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4.2 out of 5 stars110
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, yes, the jobs that this book covers are all fairly basic, such as hanging a shelf or a mirror, unblocking a toilet or stripping old wallpaper and pasting up some more. So, if you're already a competent DIYer, then this book is in no way intended for you. The target audience is the modern generation who were never shown how to do any of this stuff, and to this end I believe it actually succeeds surprisingly well...

Why? Well, my step dad (who was army-trained and therefore very good at DIY) used to say that DIY is all about having the confidence to give things a go yourself. Because this book sticks to 100 common and basic jobs, if followed over time (a job here, another one there) it will most likely start to develop that confidence in the reader, the confidence to take on bigger jobs, which, as I understand it, is exactly what Sarah Beeny intended. And although the jobs included are basic, there are still some in there that would no doubt make you feel proud of yourself, jobs that are not THAT basic, such as laying down laminate flooring or building your very own alcove cupboards, from scratch, all of which would help to build that confidence that I'm talking about. In contrast to that, the book also gives advice on how to assemble flat-pack furniture! It doesn't get more basic than that, but like I say if no-one has ever shown you this stuff how else are you expected to know? There is also a nice section at the beginning discussing the tools that the average homeowner would do well to own, and tips on how to use them so as to make your DIY jobs as hassle-free as possible.

I have several other DIY books myself already (one by B&Q and another by Reader's Digest). Both are huge, thick things that I would only ever use as reference for specific jobs, not to actually learn from and gain confidence. This is because, although far greater in scope, covering electrics and plumbing for example, their style is also rather heavy, formulaic and off-putting. To be honest, I find those books daunting more than anything. They don't get much use. If pushed to recommend a book to someone who knows almost nothing about DIY but would like to change that, Sarah's is the one that I would recommend. Consider it a stepping stone to bigger things.

All in, when you consider that you can supplement this book by seeking out Youtube videos for specific jobs, I think this offering from Sarah could take you surprisingly far. You could, of course, just look up Youtube videos without this book, but as I'm sure you know it can be a chore in itself trying to find a decent vid. I would still say it's worth owning Sarah's book if you're a homeowner, and simply use Youtube as another reference so that you can see the job being done.

While we're on the subject of visuals, regarding style, it would have been nice to see some colour pictures in this book, a slightly brighter, fresher approach. Instead we are given clear, albeit slightly uninspiring drawings, and the pages are a trendy dove-grey, not white. And the writing style, while also clear, is fairly brief. Personally, I'm quite happy with a slightly more chatty style as I find it reassuring, and I would've simply preferred that bright, fresh, colourful approach, but that's just me. For these reasons, and because it's currently a tad expensive (what has happened to book prices in recent years?!), I'm knocking off a star. A book can only every really be a five-star knockout if it's also a bargain!

Summary: if you're a homeowner, whether male of female (males may have to swallow their pride), and no-one ever showed you how to do DIY (and you can stomach the price tag), then yes, I would recommend this book to you, even if it spends much of its time on the shelf (you're bound to get use out of it here and there, over the years). A reasonably attractive book, it'd also make a pretty good gift for new homeowners in this position.

P.S. I have my suspicions that some Vine reviewers neg my reviews in order to try to enhance their own rankings. Sad but seemingly true. If this review gets off to a negative start (and it probably will do) with more negative votes than positives, please take that into consideration. It may not necessarily be a reflection of the review but attempted sabotage!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A book that would make a helpful gift for anyone first setting out on the minefield that is DIY, Sarah Beeny's '100 DIY Jobs' provides some basic guidance about how to carry out an assortment of jobs around the home. From her introduction, I note we share a similar experience of nailing down floorboards (in my case I drilled and then screwed as I haven't really mastered hitting nails with a hammer, preferring my thumb) but both without checking where water pipes were first (once done, never forgotten, as I can attest).

