Thursday, April 18, 2013

Introduction to Smelting Iron is an intensive hands on program, roughly 18 hours in duration. Students will prepare materials, build a smelter, then fire it to produce a workable iron bloom. The 'Econo Norse' smelter that will be used was designed to be quickly constructed of easily obtained materials. It is fired with charcoal and uses an electric blower for air supply. A bloom weighing roughly 15 lbs is expected from use of about 40 lbs of ore.

Friday Evening, the program starts with a background lecture covering the historical development and the practical elements of the small direct process bloomery furnace. (Typically 8 - 10 pm)

Saturday, the day will be spent constructing the 'Econo Norse' brick smelter itself. The smelt normally requires about 80 - 100 KG of charcoal to be smashed to size and sorted. Ore will be prepared, with various potential types being evaluated. At least some rock based ore will be roasted and crushed for the experience. Other furnace types will be examined (as part of ongoing experiments at Wareham). The working site will be prepared for the smelt the following day.

A LONG day Sunday will start at 8 AM with the pre-heating the furnace. Any more charcoal required will be prepared. The now cool ore will be crushed (about 20 - 40 KG required) The initial charge of charcoal is scheduled for roughly 10 am. The actual process of the smelt takes roughly 6 - 7 more hours. Participants will learn the effective managing of an operating smelter, including adding fuel and ore, controlling air flow, and taping slags. Valuable experience will be gained in how to interpret the sounds of a correctly operating furnace.

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

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