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Rory Laird – Rebuilding a Harley Building a Fire Pit & Cooking Some Chickens!

Dive: Craftsman - Tinkerer
Description: Created own projects using various craftsman skills and tools (formerly: Craftsman - Other)
Level: Level 1
Level Requirements: Has completed at least 1 unique project of adequate significance and shared it with the Break Diving community, or is enrolled in a type of craftsman study program
Certified On: May 2, 2020

Editor’s Note: On all dive certifications, we try to edit the writing as little as possible to preserve authenticity, personality, and writing style. We typically fix spelling errors, but minimally modify grammar and sentence structure (just enough to ensure readability).

Rory Laird

Name: Rory Laird Break Diving Level: Recruit Number of Certified Dives: 3 From: United States In: United States

1. When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive At This Level? What was your inspiration and motivation?

Although I have no formal education in any particular craft, I have never let that stop me from crafting the things I want/need in life. I have been in pursuit of this dive for as long as I can remember. Every craft-related pursuit I’ve had has been a product of necessity/desire. I don’t think I ever set out to be a craftsman for the sake of being a craftsman — it was a by-product of wanting/needing things I either couldn’t find, or couldn’t afford. The reason I’ve decided to pursue this as a dive here among my Break Diving friends, is that I enjoy sharing my craftwork, but really seem to feel most justified in sharing things which pertain to the dives I’ve either completed, or am working on. I like to think that when people see my profile, my certified dives, and my posts, they’ll think “Hey, that makes sense!”

2. How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?

This has been a life-long pursuit. I chose the path of the general craftsman because I typically never make the same thing twice. I don’t consider myself to be limited to working in a particular material or medium — I use whatever medium/material is required to accomplish the current task at hand. It has taken my whole adult life to acquire the skills needed for this journeyman-style approach, but I am now skilled in working with woods, metals, plastics, painting, sculpting, designing and building. 

Essentially, when an idea comes into mind, I file through all the available materials and mediums, looking for what I consider to be the option which will produce the best outcome. If I find that the best option is a material or medium with which I am unfamiliar, I take some time to learn that new skill — adding my new creation to my collection but, more importantly, adding to my repertoire of skills.

I can’t remember if this fire pit (see below) was the first big craftsmen-type project I completed, but I do know that it was the first time I was aware of wanting to see “before & after” photographs of a project I was working on. However, I had experience in high school working as a landscaper, and surely that helped inspire me and provide some training in shaping the land (see photos below).

3. What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

Failure. When you’re learning things by experience, on your own as I have, failure is the foundation of all education. For all my successes, there is a long history of failures that improved my understanding. As long as I keep at this dive, failure is always a cornerstone of my success, but it never gets any easier to see your initial attempts fall short of expectation.

4. What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

The work. I enjoy working towards a goal. I love keeping my hands engaged and my mind focused on improving processes and practices. I feel really alive when I’m sweating outside and moving rocks, just as much as when I’m engraving a plastic quena with a knife and a candle. Knowing the desired outcome doesn’t fix me to any action or expectation — I love knowing that the end product will always come with some unexpected element of surprise.

5. What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?

Practice workmanship, practice patience. Stay on the task until it’s complete. Most of the time, half way through a project I find myself thinking it’s no good. The only option is to finish it according to plan to the best of your ability, and stay flexible to changing your expectations based on what you learn from the material/medium you’re working with. So stay flexible, stay patient!

6. What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive At This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.

Nothing beats good old experience, but Google is probably a close second! You can always get an idea what to expect by checking out a similar project on the internet. With that said, even then, you’ll learn so much more when you work through it for yourself. When your process deviates from what you saw on the web, refer back to your patience and flexibility. If you can’t find similar works online, that’s something to really get excited about. Examine and use your available resources, come to the best decision you can, and push forward with faith!

Resource 1: Break Diving - Many craftsman are on this site. Come chat with them.

Resource 2: Google - A great resource to help you find your way.

Resource 3: -

Resource 4: -

Resource 5: -

7. Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive (At This Level).

A few years ago, before I had kids, I had a Harley Davidson Sportster. I decided I wanted to learn more about it and start doing my own work on it. That year, when my wife went to visit her family in Kansas and I stayed behind, I decided to learn more about the motor by pulling off some of the [side covers?] and looking at the internals.

After pulling the bolts out, the cover resisted being removed. Having no experience, I didn’t know that what I was removing was the timing gear cover. The reason it was resisting was that the motor heads were still installed, so all the force of the cam gears’ return springs was pushing against the gears, which were attached in part to that cover. So when I finally broke it loose and pulled the cover off, the timing gears came falling out of the motor, and my little exploration had put me in the position of needing to almost fully tear down the motor.

I couldn’t afford to pay someone to fix my mistake any more then than I could now, so all I could do was go online and buy a maintenance manual for my model, and learn about engine repair. The manual took a few weeks to arrive. Before I could put the motor back together, I had to first disassemble it further, removing the heads to alleviate the pressure in order to slide the gears back into place.

Once the heads were removed (and I was thoroughly terrified that I had forever destroyed my bike), the manual described small dots that were pressed into the gears for timing alignment. Faithfully, I aligned the dots to the best of my ability and spent three nights cautiously reassembling the bike, from the motor all the way up to putting the fuel tank back on… but when I tried to start it, it only made an occasional grumbling noise.

In the end, I tore that bike all the way down to the bottom of the motor and reassembled it three times. That year, I spent almost every night in December, out in a cold garage with a flashlight, tearing down and reassembling the bike over and over, never getting more than a grumble when I tried to start it. But, with faith and persistence, on the third attempt, the motor fired up and the bike ran better than ever!

Not every project is earmarked with this much frustration and failure, but they all have their pain points, and they all succeed in the end by way of faith and persistence. Just as with the construction of this bike, I did not expect that the fire pit (see photos below) would be that difficult either. Just like the bike, what I believed should have been completed after one iteration required faith and persistence and a new plan to actually become functional. Lesson learned: as an engineer, no matter how well you plan, you are going to miss something and as a result, something will fail. You need to look for the failure points in the projects at every phase of construction, and do not get discouraged.

8. What Evidence Did You Submit to Prove You Met the Requirements for This Dive and Level?

We had a friend of a friend come out and grade our yard last summer, and while he was moving these giant rocks around I asked if he could use them to make a fire pit. It wasn’t until much later, after some heavy rain, that we realized the fire pit was really good at holding water. I used some old metal pipe sections I found in the woods to create a drainage system…much better!

I added a removable roasting spit and an inlaid stone border to add primitive luxury and modern aesthetic to the fire pit. Of course, I had to stuff some chickens with butter and vegetables for an old fashioned roast once it was complete! The chickens in the photo slow roasted for about 7 hours 🙂

I also texted a photo of me in my backyard with the fire pit behind me to the Break Diving dive committee.

9. Will You Be Pursuing The Next Level For This Dive? If Yes, Why? If Not, Why Not?

I see no reason why not! I am not sure of the criteria yet, but I’m interested in getting some formal education in the future, and will certainly be continuing to craft things as I need them 🙂

10. What is the Break Diver's Creed?

No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets. 

Certificate photo:

And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Rory Laird is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: Craftsman - Tinkerer - Level 1. Congratulations ! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

Certificate number: 36

The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at Break Diving and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!

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