Sunday, May 05, 2013

Iron Smelt DEMO - at ICMS

I will be undertaking a full bloomery iron smelt demonstration at:

the 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies 
Western Michigan University 
Kalamazoo MI 
May 10 & 11, 2013 

Session 523 
Swan Pond 
Friday - roughly 9 am - 4 pm : Furnace build and materials prep 
Saturday - roughly 9 am - 5 pm : Full iron smelt 
Extraction planned for 4:30 pm 

Sponsored by : 
The Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science and Art 
Michigan Technological University 

Although this is one of the official sessions of the Conference, it will also be taking place in an area open to the general public as well (outdoors!) Along with my assistant Neil Peterson, I will be expecting to answer questions over the course of both days. 

Preparing to Extract a Bloom

 The planned for furnace will be our standard Norse Short Shaft, built of clay mixture and set on a block plinth. The ore to be used is a variation on our 'DARC Dirt' bog ore analog (here enriched with roughly 25 % hammer scale). With roughly 39 kg ore analog available, the expected yield is for an 8 - 10 kg bloom. Air will be supplied by an electric blower.

General Furnace Build
Anyone interested in bloomery iron smelting is invited to come out and watch!

Map to the Demo Site - see Campus Map
I will also be making a formal presentation at one of the regular sessions:

Session 64
Thursday May 9, 1:30 pm
Fetzer 1045

   I'll Huff and I'll Puff - Observations on Air Delivery in Bloomery Iron Furnaces

Given a good quality ore and a suitable furnace, the most critical factor in determining the size and quality of the iron bloom produced in a direct process iron smelting furnace is the air delivery. A decade of experiments with Early Medieval type furnaces has shown that to create blooms most like the archaeological samples, high volumes of air are required. How does this reflect back to the design of the bellows equipment itself? If specialized equipment is required, are their further cultural implications?

Full Conference registration required for that session.

I would like to thank Steve Walton of AVISTA for organizing this demonstration.

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

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