There are 100 jobs listed although many could be grouped together such as draught proofing doors and windows are two separate tasks; some tasks are truly basic (such as '88', which 'just' covers bleeding radiators; easy when you know how but then everyone has to start somewhere), others require a bit more guidance - fitting a picture rail or cat flap; wallpapering for instance.

There are tips 'how to nail it' for every task; going back to bleeding radiators, Sarah helpfully points out that a need to regularly perform this normally occasional task may mean there is a problem with the system that needs further investigation by a professional. The old chestnut about how to replace a loo seat is also covered, although I'm not sure I'd follow the advice to take the old one along to the store to make sure you get the correct replacement no matter how sound such advice might be.

Overall, this is a really great option for anyone that is moving to a first home, perhaps as a gift from Dad to reduce some of the tendency to be called out in the middle of the night to rescue their child from the foolish act of drilling through that water pipe whilst trying to fix a squeaky board.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a refreshing change to find a book by a TV expert that is free of ego and gimmicks. This is a sturdy hardback packed full of useful information on how to undertake a huge range of tasks around the home that don't need an expert or professional tradesman.
There is a useful 30 page introductory section on putting together the equipment needed for all the basic tasks, the techniques required to use the tools correctly and solid, sensible, non-patronising health and safety advice.
Straightforward, clear, uncomplicated line drawings are used to illustrate, rather than photographs, with each job having clear, numbered, step by step instructions.

Where a job can be completed with a making-do alternative to specialist equipment, the alternative is given. 'Tool up' is the phrase used for using something more specialised; 'tool down' for the make do.

So for example, a painting roller can be used to press newly laid tiles to the wall, or a sheet of board and a mallet for the make do, a specialised smoothing tool is suggested to give a professional finish to wet bath sealant, or a wetted fingertip and sheet of kitchen towel can be used instead.

Where possible, cost effective 'green' materials are suggested - white vinegar to get rid of lime scale, or lemon juice, rather than costly products that impact on the environment. There is a strong emphasis on repair rather than replace - a dowdy tiled kitchen or bathroom can be revitalised with fresh grouting and instructions are given on how to do this quickly and effectively - I wish I'd had these when I did my bathroom some years ago! For someone wanting to repair a chipped worktop, there are 'how to's' for every surface, from granite to laminate.

If you are wanting to install a blind, every type is covered, from Roman to Venetian, regardless of current fashion. There's even some useful pointers for putting together flat - pack furniture (tape the assembly instructions and any specialist tools supplied, like Allen keys, to the back, for future dis-assembly and potential re-assembly).

There isn't a single job suggested that you won't be doing in ten years time. I have Eighties DIY books, bought when I bought my house that tell me how to put up a dado rail or decorative wallpaper border round the room. No such nonsense here. It's a book to last you a lifetime. I particularly liked the 'How To Nail It' text boxes for each job, which give sensible advice on avoiding pitfalls and pointers on how to get a professional looking finish.

A great purchase for anyone renovating an outdated home, or for anyone looking to save money sensibly rather than calling in professionals when there may not be a need.
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on 13 August 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a keen DIYer, I was hoping this book would provide some useful nuggets to get some DIY jobs done. The problem from the off though is this book tries to be all things to all people.

Let me explain.. at one end of the spectrum is "Insulate Loft" - this is a big job, there's some useful stuff there but frankly nothing you couldn't get from a DIY help sheet from your local DIY store or the Internet. Likewise for building alcoves - it will empower you to get the job done without actually telling you very much.

At the other end of the spectrum 2 pages (generally the length of each section) are dedicated to unblocking a sink. It's madness - I can describe it in two lines… get plunger. If that doesn't work undo the U-bend.

So who does this help - if you are a beginner you may look at some of the basic stuff but it's so basic I don't think it's needed. Having got fed up of it, the book will end up on the bookcase never to be seen again (even when you could actually do it with for the bigger jobs).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Years ago, when I was first married I was given a book very similar to this, full of all the little household repairs and maintenance jobs that all homeowners experience from time to time. Nothing too major, just little odd jobs and tips to help a novice tackle household repairs. This book is a lot like it.

