This month’s featured Q&A is with DIYcave Shop Steward Damien Teitelbaum who received a grant from MBSEF to build some artsy bike racks around Bend. With Damien’s membership, he constructed the racks right at the DIYcave with assistance from stewards and many tools.
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up and went to school in Sonoma, CA and then moved down to Santa Cruz where I studied Earth Science at UCSC. After this, I moved to a super small ski town in Colorado called Crested Butte. I lived there for about ten years and essentially ski bummed and worked in restaurants. Toward the end of my stint in Crested Butte, I started doing welding and metal work with a friend of mine. At this point, I was re-inspired to build and create things. My whole life I have enjoyed doing artwork and constructing things and I felt that I was due to put this back in my life. This past December, my girlfriend and I decided to move away from Colorado, and we chose to move to Bend. I’ve been enjoying it so far, and I am excited to be part of the DIYcave.
Tell us about your bike rack project. What was your inspiration behind the project?
At the DIYcave, I have been making freestanding bike racks out of old recycled leaf springs. (Leaf springs are suspension pieces from cars and trucks) I have sold a few of them already, and MBSEF gave me a grant to build and install three of them around Bend. My inspiration for the project would have to be Crested Butte. There are several of these style bike racks in Crested Butte made from a few different welders, and I loved the idea. I thought that I would bring it to Bend seeing as how Bend has a big art scene as well as a big bicycling scene.
How did you prepare for the project?
Preparing for the project was the hard part. I needed to round up old leaf springs to build my bike racks so I had to do a lot of legwork. I went to every auto shop, mechanic, suspension shop, body shop, alignment shop, junkyard, wrecking yard, dealership, etc. until I rounded up enough leaf springs to build my racks. After I had the leaf springs, I ordered some steel from Swift Steel in Redmond and got to work at the DIYcave.
What was your skill knowledge before becoming a member of DIYcave?
I have always been a tinkerer. I loved taking things apart and putting them back together from an early age. I learned basic wood shop skills, as well as metal shop skills back in high school and I came to be pretty proficient at wrenching on cars. All my life, I have been the kind of person to do it myself rather than to pay someone else to do it for me. I was already knowledgeable about general shop safety; I knew how to use a wide variety of hand tools as well as power tools, and I knew how to use a good range of the metal working equipment. Since I have been involved with the Cave, my knowledge and experience have increased greatly.
What resources at DIYcave did you find helpful for your project?
Ha! All of them. The DIYcave is a wealth of resources. Not only space, and the tools, but the owners as well as the members themselves are all resources that I used to start and finish my project. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people associated with the Cave, who can either help physically or just give good advice about any project. The reason that I got introduced to the grant from Mt. Bachelor, was from a woman who volunteers at the Cave. She suggested that I apply for the grant for my bike rack project, and so I did. The DIYcave is full of really awesome people who each has a different skill set, but all have the same mindset to be creative!
What were the easy and hard parts of your project?
The easy part of my project was to spend time in the Cave working. I love being there. There are always creative people in there with great ideas and supporting attitudes. It was fun and easy to log hours in the shop while hanging out with some great people. The hard part of my project had to be driving around town for hours and hours trying to round up leaf springs. It was like a wild goose chase. It took a lot of time and effort to eventually get enough springs to build a few bike racks out of them.
What advice would you give someone who wants to join DIYcave and start a project?
Another easy one! Do it! The cave is a great place for someone who has a lot of skill and experience as well as for someone who wants to learn and get comfortable being in a shop setting. It’s such a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that everybody feels welcome to be in the shop. For someone who is interested in becoming part of the DIYcave, I would suggest getting the simple, Tier 1 Membership and then think of a project or two that they want to work on. Then just spend time at the Cave working on their project. There are always really knowledgeable people at the Cave whom can answer questions or give advice or guidance. If there are specific tools or machinery that need to be used, taking classes or getting a quick tutorial on the equipment is always available. The DIYcave has a wide variety of class offerings which are super helpful to people who aren’t as experienced. Ultimately, the Cave is a great spot to learn about the industrial arts, as well as see amazing projects come to fruition.