51 Skills Every Man Should Master

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It’s hard to define what makes a “manly man” — everyone seems to have their own opinion. In an attempt to bring some clarity to the conversation, I’ve created a list of simple, do-it-yourself skills every man should master. Will knowing these things make you a manlier? Probably not. But at least you will know how to use the tools and resources around you, which might be critical to your success and, in some cases, your survival.


51 Skills Every Man Should Master:

1. Swing a Hammer

While this might look relatively easy, hammering a nail is a skill.

2. Drive a Stick Shift

The initial learning curve is often stressful — just remember that practice makes perfect.

3. Parallel Park Like a Man

It’s 95 percent formula, with 2 percent flair.

4. Back Up a Trailer

As you back up, move the steering hand in the direction you want the trailer to go.

5. Tie a Knot that Won’t Slip

A common one is the bowline — the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and goes back down the hole.

6. Sharpen a Knife

The knife is the most elemental of all human tools — keeping it sharp is essential.

7. Grill the Perfect Steak

Dip your meat in a combination of butter and oil, coating it with a generous layer of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and searing it over the hottest possible fire.

8. Split Firewood

Use a maul, not an ax.

9. Shoot Straight

Do not jerk back the trigger finger. Instead, squeeze with a steady pressure until the trigger releases.

10. Change the Oil in Your Car

What better way to commune with your car than by changing the oil.

11. Know CPR

You don’t have to be an expert, just know the basics until help arrives.

12. Know the Heimlich

If the choking person is unable to cough, get behind him, put your arms around his waist and clasp your hands together in a wrapped fist just above the navel. Sharply thrust up and back to generate an artificial cough.

13. Frame a Wall

So you can divide any room into an indulgent man space.

14. Patch a Radiator Hose

Because a quick fix can keep your car together until you find a mechanic.

15. Protect your PC

Go to the security section of your Control Panel and enable the firewall. Do this before your PC ever touches the Internet.

16. Tape Drywall

Easy to do, hard to do well.

17. Change a Tire

It’s pretty simple, provided you’re prepared to exert a little effort.

18. Change a Fuse

Knowing how to fix a blown fuse will shorten the amount of time you need searching for candles.

19. Plaster a Hole in the Wall

Emergency plastering skills can come in handy if there’s a sudden hole that you don’t want your landlord to know about.

20. Fix a Leaky Faucet

Because discovering you have water everywhere is neither appealing nor good for your carpet.

21. Jump Start a Car

Knowledge is power, and power is not being stranded in a parking lot with a dead battery.

22. Fix a Flat on a Bike

Just because your trusty bike is eco-friendly doesn’t mean it won’t get a puncture and let you down.

23. Tie a Necktie

Just remember that a little practice makes perfect.

24. Carve a Turkey

Just remember to practice before Thanksgiving.

25. Fillet a Fish

One side is always easier to cut than the other. It’s a matter of physiology.

26. Fell a Tree

Just make sure you’re standing in the right place when it falls.

27. Change a Diaper

If you’ve ever unclogged a toilet, diapers should be no problem.

28. Stop a Running Toilet

There is almost nothing as annoying in this world as a toilet that will not stop flushing.

29. Wire a Ceiling Fixture

Just remember to turn off the main.

30. Mix Concrete

It should be the consistency of peanut butter.

31. Sew a Button

At some point, you’re going to lose one of your buttons. Putting it back on can be learned in five steps.

32. Fix a Dead Outlet

If your lamp goes out, and the bulb not fried, it’s probably the outlet.

33. Unclog a Drain

A drain cleaner from a supermarket should do — if not, you’ll need to break out a plunger.

34. Take a Quality Picture

Fill the frame.

35. Paint a Straight Line

Real men don’t use masking tape.

36. Replace a Fan Belt

Follow your owner’s manual — the belt routing is often complex.

37. Iron a Shirt

Use an ironing board — start rough, end gently.

38. Set Up a Ladder, Safely

Set your ladder at a safe angle — usually between 75-78 degrees (or when you can just grasp the rung at shoulder level with arms fully extended).

39. Build a Campfire

It’s a great survival skill to break out if the unexpected happens.

40. Steer a Car out of a Skid

Look where you want the car to go. If you stare at a pole, you will hit the pole.

41. Put Out a Fire

Remember the acronym, PASS (Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep) — once learned it’s hard to forget.

42. Wax a Car

Remember to park in the shade to keep the hot sunshine off the paint.

43. Use a Circular Saw

Use a square as straightedge.

44. Use a Drill Driver

Use the low-speed, high-torque for driving screws and the high-speed, low-torque for drilling.

45. Use a Sledgehammer

Learn the “driving swing.”

46. Escape a Rip Current

Stay calm — don’t fight the current. Swim parallel to the shoreline. When you’re out of the current, head in toward shore.

47. Shovel Correctly

Make sure the blade is sharp. Size the blade to the density of what you’re shoveling. Keep your knees bent and posture upright.

48. Give a Great Massage

I’m not talking the two-minute guilt-trip massage — she deserves forty-five minutes of pleasure.

49. Shine a Shoe

Because it needs to be done.

50. Throw a Spiral

Because every man loves football.

51. Google Correctly

Goggle makes everyone an instant expert.

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