Thursday, March 13, 2008


For the next 10 days I will be off to visit and smelt iron with Lee Sauder and Skip Williams in Lexington Virginia.
Lee and Skip are largely responsible for the current interest in experimental iron smelting in North America. Regular readers will have seen their names used often in earlier postings here.

Lee's workshop, the Rockbridge Bloomery, can be said to be the birthplace (maybe 'spawning ground') of this activity. Fellow activist Mike McCarthy will be in attendance, working with Lee on a large, multi bloom sculptural project. Rounding out the core team is Dick Dawson of the Peter's Valley Craft School (site of the 2006 Early Iron Symposium). A special guest this year is Jake Keen, a widely traveled and experienced smelt master who is flying in from England for the workshop session.
Adding to the general mayhem are Steve Mankowski and Sheldon Browder and their group from Colonial Williamsburg. Plans are to spend a couple of days on their home turf, looking for local bog iron ore and helping (?) them out on an early American period smelt.
Skip is building a ceramic plate style smelter like the ones he saw and worked with last year at the big European Iron Symposium in Eindhoven, Holland.
I am interested in running this type as well, so using the 200 kg of charcoal I'm bringing down from Bruce Cowan's Black Diamond operation, we hope to undertake two, perhaps three smelts. One major experiment for me will be a full scale test of the DARC Dirt 1 bog ore analog. I have prepared about 50 kg of this material with expectations of producing a mid sized bloom in the Eindhoven furnace.

So - I will be out of touch until some time after March 24 / 25. Expect some field reports on SMELTFEST later that week.

1 comment:

irongus said...

so how did the smelting go? looking forward to the results.


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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