Do mechanical engineers possess the skills and knowledge to do multitude of crafts like carpentry, blacksmithing, and ceramic work as DIY projects?

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Do they have the skills and knowledge to do carpentry, blacksmithing and ceramic work as DIY projects? Well, I don’t know if they have the skills and knowledge, but my belief is: if you can read and understand, then you can develop any skills you need to do almost anything. Now, I’m not a mechanical engineer, but I do have a BS degree in engineering and worked as one for many years.

I can tell you that in looking at graduates from the school I got my engineering degree at, not all engineers are equal. Some are very good at theory, some not so good. But much of engineering is “grunt work”, not theory. Let’s say you are working on the design of a bridge. Someone has to calculate the weight of each piece of the bridge. This is “grunt work”. It’s not fun or interesting, but someone has to do it because the weight of the various parts are part of the total load that has to be supported and are important in the final calculations. My experience is that those who were the best at theory get bored with the grunt work of calculating weights and are better used in other parts of the engineering design while those who weren’t so good with theory can handle some grunt work better. Each is different, but each is an important part of the whole design and construction of a bridge (or spaceship or any other construction).

Any one of those engineers is bright enough to be able to read a book on carpentry, blacksmithing or ceramic work and understand how to do it. Some will be very adept at it, others, not so much, but all of them could build something of wood or steel or ceramic if they decided that they wanted to do so.

I’ll give you an example. I needed to wear a suit to work. Today, you can buy suit jackets and pants separately, but in the 1970’s you bought a suit period. I couldn’t find one where the jacket and the pants both fit. In fact, at one time I went to “Barneys” in New York which advertised themselves as the largest men’s store in the world. I was escorted through their store by a salesman who told me that after covering the entire store, they couldn’t fit me. In desperation I went downtown to a men’s store near Wall street in Manhattan and found someone who understood my problem and worked on a fix. We found a suit that could be made to fit. In the process I learned a good bit about suits and how they are made.

Long story short, I decided to make a suit. I found a book entitled “How to make men’s suits”. It was written by a woman who was a men’s tailor. She went into every step in the process of making a suit down to the last detail. She started with how to take measurements and build a pattern. That appealed to my design side. And so my sewing career started. I ended up making 2 men’s suits, with 3 pairs of pants for each and I wore these suits for years.

So, now when we move to a new home, my wife expects me to be ready to make the curtains for each room if she can’t find one she likes online.

My point is this: anyone who can read and understand can do anything they want to do so long as they can find a good book on the subject and they have the desire to learn to do it and the tenacity to keep at it to the finish.

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