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DIY or Extreme Makovers: You Can Be Tim the Tool Man - or the Toolbelt Diva

Updated on June 24, 2012

Debbie Dunning

(public domain)
(public domain)

Home Improvement

I miss Home Improvement on TV, although I can still catch reruns late at night or on a friend's cable stations. HI and 3rd Rock from the Sun are two of the most entertaining shows I ever watched in their prime, which were few, because so many shows were so bad.

Learning to become handy around the house and auto by trial and error was a lot like the crew from 3rd Rock watching Tim the Tool Man and trying to imitate his techniques without understanding the uses for which each tool was designed. Luckily, I was able to follow a repair and maintenance manual, the related books at the library, and even the roaming library of tools available in a Mobile Tool Library Van in our community.

So, it was a lot of fun and saved a lot of money in a steakhouse where I was assistant manager when some wall lights malfunctioned and I was able to require them. We had them inspected for code compliance and we were OK'd. That felt really good!

A friend of mine left home when she was only 16 and made a living as an electrician's apprentice, because she had taken apart lamps and other electric devices at home and learned how to wire them correctly.

If we can do it, so can you! -- And not with all the accidents that Tim Taylor had on Tool Time. You can do it with some awesome resources that I will list below.

City of Columbus Mobile Tool Library

Columbus, Ohio and other cities offer a Mobile Tool Library, funded by tax dollars. Much like a Book-Mobile, this can be thought of as the Tool-Mobile. Tim the Tool Man and Al would love it.

The service is designed to facilitate low-cost home maintenance and improvements with tools and equipment free-of-charge to renters, homeowners, and landlords. Can't afford to buy a drill for a one-time job? - Get one from the Mobile Tool Library. You can even borrow household items like gloves and push brooms.

Columbus provides 200 different types of hand tools and power tools that can be used for home repair, maintenance, landscaping, and painting. Borrowers need to show proof of home ownership of have the permission of their landlords.

Borrowers meet the Mobile Tool Library truck at any of the twelve (12) stops 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM from Tuesdays through Saturdays or they can go to the warehouse. The Mobile Tool Library Technician signs out the tools for 1, 3, or 7 days. Some Painting Equipment may be kept for 2 weeks.

Heavy and large equipment like ladders and tillers are delivered to the borrower's residence upon request.

Check your City Listings in your telephone director to see if you have a Mobile Tool Library in your area. At least 14 different US States have Mobile Tool Libraries.

Home Improvement & Tool Time

Home Improvement on DVD

Pamela Anderson and Other Home Improvement Stars

Home Improvement (1991 – 1999) included Tool Time as a fictitious show in Detroit, Michigan hosted by Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor ( Tim Allen) and Al Borland (Richard Karn).

Tool Time was sponsored by the fictitious Binford Tools, which was patterned after manufacturers such as Sears’s Craftsman and others.

One of the very famous Tool Time Girls on the show was none other than Pamela Anderson (who left to go to Baywatch), followed by Debbie Dunning.

Bob Vila, of This Old House fame, occasionally visited the show and was Al’s idol, although Tim considered him an arch rival.

A favorite character played by Earl Hindman, who died a few years after Home Improvement went off the air was Wilson, whose face you never fully saw, because it was hidden behind fences, bushes, newspapers and other items as a running joke.

For a full rundown on cast and crew, see Home Improvement.


Awesome Home Improvement Sites

On the House

The Carey Brothers, James and Morris, provide a comprehensive home and garden site with daily tips and an archive for maintenance and repair of all kinds of devices in your life. They also offer a weekly Radio Broadcast and PodCasts, links to great suppliers, eNewsletters, weekly projects, and even cooking tips.

This is likley as close as possible as we can come to a real life Tool Time. I wonder if they ever have Tim Allen on as a guest? That would be fun.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

The Money Pit

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a Cable TV show that has brought a lot of joy and enhanced the quality of life for the homeowners it has helped. One such homeowner was a returning War in Iraq veteran, whose entire home was refurbished upon his return from the war. I was able to see this home at the Open House given there on the day it was completed. The workmanship and the results were eye-popping. See Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

This show also helped rebuild homes destroyed in Hurricane Katrina and other disasters and these homeowners, some of the advanced senior citizens, will be forever grateful.

