You know what sucks the most about winter? Not being able to do the stuff you enjoy.
For those unfortunate enough to not live in the warmer parts of the world, it seems that inclement weather conditions constantly put a damper on plans this time of year. Even the things normally reserved for winter weather can be screwed up by bad conditions.
The good news about this is that the time spent trapped indoors gives you time to plan what you wants to do when the spring thaw comes around.
So, since I and a good chunk of America just survived a massive storm that covered everything in glassy ice and left me stranded at work for the night (one advantage of working at an inn: emergency housing), let’s mentally escape the frozen wasteland together by sharing some awesome ideas for spring and summer.
Build A Foundry/Forge
This is one I intend on doing with my dad as soon as conditions allow.
We live within reasonable range of scrap yards and garages that are often stuck with useless car parts, ruined bike frames, mounds of tin and aluminum cans, and worn-out lawnmower blades. Normally, most of these would be left to rust away.
So we thought, “why not refresh and recycle them?”
There are several tutorials out there that can teach you how to build a rudimentary forge or foundry furnace for reforging and recasting old metal for art projects.
While the designs differ greatly the basics are the same; a durable metal body (we intend on using an old air compressor tank), a thick refractory lining for insulation (either ceramic fiber or a 50/50 mix of sand and plaster), a heat source (coal or propane seem to be popular) and – for those who go with coal – a blower to force air over the flame (depending on the size of your furnace, you can use anything from a hairdryer to a shop vacuum and attach it to a steel intake pipe).
There are also tutorials on techniques for forging and casting. I personally want to try my hand at forging Cable Damascus Steel.
Cook With The Power of the Sun
Here’s a grade school science classic.
As soon as the weather allows, we love to start grilling and cooking outside. So why not combine the great weather and cookery with a homemade solar cooker.
As with the forge, there are many designs to choose from that operate on the same basic principles. The most popular designs are the classic solar box cooker (in essence, a simple insulated box lined with aluminum) and more modern parabolic cookers which act more like a solar stove top than the oven-like box.
Fun for Outdoorsmen
One of my favorite places to find projects is at The Art of Manliness, a one-stop guide for the classic gentleman. But, more rougher-edged folks can also find good times in their outdoorsmanship guides and projects.
Want to try your hand at spear hunting and fishing? Check out their small game hunting gig.
Need a portable heat and light source in the wild? There’s a nifty infographic on how to make a classic torch.
Want to fuel your mischievous 1950’s inner child? Do like me and build a natural fork slingshot.
The great outdoors awaits any with the courage a resourcefulness to meet it. Go for it, kids.