"The highest education is that which does not merely
give us information but makes our life in harmony
with all existence."
- Rabindranath Tagore
The winter is over, and it's almost time to replace your winter tires with the summer ones. But, what do you do with the old tires? Each year we struggle with recycling them without realizing that they can serve as an inexpensive, creative material. Let's see how you can turn those worn-out tires into a beautiful swan!
1. First and foremost, we suggest you organize an outdoor workspace. Clean and dry the tires before beginning your work. Here are the tools you'll be needing for this project: jigsaw, reverse tooth blade, knife, electric drill with a 3mm drill bit, wire cutters, pliers, metal cutting saw and you might also need an angle grinder. As for the materials besides tires, make sure to have on hand: 1-1,2m metal rod, thin metal wire, chalk, brushes and paint (white or black for the swan and red for the beak).
2. Use chalk to trace the cutting pattern. This step will have an impact on the overall appearance of the swan and, most importantly, on the amount of time and effort you will have to put into this project. Take note that the measurements mentioned below are for the R13 tires with a circumference of 180 cm. If you're using tires with a larger diameter, adjust the proportions accordingly. The length of the neck of your swan (from base to the tip of the beak) should be more than half of the total circumference, in this case, it's 95 cm. For reference, the length of the beak is 9 cm, and the length of the head is 10 cm.
3. After you're done tracing the pattern, drill a hole in the tire to introduce the blade of the jigsaw.
4. Insert the blade into the hole and begin cutting out the neck of the swan. Note: smaller blade teeth risk getting clogged with the slightly burned rubber and becoming dull faster. However, if the teeth are too long, the blade will also lose sharpness over time. Moreover, working at a high speed will farther accelerate blade wear. For these reasons, we suggest using a reverse-teeth blade and a slower cutting speed. To make the cutting task easier and speed up the work, cut by spans of 4-5 cm, sequentially on each side.
5. Once the neck is done, you can begin cutting out the tail. The tail's length should be 25 cm (base to tip). This length will make it easier to turn the tire inside out afterward.
6. Please be aware that a swan made out of tires with steel cords is not a children's toy and should be used for decorative purposes only. However, it will make a perfect garden decoration and embellish your backyard! When working with tires, it's important to wear gloves to protect the hands from cuts and scratches.
7. Twist the sides to make them into beautiful swan wings. Turn the tire inside out. It should be pretty easy thanks to the cuts you made earlier.
8. It's time to work on swan's neck. Drill pairs of holes alongside the neck, place them near the center line at the distance of 15-20 cm from each other. You will also need to drill holes at the base of the tire before the tail. Create brackets out of 10-15 cm long bits of thin metal wire and insert them into the holes.
9. Next step is creating fittings for an elegant swan neck. Take a thick wire made our of steel or aluminum (120-150 cm long metal rod). One end of the rod should be placed at the base of the tire. Bend this end and place the wire alongside the back and the neck of the swan. There should be approximately 9-12 cm of space left for the beak. If the rod is too long, shorten it with a metal cutting saw. Tie the ends of the brackets around the metal rod and bend them towards surface.
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