several things going on that i want to ramble about, some well outside the subject of this blog. you probably don't care, but i write this anyways.
i'm getting more serious about applying to colleges for next fall for industrial design. the finalists at the moment are RISD in Providence, RI, and Parsons in New York City. i'm scheduling visits, interviews, and shop tours for the week after Thanksgiving.
tonight in Metal Sculpture my teacher, a great, smart guy, recommended i put the bike on the back burner and concentrate on work to submit to these schools.
focus on 3 pieces, probably furniture-ish, that i can make with the skills he can teach me and that i can do in our shop: MIG welding, forging/smithing, grinding, drilling, cutting torch, hot and cold bending.
"you're into bikes, so incorporate that into what you make."
models (scale or otherwise) OK, especially because i'm making a couple full-size pieces in my wood class.
here's the thing. he's an artist. not that there's something wrong with working under that title, but i couldn't help but think while he was talking: "yea, but what's the need for any of this stuff?" the things i've made that i've really gotten into are things that i needed, that solved a problem, that filled a gap in my life.
my podiatrist said to me, "use a stool when you're working, to elevate one foot about 8 inches." so i designed a stool around that dimension and other constraints--e.g. i wanted it to fold or come apart easily for storage. that's one thing i'm making in wood/furniture class.
the other thing is a big, heavy cutting board made of laminated end-grain hard maple. i love to cook, so i spend a lot of time chopping. i had used a really nice Calphalon circular block at a previous apartment, so i thought about ways to improve it.
i like the idea of building stuff i plan to use every day. i'll think about and appreciate the making of them every time i use them.
this is the same reason i undertook to build a bike; i want to start doing an occaisonal tour, plus i want a geared long-haul commute bike in my stable to compliment the single-speed i've got.
so what do i need that's made of metal and that i can make in our shop?
a front rack comes to mind...á la CETMA and maybe Wald...
i've started working for DC Snacks, a late-night delivery company mostly serving the GW campus area of DC. i deliver food by bike for 8 hours at a time. they provide big Chrome bags to carry the food in, but this struck me as a terrible way to do it on my first night--a front rack would make for quicker deliveries, easier access to the orders and destination info, less back strain/pain, and maybe better handling. all at a minimal weight penalty.
next questions...is he right? should i focus on producing some small and concrete pieces for the February deadlines, and leave the bike for later?
or perhaps a medium will work...
the tricky thing about reviewing my progress is that this is the slowest, most aggravating part--learning to braze and making tools. once i can braze decently and have the right tools at my disposal, the frame isn't going to take long, i figure. otoh, i usually think that
am i getting better at brazing? hard to say. i tried heating in the forge today with no real success. this was two mated pieces of black pipe that i MIG-tacked together and tried to join with brass. i later ground off the oxides and flux and re-tried with the rosebud tip to heat and then a cutting tip for the actual brazing. i got a bit to flow and then the teacher, who had been watching while i heated, said i had probably cooked the flux. he's not a good brazer, by his own admission; he said i was running into the same problem he had always run into.
that problem seems to be heat control. i can tell that i'm generally too heavy with the heat at times when i should be lighter. it seems there's a sharp divide between preheating, when the goal is to get the metal hot pretty quickly, and brazing, when more gentle heat is critical.
another thing i'm investigating: using temperature indicator crayons to help me see how hot things are getting. Airgas has a bunch and i've gotta order from them soon anyways. The number at their Reading, PA warehouse is 610-374-2137; tomorrow i'll call to have them send the stuff i need to my local store in Alexandria.
TEMTS1100 56% Ag almost melting
TEMTS1150 56% Ag melts
TEMTS1500 white flux almost cooked
TEMTS1600 white flux stops working; C-04 melts
TEMTS1700 black flux almost cooked
TEMTS1800 black flux stops working
HA SSBF1 Harris black flux 1 lb.
(or ALL69080222 All-State black flux 1 lb.)
HA 5635 Harris 56% Ag 5 oz.
(or RAD64001748 1/16" X 18" Radnor® by Harris® Safety-Silv® 56 Brazing Rod Job Pak
or HA 5631 Harris 56% Ag 1 oz.)
thin leather gloves?