Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aristotle Furnace Demo - at Quad State

 This coming weekend holds the annual Quad State Roundup blacksmithing event held at Troy Ohio by the Southern Ohio Forge & Anvil group.

 I have attended Quad State as a participant for a good number of years now (since the early 1990's). I was one of the featured demonstrators in 2008 (iron smelt - overview).
The event has grown to one of the largest regional blacksmithing conferences, attracting 800 + people. In the past the core demonstrations have centred on four primary areas : traditional joinery/ forging : bladesmithing : contemporary via air hammer : non ferrous metalworking. In recent years the range and number of demonstrators has expanded greatly. One of the features of these demonstrations is that most typically individuals are chosen for their ability to *communicate* - as well as displaying good skills and wide variations in approaches to forge work. The 'tailgate' sales area has become nothing short of massive, making Quad State an excellent place to pick up everything from small sundries, hand tools, raw materials to large equipment like machines. All this for an extremely low entry fee (US - $55 pre-registered, camp on site for $10 per night).
I strongly recommend Quad State to anyone interested in forged metalworking.

This year, the organizers have shifted from a smaller number of featured demonstrators to include a larger number of smaller scale demonstrations :

One of the things we are trying to do this year is to give as many of the schools that include blacksmithing in their curriculum, the opportunity to do a demonstration during Quadstate 2015. Our thought is to have each institution do a full three-hour demo that will be geared to show what was typically covered in a cource at their institution. It could be done by their "resident smith" or someone that they may be using as an instructor. We see this as a chance for these schools to advertise and promote their programs as well as a chance for all attendees to see a broad range of demonstrators that would otherwise not available at many of the smaller conferences.
I'm happy to say that I have been selected to present one of those demonstrations:

Demonstration Description:

The Aristotle Re-melting Furnace.

The Aristotle is a small (table top) furnace which provides an alternative to larger scale bloomery iron smelters. Using roughly 5 lbs of charcoal, in 30 - 35 minutes it can convert *any* iron based material into a roughly 1 lb 'puck' of unique material. The resulting puck has the physical structure and texture of ancient bloomery iron. Importantly, but controlling the base structure of the furnace, the resulting carbon content of the metal can be modified.
This makes the easy to build and operate Aristotle Furnace the ideal method for those wishing to investigate the properties of bloomery iron - in a size easy for standard forging methods. The ability to vary the carbon content (either increasing or decreasing) is of special interest to the bladesmith.
Darrell Markewitz was part of the 'Smeltfest' team which originally developed this furnace. He will explain the working principles and construction of the furnace. Then he will demonstrate several operation cycles, including forging one of the produced pucks down into a working bar.

School / Workshop description:

Blacksmithing and Specialized workshop programs at the Wareham Forge

Since 1992, Darrell Markewitz has been offering weekend to week long training sessions, primarily from his home shop located about 2 hours drive NW of Toronto in Ontario. Classes are small, limited to four students, each with their own full anvil / tool set, with both coal and propane fired forges used for general blacksmithing programs. Currently there is one basic level (2nd weekend) and one specialized course ( 4th weekend) offered each month. As well as more standard blacksmithing workshops (such as Basic Bladesmithing, Forge Welding Tools, Introduction to Layered Steels) there are a number of historic metalworking programs (Bloomery Iron Smelting, Aristotle Furnace, Viking Age Forgework). Private sessions, either for individual instruction or project related, can also be provided.
see : http://www.warehamforge.ca/TRAINING/train.html
Darrell is also available as a demonstrator or workshop leader at your location, be it museum, college or blacksmith's group.
see : http://www.warehamforge.ca/school.html

Personal Description:

Darrell Markewitz first picked up the smith's hammer while a student at Ontario College of Art in the late 1970's. His keen interest in history continued as his forging skills developed, he was the blacksmith / interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto during the 1980's. In 1992 he started full time as an independent artisan as 'the Wareham Forge'. For over 20 years this work has been multifaceted, with architectural projects, custom bladesmithing, and individual objects all showing a stress on design and hand forging. A significant additional area has been work on museum projects based on the Viking Age. This has included interpretive program design (Parks Canada), stand alone exhibit creation (Cranbrooke Institute of Science), and work on major exhibits (Smithsonian, Newfoundland Museum). In 2001, he started research into bloomery iron smelting, becoming a core member of the 'Early Iron' group with Lee Sauder. He continues to undertake an extensive series of experimental archaeology projects related to Northern European iron smelting and other fire based physical techniques. He has published a number of DVDs related to blacksmithing and historic methods, as well as journal articles and delivering academic papers. He has demonstrated and lead workshops at blacksmithing events, universities and museums in Canada, the USA and in Europe.

web site : http://www.warehamforge.ca
iron smelting : http//www.warehamforge.ca/ironsmelting
blog : http://warehamforgeblog.blogspot.ca

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

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