A return to making things

One of my favorite artifacts is a copy of the original Whole Earth Catalog, a maker’s dream. It collated just about everything one could need to make anything.

Most of the people in my generation grew up with at least some knowledge of how to make and fix things, even though many chose not to, preferring to buy what they needed ready made. But the current generation grew up thinking that work meant sitting in a cubicle writing code or driving around selling real estate. To these people, the idea of making is a novel one.

Reading some of the stuff on the net, it’s amazing how exciting the idea of making the simplest thing is. It is becoming clear that people are realizing that, in many cases, they are being had, paying much more for ready made items and, more often than not, getting the added benefit of toxic materials and ingredients that are co casually tossed into the mix by most manufacturers.

This renewed interest in making things is an opportunity for those of us who know how to make stuff. We have much to offer these neophyte makers and they are obviously hungry for the information. A business opportunity?



  • Dick Baynes says:

    AMEN!!! And let’s not forget the Foxfire Books! We could not always run to the store for a replacement part…we fabricated it!

  • Chuck R says:

    What kind of ‘things’ are they making?

  • Jon Grace says:

    Agreed.I’m in my late 40’s & look back fondly at all the opportunities I had to build things & work with my hands growing up.Learning to build cabinets,furniture,woodturning & other woodworking.Working on & doing basic repairs of small engines,other machinery.Metal shop,basic welding/cutting in junior/senior high.And other things that you run into with owning/living in an older house.

    Sadly the younger generations wont have the same choices we had,either as a career or part time hobby.So many of those classes were dropped in the schools in place of IT & other related fields.They’re still gonna need skilled tradespeople & craft workers when we retire in a few years if America is going to survive & compete in the future.

  • BigStick says:

    The cost for service people has gone thru the roof. years ago a builder would build serveral homes at a fair price, now it’s let build that big barns for 5 times the amount and then we only have to do one house a year. Daaaa = cost of material+labor= broke economy.
    Every one needs to make money and that his how the system shares not greed on one end.

  • I read a book a couple of years ago called “Shop Class as Soul Craft” by Matthew Crawford. He talks about the same sentiment., but also how we tradespeople are undervalued and underestimated by society. It takes a lot of intelligence to build furniture and cabinetry. I regularly astound my friends with my math skills for example or whenever anything breaks I get contacted for advice. I think that it’s important that we don’t let this ingenuity and curiosity fade from the world.

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