It has a sort of Retro feel to it, presentation-wise. Usually with these kinds of 'how-to' books there are photo's to go with each job but here it's entirely drawings. They're the sort of drawings you see on aeroplane emergency exit cards and I quite like how it's been done. It's all very well presented and is a nice solid reference.

I'd say it's more suited to someone with little to no experience of DIY as some of the jobs are pretty basic but it's a handy book to have around as a reference for those with a little skill too.

This would make a great gift for a new homeowner. It's very nicely presented and covers quite a range of jobs with easy to follow instructions and tips.
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on 28 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a well set-out book with clear guidance. I am beginning to do my own small jobs around the house and what I found most useful is that the book explains why you need to do some things a certain way and what can go wrong if you do not follow all the steps. This has meant for me that I do the jobs properly and they work.

There list of tools is set out at the start of each job and for the moment I am only looking seriously at the ones that can be done with basic tools that most people have and which are useful for more than one job. Maybe one day I will move on to the ones that require more specialist tools but they are in the minority and for now it suits my purpose very well.

This is so useful because it explains jobs in layman's terms and makes it possible to identify jobs that you can do yourself and those which you would be better to pay someone to do it (or wait until you are more experienced).
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VINE VOICEon 29 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well laid out, supporting graphics to each entry. It is a bit simplistic - many years ago I had a DIY book of the house that used colour photos rather than line drawings and it was my bible as a new homeowner. The best content in the book is at the beginning - the advice on tools and their purpose. Makes a good shopping list for the newbie, as good tools are essential for good workmanship.
There are plenty of Sarah Beeny video clips on the net - how about having some demonstrations of the tasks in this book and the link given. I access YouTube for How To videos, and either the publishers have missed a trick here, or they worry that the free on-line video will kill sales of the book.
I think this will be bought as a gift rather than a personal purchase. RRP is £20 - would not recommend at this price, but Amazon currently is doing £10 (which means free p&p) and that is good value.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a straightforward introduction to DIY for the relative newcomer, covering the basics of a toolkit you should consider buying and then outlining procedures for some basic jobs which may require done around the house such as replacing a toilet seat, installing a cat-flap or tiling. Each job is written out like a recipe with tools needed - sometimes with alternatives - plus a step-by-step method. Sometimes this is a bit sparse, and the line drawing illustrations can leave a bit to be desired. If you are a fan of Sarah's, the introduction may be of interest, but otherwise this could have been put together by anyone.

Unusually, the depictions of jobs are generally being done by women. Perhaps part of the intended market for the book is single women, along with beginners to DIY. In which case this book may be for you, although the price seems a bit steep
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VINE VOICEon 8 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a complete DIY novice I found this book to be a fantastic, concise and clear to follow guide to a great range of household jobs.

The book includes a really useful guide to the different types of tools needed for different jobs as well as alternatives to specialist tools where possible (e.g. wire coat hanger over plumber's auger) and extra hints and tips to give the job the best finish.

Although I love the style of the book and found the diagrams useful, photographs might have been more clear in some cases. This is a small point though as projects could be supplemented by searching You Tube video tutorials if necessary.

A beautifully designed, high quality hardback, which will be an essential reference book for years to come! Recommended to other novices and new home owners.
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A simple, practical guide to some of standard things that come up when trying to look after your home, from unblocking a sink to laying ceramic floor tiles.

There is plenty here. After an initial Back to Basics section on the tools you need, it has 8 sections: bathrooms and kitchens; doors and windows; curtains and blinds; floors and walls; painting and decorating; storage and furniture; heating and insulation; home safety and security. Some typical tasks have been chosen and each one lists the tools needed, sets out how to get started, what to do and finally so useful “how to nail it” tips that usually flag the key pitfalls and how to avoid them.

A useful book to have around for the non-expert DIYer, with lots of ideas that can be the difference between doing a job and doing it well.
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