a tinkering, puttering, hardware sort
He was employed by Bonny’s family, managing one of their hardware stores. He had always been a tinkering, puttering, hardware sort of man. Back in graduate school, his advisor had once complained because Morgan had spent a whole conference period squatting in the corner, talking over his shoulder while he worked on a leaky radiator pipe.
— Anne Tyler, Morgan’s Passing (1980) : 34
listed at hardware store literature : fiction