Originally published in February 2013 Editorial of Handywoman's Companion; it's a 10-principle mission statement for the Tinker-Bricoleur.


I. The most important stakeholder is the client. I help them improve their controllable environment externally, even as they build it internally. I work with compassion. I am aware of the clients lifestyle needs and I facilitate change. The client’s satisfaction is the most important factor, not my own self-gratification.

II. When I work, I am a doctor of environment. I do not put band-aids on the resulting issues, but seek the source of problems, and implement root solutions for the resulting issues. I become part of the creative process of improving an ailing environment.

III. My handiwork is not specialized or licensed. If a task or project is beyond my scope of expertise, I will communicate this with the stakeholders. I will seek and recruit the necessary qualified professional to assist with the project.

IV. I do not work in an ideal world. All projects are limited by at least one of the following: time, quality tools/material or budget. I give the best quality craftsmanship for my ability under the limited resources of the project, and I don’t blame the lack of resources for poor craftsmanship. I do my best in being resourceful.

V. Measure twice, cut once. I don’t waste time or materials through haste. Haste makes waste; patience is a virtue. I pay attention to the details and work methodically.

VI. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. When I make design decisions, the first consideration is minimal maintenance. I keep it simple. No one’s environment or lifestyle has ever been enhanced by complexity.

VII. I always give a place for the blade to go. I practice safety and do not put others or myself in harm’s way. I have properly trained myself to use tools safely. I keep equipment well-maintained and potentially dangerous areas well marked.

VIII. Cleanliness is Godliness. I keep a clean and organized work area, and I’m respectful of the client’s environment. I am cognizant of others using the workspace, and plan/communicate projects around their needs. I practice civilized collaboration.

IX. By failing to prepare, I am preparing to fail. I spend the majority of my time on a project doing preparation work. Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

X. No job is so simple that it cannot be done wrong. I will do it right, and success is to do it right the first time.