My first soldering iron:
My dad bought it for me.
I must have built about 30 Radio-Shack projects using 741 op amps that never worked,
never suspecting that I was frying the chips with the 150 watt gun.
Eventually I learned that less is more with soldering irons.
How many fixable repairs did I destroy trying to do them with the wrong tools and no dexterity skills?
All I know is that there must be a long trail of disappointed customers who let me experiment with their stuff,
while I was on my learning-curve...
Eventually I began to successfully repair items occasionally,
then with moderate success.
Do you remember your first speaker re-cone?