can just about lift the hammer and the guide its natural fall under gravity. 

And, yes, proper control is not possible with your tongue in your mouth.  There are more pics of the builds in the photo section.