70% of the time, the skies in Rochester look like this. Taken yesterday, believe it or not. Today was a rare sunny day, though!
So, I decided I'm going to try to use as much local material in my take-down desk. I'll use lumberyard pine for the top, though. There's no maple pieces large enough for the top, besides that giant L shape (bout 20 inches diameter, I think), and I can't split or move that behemoth.
I could use hickory, but that stuff takes forever to get close to flat. Maple splits so much nicer.
While hiking, one of my brothers found this. Hoping it's wrought iron.
Righto, so the plexiglass got messed up, had to make a new door that will let me salvage the plexiglass. Same joinery, although this time I carved a nice walnut pull:
If you can't tell, I was trying to give it the appearance of a jewel.
So, to the title of the post:
One of the things I've encountered time after time since I started woodworking two years ago, and now blacksmithing, is what the hell to specialize in.
Furniture, boxmaking, chairmaking.
Planemaking. Shoji, carpentry...
It's nice to be general, but almost everyone has that 'specialty', the one field they do great in, the one they love, and the one they have a full toolkit for.
I love music. It's pretty much equal to my love for nature, and is some ways the two are very closely intertwined. I'm not the best at it (Spend more time woodworking than practicing), but I love listening to it and fooling around. One of my favorite genres is Irish folk; numerous pubs have Irish folk sessions, if your good enough to know almost every jig and polka there is, bring your instrument, pull up a chair, and start playing.
So, at one of these sessions (I am NOT good enough with my tin whistle to join in), I was listening and intrigued by a rather unique instrument. When the session took a pause, I asked the man, "Excuse me, but what instrument is that?"
He said it was a Greek bouzouki. He saw my reaction of surprise, and explained why he chose his instrument:
"If you ever want to be good at something, pick an obscure instrument! If your the only player in the city, you'll be the best player."
Slightly paraphrased, of course.
Right now, I'm leaning towards instrument making...My favorite project so far was a kantele, and I am planning on making a 10 string model. I'll try finding the picture of it, it was given as gift to a friend.
Chairmaking is something I definitely want to get into one day, though. Very useful.
Now to blacksmithing...
I eventually want to make saws. That'll be a long time in the future, as of now I will be making a proper saw vise and learn to sharpen, flatten, etc. I am working on a setting hammer and a tensioning hammer. Judging by the tensioning marks on my disposables, a small rounded hammer should be good. Question is whether the mild steel I'm using (I think it's mild steel, it was in the carbon steel drops) will work.
I think I'll have to do any saw sharpening or hammering inside, however. Freezing temperatures would probably make the steel too brittle.
For now, though, I am going to focus on small work. Small forge, focus on making small laminated plane blades. Any chisels or carving tools will probably be single steel, but in a Viking style.
I love this setup:
From here: http://www.fjellborg.org/LodinsForge.htm
Two very simple, easy to make bellows. I could easily do something like this, I'd probably use dirt mixed with ash though.
This guy, I love his bellows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-mQkzFeMZQ
The one thing with these bellows, though: The top one, is the most realistic bellows for me. The bottom...Maybe. The big thing is to have a forge that is out of the snow.
Now...Here's the thing. I don't know how big a fire I could get with the twin bellows. I'd also need to either figure out a way to set a pole up so it pumps one bellow at a time, to have a continuous air flow.
Big thing, the fabric may not hold up to the outdoors. The topmost bellows would be easier to store inside, however. double lung bellows are pretty much right out the window, despite how well they work.
Now, to look at the costs...I'll have to figure out how much material, metal, etc. Then I'd have to compare it to a fuigo.
My first box bellows were terrible. Entirely misguided. I didn't even use a gasket. When I tried adding fabric, the piston refused to move. It seems whenever I want a close fit, I get gaps, and when I want gaps, I get a close fit. Argh.
I'll have to calculate how much board feet I'll need for a fuigo, or how much plywood it'd take, and compare that to the costs of the double bellows. I would probably use plywood, the solid wood would get painted over anyways.
No way am I leaving solid wood anywhere outside without as much paint as possible. Even with paint wood tends to rot.
Gabe, you wouldn't remember how much yours cost, would you?
I hope your fuigo is working well!