Skip to main content

Are handymen a dying breed?

Filed Under: fix-it, DIY with Dad

Tool boxIn a world of specialization most people are rushing to become an expert in their area at the virtual neglect of other skills. Can you be a good nurse, graphic designer, actor, teacher, and still be a well rounded handyman? Maybe our interest just isn't there, or we see the ability to outsource household projects as a luxury our parents didn't have. Still, handymen are less and less common in typical homes today.

I was interested in this topic after reading I can't do one quarter of the things my father can by Scriblerus. He explores the nature of men today, challenging that they are less able to "take care of things" the way previous generations could. He ventures into some interesting reasoning behind the abandonment of handyman personalities.

Keep in mind that this is an opinion piece, and by his own account, the survey he cites was highly speculative. Still, it raises an interesting question. This may not apply directly to you as a keen DIY'er, but many men do not have the skills of confidence to take on household projects the way their Dad's did. DIY for many people means looking up a phone number and making the call. Many men, having grown up around handy fathers, still know the basics rules of thumb around fixing and building, but will they pass it on to the next generation? Likely not.

Do you think that the handyman is a dying breed? I don't think people in general are as handy as they have previously been. How do you account for this difference? What do you think of it?


  • jake

    I'm thirty years old and I remember my dad doing all kinds of things around the house. I think things around the house have just gotten more complex and/or cheaper to replace. Items were once designed to be repaired, are easier to replace

    Take bikes as an example, I have a bike from 79-80 and I can take it apart and replace everything down to the bearings in the hubs. Now hubs are made not to be taken apart and cleaned, but to be cheaper to be replaced.

    Or take shoes as an example, once upon a time, shoes were designed to be repaired, and otherwise last years. Now, we wear 'em out, toss 'em and get new ones.

    Watches too.

    It's a cycle. We know less because we have to do less.

  • Chris Wickersham

    I disagree. My dad taught me to be a 'handyman' from an early age and I still find that it is easier/more economical to fix things myself than to wait on someone else to do it. My friends and neighbors are amazed when I climb up onto the roof and get the swamp cooler or A/C running again. They're amazed that I work on my truck, they're amazed that I can put in electrical outlets or repair drywall. It's amazing what you can do with some simple tools around the house. My daughter had a broken cd player/boom box and I unscrewed it and fixed a bad solder point and it worked again just fine. Sure I could have just thrown it away and spent $20 on a new one but I think that is wasteful and it is nice to be able to teach kids that things are valuable no matter what they cost. The same goes for yard work and general household maintenance as far as I'm concerned.


  • charles

    The other day I replace a pull switch in a ceiling fan, the one for the light but I'm sure I could do the one the fan speed also. At one time my dream job was to be a handyman in an apt. complex but where do you get a referral for things you learned DIY. Once my landlord ask me where did I learn to cut linoleum and I honestly could not remember. I'm old enough to have taken a few shop classes in Jr. high school where I learned you cannot use your finger to stop a table saw even if the power is off.

  • 3 Comments / 1 Pages

Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos