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The bros’ DIY dos and don’ts

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There’s no shortage of aphoristic advice among DIYers. Common chestnuts like “measure twice; cut once” and “where there’s a will there’s a way” always ring true, but here are a few more Dos and Don’ts courtesy of the Buckles brothers.

DO: Use your resources (AKA it’s OK to steal)

For the Buckles bros, there’s no DIY too fantastical, too weird or too crazy to tackle. It’s possible to build whatever you dream up, or at the very least, a pretty sweet adaptation of it. “Don’t worry about whether you can do it or not,” says Kevin. “Through the Internet, you can find ways to build pretty much anything.” Kevin suggests using video tutorials and beloved DIY websites like Instructables to seek advice and tips. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone when you’re in your garage tinkering with all this stuff.”

Andrew agrees. “The first thing I do is look online and see what people have done,” he says. “It’s hard to find a project that somebody hasn’t already completed and posted proper instructions for.” Even the zany, one-of-a-kind Zambroni? Yes, Kevin says, even a version of the Zambroni existed online before Brojects. “Andrew and I just steal ideas constantly from the Internet,” Kevin laughs.

DON’T: Take shortcuts on safety (AKA or else you’ll slice off a finger tip)

Both bros agree that you should never compromise your safety. Always make sure you have you the correct eye and hearing protection, and you know how to properly handle any power tools you’re using.

“I knocked a tip off my finger because I used a miter saw incorrectly once,” Kevin says. “It bled a lot, I could see the bone, and I fainted. It was a good way to learn a lesson.”

DO: Be adaptable (AKA save all that junk)

Whenever you’re working on a DIY project, prepare for the unexpected. On Brojects, Kevin and Andrew are working in a remote area where they can’t just drop down to the hardware store whenever they’re missing something, so they often rely on the materials they have on-hand. “Be adaptable and don’t get too stuck on one idea,” says Kevin. “You go through a zigzag pattern of ‘Is it going to work? Oh no, that’s not going to work? Can we save it? It works!’ and in the end, everything will happen for the better.” When in doubt, he suggests thinking creatively: “get all the junk you have, put it in a pile and figure out how can this turn into something?”

“That’s the most fun kind of Broject,” says Kevin. “This kind of Frankenstein-ing things together is awesome.”

Andrew’s on the same page, too. “We get a lot inspiration out of the old junk laying around and usually takes just one unusable piece of junk to spawn an idea.”

DON’T: Be afraid to ask for help (AKA lean on your bros)

Whenever Kevin and Andrew run into serious problems on Brojects, they turn to their friend and engineering lifeline, Walker. In the real world, it’s equally important to be able to ask for your help when a project is going south fast. “Know your limitations,” says Andrew. “I do it all the time, I take on a project and by the time you’ve made a couple mistakes and you’ve wasted material, your bill at the end is twice the cost if you had a hired a professional to do it personally in the first place.” Long story short: ask a bro for help when you need it.

DO: Keep learning new skills

Once you’ve mastered the basics, keep learning new skills, techniques and tools. “Anytime you take on a new project, you’re going to have to develop a new set of skills or think of a problem in a way you haven’t before,” says Andrew. “Don’t be afraid to learn new things because once you get your feet wet, you’ll realize that the water is not that cold.”

For Kevin, learning new skills is mandatory for every project he takes on. “When I’m working on projects at home, I’ll try to figure out a little technique or buy a new tool. If a project has budget of a couple hundred dollars, I’ll try put a new tool into that budget too. It keeps the excitement level up and this way, you always keep learning.”

Get your DIY fix with Cottage Life’s Brojects