With the supply of ore now secured, I turned my attention to the construction site of the blast furnace. Even though everything that we were building here was nothing but a prototype, the respective areas where all projects would be constructed were already drafted and marked on the very first day since we arrived here.
But while everyone was busying themselves with digging out the earth to make space for the foundations of the blast furnace, I actually approached the steam horse mark one with quite a bit of iron ore on hand.
After making sure that no one was looking, I opened my crafting window and used the materials I had on hand with the already existing steam horse to remake it into a proper one, with both valves controlled by a set of simple levers that would open and close them depending on the angle of the swinging beam.
While this kind of engine was a good start to help with some minor projects, rather than focusing all my resources on this kind of mobile and ineffective machine, I would rather make sure that it would work nicely enough for the governor to praise it and invest his own funds and manpower in my projects, so that when the time would come for the introduction of the mark two steam engine, I would have all the means necessary to produce all the parts for it!
After finishing my job with the steam horse, I moved back to the construction area of the furnace. While the amount of manpower that I could move around increased about by half when the villagers came to work under me, considering how all the tents and materials that they could be made from were already used, instead of instantly putting them to the necessary work, I had to give up on this opportunity and make them craft some basic sheds to sleep in.
But with over a hundred people, digging up a small plot of land that was required for the simple blast furnace wasn't that hard of a task. By the time I finally reached its construction site, stonemasons were already preparing the concrete in the pots while the workers were reinforcing the borders of the ditch with the wooden planks.
While seeing this sight, I realised that there was one, insanely simple thing that could come handy in all kinds of constructions that would be required later. Thanks to the fact that most of the work here was done now, I pulled away twenty workers and one of the carpenters with me.
"Listen up guys, we need to build a spacious shed here. Rather than having to manually cut all the logs into the required sized and planks, we can use the steam horse to power up something I called a quicksaw."
In fact, this small project of mine was nothing else but a table saw. By taking a circular iron plate and turning its edge into a set of sharp but thin claws and powering its rotation with the steam horse, carving the blocks of required sizes or even partitioning the entire logs would turn from a long nightmare into work worth just a few seconds of attention!
"Sir, I think I know what you mean, but if we place it vertically as you showed…"
After seeing my cup place my hands on top of one another in the peculiar fashion, the carpenter quickly understood the idea and gathered his guts to reply.
"... then we will only be able to cut the planks. If we want to be able to work on the entire logs, we would need a far greater blade along with something to move the logs around!"
Hearing his words, I realised one flaw of my design prompted by the image of the table saw I had in my head. But just like the man pointed out, if I used the blade with a diameter of about a hand, it would be far too small to cut through the entire log!
"That's true, thanks for pointing it out. So how about we make two cutting tables bearing the quicksaw, one would be used to work on the planks, while the other would be used to turn logs into said planks. But that would also lead us to the sad realisation that you would require quite a lot of help to manage all the wood that would be going through this place. So rather than the question about building the quicksaw itself, I should ask, do you feel you could manage this task?"
Once again, while having a steady and stable supply of the wood in all shapes and sizes could increase the overall rate of all the constructions that would happen in the area, doing so required manpower. And not only that, operating with highly dangerous tools like a table saw mean that rather than moving the people in and out of this place depending on the demand for the wooden products, I had to decide how many of them I could commit to working on it from now on!
"Sir, forgive me asking, but would it be possible to somehow use the steam horse to move the logs around? While carrying the planks between two places is fairly easy, as long as we could somehow pull those heavy logs from the outside all the way through the sets of saws that would cut it to the desired sizes… or rather, if we could make a set of five saws placed horizontally one above the other and push the logs through them, wouldn't that allow us to produce planks with close to no manpower commitment?"
Hearing the proposition of the man who worked in his job for a long time, I realised how simple this idea was, while how much manpower could it save! As long as we had an angled conveyor ramp that would carry the logs inside the building, put them through a set of horizontal saws that would turn it into a set of planks of the desired thickness only to dump them to some kind of storage from which the workers would pick the pieces and carry them to the manual table saw… Out of nowhere, this few simple sentences allowed me to crystalise the entire idea in my head!
"That's a great idea. So instead of debating over it, go somewhere near the forest and mark the area for the shed. Make your group of people provide you with enough wood and bricks to build this shed as soon as possible, while I will try to get those blades from the Sandomir. Seeing how the merchant came to our shore, it would be a waste not to use their presence to fetch some more useful tools!"
As soon as those words left my mouth, I ran towards the shore. Just a single look from the place where I was talking to the carpenter and his group of workers allowed me to see that after the miners denied them the trade, rather than lingering here for no reason, they were already moving on to depart from this place!
"Hey! Wait for a moment, guys!"
Thinking about this, I guess it was the first time when those merchants saw a damned noble sprinting to them as if his life depended on it!