In addition to the good work of this show, viewers can learn about home repairs and modifications before consulting contractors, probably saving some money. They will at least come away with good information and some innovative ideas. Home ownership can be a joy or it can be a nightmare, as in The Money Pit. I hope yours is a good experience and your home a refuge form teh craziness of the world.

There is also a Radio Show called The Money Pit with Tom and Lisa.

Older Shows

This Old House is a web site connected with the television show of the same name and gives a significant amount of information about home repair and maintenance as well as remodeling ideas and DIY projects. They offer videos as well and printed materials and lists of resources for anything inside and outside your home.

They also offer a magazine subscription.

Bob Vila, who was originally with This Old House, now hosts with its large DIY Library and his own TV Show: Bob Vila. information about the show is listed on his web site.

Another related show is Home Time, which has been on PBS since 1986.

Other Useful and Entertaining Home Improvement Shows

  • While You Were Out on TLC
  • Toolbelt Diva with Norma Vally on DIY network
  • Free Style on HGTV - Re-designing on a budget.
  • Curb Appeal on HGTV
  • Trading Spaces on TLC

Tim's Chainsaw Advice

Expert Village Web Tips - Replace a Circuit Breaker Quickly

Tool Belt Diva Suggestion


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    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      Thank you for creating that one,Patty. That is great. I voted up.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Hi there! I miss watching Home Improvement. I need to look up that poem.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

      Hello Patty, I love this nostalgic look back at the television show 'Home Improvement' and how you connect that with real life DYY situations. I landed on this page kind of accidently following up a reference to Debbie Dunning in a poem published today on Hub Pages. It's funny how these things happen, but I'm glad it did. It shows that cultural icons connect us, and now with Google and search the 'six degrees of seperation' is a reality. Regards, snakeslane

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Thanks for visiting, Denise!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      wow, I really enjoyed the wonderful hub, Patty. I connected with it b/c I linked my hub with Tim Allens name. Mine is the '13 Reasons to Hail the number #13' Along with bringing a smile to my face from the memories of Tim's show, the mention of special projects such as Extreme Makeover, was an added bonus. Thanks. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Morris Streak - Thanks for reading and appreciating my Hub about tools and the tool lending library! It's a great resource for people that have the knowledge but are missing a tool or who can't invest in tools right away. I hope our library system can continue this service.


    • Morris Streak profile image

      Morris Streak 8 years ago from UK

      I had been commenting on this other hub on home repairs, agreeing with him that people could indeed save a lot of money if they paid attention to the task instead of worrying about how to use the tools, when I found your hub and read about that tool library. What a wonderful idea. Obviously I have many tabs open on my browser. Anyway, the resources you provided here are really good. I'm into home improvement myself, particularly about windows.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Yes, I think you're right -- and perhaps to start with something small as well -- Like cleaning the aerator on your water faucet in the kitchen or bathroom, then attempting larger projects..

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      They were good shows. Just watched a re-run last night.

      One thing we have to keep in mind when hesitant about becoming that "Tool Man/Woman" is that you have to give it a try. My mother can figure anything out all because she is determined (and stubborn) to fix it.

      Thanks for a good hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      There are so many good shows and websites about home improvements - the Carey Brothers On The House is my favorite. But, I miss Tool Time. :)

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Thanks for this hub Patty - really like Tim the Toolman and of course his long suffering wife - great vids as well.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Thanks Froggyy213 - it's a fun topic this week.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 8 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

      Great hub Patti!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Great, mulberry! Thanka for visiting. re-grouting can be a mess, but you did it!

      I'm really liking the good postings on tagfoot, too. Glad you like the links here. This was fun to write. :)

    • profile image

      mulberry 8 years ago

      Came over from Tagfoot...I loved Tim the Tool Man Taylor, so dumb, so funny, so lovable. I recently did my first job re-grouting in my bathroom and I was a major succeess much to my surprise. I'm soooo proud. Thanks for the links to some related sites!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Sure Jimmy, no problem. Thanks for the encouragement as well.

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 8 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Patty, I hope you don't mind but I submitted this story to digg and added a link to my BLOGGER BLOG, I enjoyed it so much, thanks for sharing.....jimmy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      And I enjoy reading your Hubs on your home improvement and gardening related accomplishments. Keep on doing what you do and I will enjoy the future Hubs from you. :)

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

      I enjoyed both shows as well and have just begun to develop my own skills re; home improvements beyond landscaping.