Thursday, March 30, 2006



I've been poking web stuff since 7:30 this morning. Not much to show for it. Made some changes to the first two splash pages on the Wareham Forge site. Mainly to keep it vaguely up to date and to clean it up a bit. Added a link over to this stuff, so we shall see.


One major addition on the Iron Smelting front. I got a return comment from Lee Sauder, pointing up a major error in use of terms on the posted Adventures in Iron Smelting paper:

" Howdy Darrell-
The paper looks good, clearly written. I only see one major thing I think you should fix.
You seem to be a bit confused about slag terminology. You're calling nasty slag fayalite, good slag wustite. Not right.
Fayalite is Fe2SiO4. It is black and fluid, not green and gooey. Think of fayalite as your optimal final slag. It has the lowest melting point of all the slags on the FeO to SiO2 gradient. If there's more FeO (wustite) than that, the melting temperature of the slag rises gradually. If there's less FeO than fayalite, the melting temp of the slag goes up dramatically.
So fayalite slag is perfect slag. Slag that is higher in silica (and alumina) than fayalite is the gooey nasty stuff. Slag higher in iron than fayalite is strongly decarburizing (reducing), and is a good candidate for recycling.
Another way to look at it. Fayalite is composed of wustite (FeO) and silica (SiO2). It is often written as 2(FeO)SiO2 (that is, 2 wustites and one silica) rather than Fe2SiO4. More wustite than that proportion makes an active, decarburizing/reducing, and reasonably fluid slag. More silica than the wustite proportion than the fayalite proportion makes an unreactive, gooey slag that doesn't contribute to reduction and allows carburization.
So to call high silica slag fayalite, and high iron slag wusite is inaccurate and confusing. Probably the best way to fix it is just to remove the referneces to those things, since you've got to cut everything down for publication anyway,
Hope that's not too confusing! It makes more sense looking at the phase diagram...."

I'm copying over Lee's clear discription of the chemistry here mainly for completeness. I have just gone in and changed the use of terms and a bit of the surrounding text on the posted paper.

I've also found out that the paper is in fact to be published! Mind you, the text has to be drasticly shortened - down to 15 pages total. I will be cutting out most of the 'towards a sucessful smelt' section. Reduce the 'experimental overview' to a simple table with the main measurements. Likely reducing the descriptions of the various raw materials to simplify. I DO want to leave the section on air systems and most of 'implications for the Viking Age'.

its getting close to lunch and I should get outside...


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Adventures in Early Iron...

So - cat is outta the bag on this one:

'Adventures in Early Iron Production - An overview of experimental smelts, 2001-2005'

This is the FULL text of my recent (as in March 25) paper for the 'Friends of the Medieval Studies Society of the Royal Ontario Museum'

It was a 25 minute delivery, and despite the length of the paper (about 35 pages!) I managed to get almost all of the main points across. I also will have to re write the whole thing for publication (which is under planning) - down to closer to 10 pages (!)

I gave my best attempt to try to attribute ideas to the individuals who most likely first voiced them. You'll see that Lee, Skip and Mike are listed as as major contributers. (Add to your CV without having to actually WRITE anything!)

For DARC I took the approach of listing the main players of the smelt team, then people who had a major role in 'more than two' individual experiments. Those who worked directly on an individual smelt are listed. (BTW - none of then can hide, I showed images of Gangue aux Fer and DARC at June 04 in the lecture when I credited them all!)

I have posted the paper up on the Wareham Forge web site. The Appendix needs graphic formatting still.

Along with other things I am (more or less) working on is a revised version of the 'IRON SMELTING' CD ROM. I will be including a version of the paper on the V2 disk. I want to set the main paper up with a set of smaller images that pull out to duplicate the slides I used for the talk.


I'll be giving a more practical talk derived from this same work at Neil Peterson's 'Forward Into the Past' teaching event this coming Saturday (April 1). Search under the event title to get the web site with directions and full course listings. I will be concentrating mainly on how to set up and run the 'Econo Norse' test/teaching smelter.


I STILL have to get the rough notes and images put into some kind of order from the two smelts undertaken at SMELTFEST 06. Use of a variation on the standard clay cobb Norse Short Shaft. Although industrial hematite was the ore, the results were very interesting. May indicate something about furnace design (via an idea from Skip) and modification of the pre-heat phase.


From a BLOG standpoint - still have to monkey with code. I'm working changes to my own site (plus formatting the paper earlier this week) plus starting a limited 'web design' service for area artists. WAY TOO MUCH HTML.

Didn't get to the forge yesterday. Did spend several hours (most the afternoon) outside. Cleared a couple of things in the yard. Checked over the old Honda. Those concerned about our drift to white trash status (with three dead vehicles in the yard) may be happy to know that I've got a lead on getting the two old Hondas outta here. Will be keeping the dead Astro as its been used the last year as charcoal and iron ore storage.
Also started working on re-arranging and cleaning up the larger shop floor. Have to move everything at least twice to accomplish anything. Have the front quarter cleared and the rear quarter about 1/2 done. Intend to put the front decking into the rear quarter. With the wagon pulled out (as soon as the snow is gone from the drive and front parking to allow it) will be using the flagstone area for displaying major work. (Bet those who have visited didn't KNOW there was a large natural flagstone area under there!). Intending to set a second coal forge up to the front quarter - mainly for architectural work.



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

...but its only the kindling

Well - spent way too much time this morning trying to work the raw code to move stuff around and change the appearance. BTW Karen, you just randomly check to see who is taking part in this stuff?? Anyway, have managed a few changes, generally I'm finding the code more complex than what I normally work with.

I SHOULD be getting outside. I promiced myself to get into the forge today after a week away smelting iron in Viriginia (no report available yet) and completing the ROM paper. That has been posted in the (way too long form) wareham web site -

Its FINALLY above freezing at Wareham. The pond is clear and you can pretty much mush through low snow cover. Bare grass around the pont too. Anti-V reports that the front deck is sheltered enough to permit sitting out with coffee. Like usual Neil and his weather luck holds for this coming weekend. Expecting sweater weather in KW and shrimp on the Barbie.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Starting the Fire...

What the hey - it turns out everyone ELSE I know is doing this.


Anyway, Anti-V has been blogging for a month (or something). I have always hung on to any of those long winded e-mails I end up writing almost every other day in responce to information requests - smithing, Viking Age, custom order stuff. I had this grand idea of combining them into articles at some point.

this may work better? Who knows if anyone ever READS these things!

so look - West Wing just came on (thanks very much CLT!)



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

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