My Hobbies

I am a student of all hobbies!

My interests are widespread, and I can’t seem to get enough.  I like to learn how things work.  I've watched every episode, that’s ever been made, of How It’s Made . . . three or four times.  

My favorite hobbies are:

    • Computers – Hardware & Software - everything about themWorkbench/shop design
    • Doing things with my Grandsons
    • Camping
    • Electronics
    • Woodworking & Carpentry (DIY - Do It Yourself projects)
    • Fixing Things (FIY - Fix It Yourself projects)
    • Creating & Designing using CAD software
    • History - celebrating significant historical events.
    • Cooking
    • Photography
    • I dabble in chemistry, metal forging and sand casting
    • Writing – short stories about interesting things in my life

Cars are not exactly a hobby of mine, but I get excited when one breaks down and I get to fix it!  As a matter of fact, I get excited when anything breaks down because I get to fix it. Nothing gets thrown away, around my house, until I get a chance to make it work.

I have a nice Office/Auto/carpentry shop/Man cave with every imaginable tool available.

When I was a child, I used to get in trouble all the time for taking things apart. 

My dad didn't particularly mind, but he didn’t care that I never put things back together. 

One day he said, “It takes knowledge to take something apart, but it takes wisdom to put it back together and it works.”  Ever since then, whether I fix it or not, I put everything back together.  That’s always my goal.

 Living a Broken Life (DIY/FYI Hobby)

ElectronicsI believe I can fix anything but a broken heart.  My children grew up with the fear that they would never have anything new.  I told them that everything they owned was new - at one time.  I believe that everything should be given a chance.  We keep fixing and using whatever the device (or toy) was unless a new model or device was more economical to buy than to repair. 

In some cases, parts break. Sometimes, you need new parts. Parts are available. In todays world, with the slightest amount of research, replacement parts can be found, even when the cover says there are 'no user serviceable parts inside'.  In most cases, parts just wear out because of normal wear and tear, slight movements during operation.  In the illustration above left, the red positive wire moved slightly every time the device was turned on or off.  After a couple of years, the wire broke off.  A replacement device would have cost $75.  Troubleshooting and resoldering cost nothing. 

I try to fix everything that breaks.  Things around home have lasted for years!  Maintenance is important also.  If you take care of things and do preventive maintenance, everything lasts longer.  My truck had 275,000 miles on it when I finally sold it (not junk it, sold it).  Washers, dryers, HVAC, and other appliances - cleaning and maintenance goes a long way! All vehicles, appliances, computers, and devices need periodic maintenance. 

If something stops working, you will normally throw it away and buy a new one.  Why not try to fix it first?  If you fail to fix it, then throw it away. You don't lose anything but a little bit if time. But if you succeed in fixing it, you save money on the cost of a new one.

'No User Servicable Parts Inside' means they want you to buy a new one.

If it was assembled at the factory, it can be disassembled at home.

It takes knowledge to take something apart.  It takes wisdom to put it back together!

When it breaks:

if you try to fix it and don't - you lose nothing
if you try to fix it and do - you lose nothing

'Tis better to have tried to fix it and lost than never to have tried to fix it at all.'

Don't waste money on warranties that expire before the device breaks.




How to Build a Computer

Landon, one of my grandsons, is mechanically inclined like me.  He's into xBox, computer gaming, racing and RC cars and other electronic tools and toys.  He wanted to build a computer!  I told him if he got good grades in school, I would get him a gaming computer.  It was an expensive gamble I lost, but well worth it.  Together, the Honor Roll student and I built his computer from scratch.

IT Technician IT Technician IT Technician IT Technician

Auto Repairs and Maintenance 

I share my hobbies with the kids and anything else they seem to be interested in . . . because I'm interested in them - it's a hobby of mine.  

Michael Michael

Michael, my other grandson, can get inside spaces and get to parts I can't get to.

Michael Michael
Because kids these days love fixing things!

One of many camping trips.  This one was near Natural Bridge, Virginia

Landon want's to drive race cars, Michael want's to be a paleontologist.  I seem to be corrupting them, teaching them other things instead.  

I love teaching my grandsons history!  We had a Moon Bash to celebrate the 50th anniversary af the Apollo Moon Landing.  I was Michael's age when they landed on the moon.  We live near a lot of historical places, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Petersburg, and within 120 mies of Washington D.C.. We've been to the historical sites of all of them!

Moon landing


DIY - Kitchen Renovation

Designed and Renovated our kitchen.
I applied the same principles I use at work for reengineering space utilization.  After 15 years of using a cramped kitchen, My redesign concept increased the storage capacity by 200%, and added 75% more floor space without increasing the original foot print. I even added a small Island to add 10% more work/preperation space.