The space within my water mill building pretty quickly proved insufficient. But it was never intended to be my final base. After doing some work on farming and animal husbandry (which I will discuss in future posts), what I really needed more space for was 1) ore-processing and storage, and 2) first-stage magic and magic mod stuff (research tables, AM2 crafting altar and nexi, enchanting table, potion-brewing station). Because facilities for ore-processing were the top priority, and because I had from the very beginning of this game wanted to put a blacksmith building nearby to my water mill, I decided to build a two-story thatched roof smithy whose second floor would be dedicated mostly to the magic mods and their research stations. Here is what resulted:

The smithy. Dadgum, this took a lot of wheat.

If you want to see the inspiration for this design, check out this cool image and site. Not only is this building functional, but it has provided me with an opportunity to showcase blocks from several different mods, including Underground Biomes, Extra Utilities, Metallurgy, and Bibliocraft. The cobblestone and stone brick walls for the first floor, for example, are from Underground Biomes’ Green Schist stone. I really like the color variants for UB’s blocks. They’re subtle and realistic, whatever “realistic” means in Minecraft. The second floor is a combination of BOP Pine logs and vanilla Smooth Sandstone. The idea was to emulate the look of Tudor-style half-timber construction. I’ve tried to same thing with Forge Multipart blocks, but it wasn’t much more satisfying. There’s only so much you can do in Minecraft. I feel like I have at least suggested half-timber construction, here.

A closeup of the porch.

This closeup of the porch shows the Extra Utilities blocks. I have used an interlocking pattern of Edged Stone Bricks and Gravel Road. I may see if I can use Extra Utilities’ paintbrush to bring its decorative blocks on the porch floor more into line with the Green Schist of this building, but even this slight difference in color doesn’t look bad. For the time being, I have some computers on the porch, a chunk loader, and an Infernal Furnace and Hungry Chest from Thaumcraft.

The back side of the smithy.

Behind the smithy I had a lot of room, so I put my Ars Magica Crafting Altar, an Essence Nexus, and a Light Nexus back there. I’m working on a building, currently, that will house most if not all of my magic and alchemy mods blocks and multi-block structures, so the future of these structures is uncertain.

Inside the smithy, first floor, from the front door.

The floor of the smithy is made from Underground Biomes black granite stone bricks. Across room you can see (left-to-right) my out-and-about deposit system (an ender chest-for which I keep an ender bag with me at all times-with a hopper underneath leading into a Metallurgy gold chest) a miscellaneous EE3 Alchemical Chest (small), another ender chest that I use to share things with my wife, and three Bibliocraft armor stands with suits of armor from Metallurgy (Black Steel, Amordrine, and Haderoth), the back door, a water barrel from Pam’s HarvestCraft, a Thaumcraft Crucible, a Potion shelf, a Brewing Stand, Netherrack, and some Metallurgy blocks I’ll discuss below.

The first floor from the opposite corner.

Looking back the other direction, you can see my two Steel Crushers and two Steel Furnaces emptying via hoppers into a Silver Chest, which sits next to an Ignatius metal smelter (all from Metallurgy). The green block in the corner is a Prometheum Abstractor, which converts metal into experience. You can see some Better Storage lockers under the stairs that lead to the second floor, and next to that are two EE3 Alchemical Chests (one is hidden).

The second floor from the top of the stairs.

Upstairs we see my magic research room. The floor, in case you were wondering, is Jungle planks around the edge and Fir planks in the center. The EE3 Aludel and Calcinator sit in the back behind my Ars Magica Research Table. Moving to the right you see a Thaumcraft Research Table and crafting bench, a large Alchemical chest (I love those things!), and a variety of Bibliocraft furniture pieces made from Biomes O’ Plenty Magic wood. I myself quite like the open ceiling with exposed beams.

An overhead shot of the research stations and EE3 blocks.

Back out front, looking at my Infernal Furnace.

Going back out front, I wanted to show how I get things into my Infernal Furnace. I love Thaumcraft’s Infernal Furnace, both because it works fuel free (albeit slowly) and because it has personality. It also increases my ore output beyond double if I put metal dust from the Metallurgy Crushers into it (another at least 50% increase for a total output of at least three ingots per ore block. The main problem (and it’s a small one) is getting items into it: you have to throw the items in from the top. For this purpose I have used a Dropper activated by a fast redstone clock (itself activated by a redstone comparator reading the presence of items in the Dropper). The Netherbrick chimney-looking thing is just to make sure that what the Dropper drops falls into the Infernal Furnace. I use Extra Utilities conduits to pull items from a deposit chest (visible at the bottom of the image) and send them to the Dropper. Now all I really need is a Brain-in-a-Jar to catch all the experience that comes out (well, that and three Arcane Bellows and some fire essence, but that’s coming soon).

Despite the lack of the big tech mods in this game, I’m finding great satisfaction in my builds so far and in finding new and creative ways to automate processes with vanilla redstone and magic. But all of that is for future posts.

The smithy and the water mill.

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