Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Sahmain Iron Smelt (2022)

 In conversation with Neil - there will be NO Thanksgiving weekend smelt at Wareham.

Sahmain Iron Smelt

Saturday October 29

Wareham Forge

- This is an experimental (not teaching) event, a repeat of the June experiment to confirm unexpected results (with better instrumentation)

- The directions :
- COVID measures remain in force (vaccinations required, bring masks) This is however an outdoor event, so generally distancing is easy to maintain:

As I have mentioned (to the extended recipient list here), observers are welcome.
People outside the core DARC membership should reply via e-mail to confirm their intention to participate.

 - Generally the firing process starts about 9 AM, with main sequence start roughly 10 - 10:30.
- Extraction expected about 6:30 - 7:30  PM. (if this smelt follows pattern of June)
 - For this smelt, I need to remain in control of the extraction process.
-  There is always simple task and 'dirty work' that needs to be undertaken.
- Those who know me are (well) aware that you can hardly shut me up, so new people are certain to get at least an overview of the smelting process.

Those hoping to directly participate are advised to wear 'work clothes', which need to be all natural (cotton jeans and sweat shirts suggested). Safety glasses will be on hand (and required in the working area).

Neil and I have discussed air and implications:

- The air volume applied in June was based on measurements from the October 2021 smelt, when the current model 'smelter bellows' was used = 500 LpM.

Blower and bellows air / instrumentation : 10/21

- The June smelt used a 25 cm ID furnace, a bit smaller than our standard (at typically 28)

Furnace build from June 2022

- This combination gives a air / diameter ratio of (roughly) 1 L/cm2 (slightly less than the 'magic' 1.2 - 1.5).

The burn rate was considerably longer than our typical (average about 8 min/kg) at 12 minutes per kg

This all leads me to guess (?? after all this time ??) that there is a significant difference created by the 'pulsing' delivery produced by the twin chamber bellows unit.  In the works right now is a mechanical gadget that will vary the air from the blower to better mimic the bellows production. Right now we have decided NOT to attempt to use this equipment with the upcoming smelt (likely the spring 2023).

Repaired Furnace (tuyere goes to right)

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Visting the Wareham Forge

Don't just show up here 

Without previously contacting me to arrange a suitable day and time.

(I'm adding this as a blog post, mainly so I can refer people to instructions as to what to do when they have already got clearance to come here. This is also my home!)

This is what you will see as you approach the Wareham Forge (located at the centre of the Wareham crossroads) :

Approach from the West (looking to East)

Approach from the East (looking to West)

The building is placed on the NW corner of the Wareham crossroads. Entry is on the South side of the property.

Standing on Centre Line, looking North towards the building entrance

As is detailed on the direction instructions (you would have been provided when you contacted me), there is a 'portable' tarp cover over the considerable slope down into the shop entrance. (On a bad snow year, this completely fills over under snow!)

Parking is nose inwards, to the right (east) side - the space is more obvious in the 'to west' view above. 

Shop door is open - more than normal clutter due to construction and winter prep.

Come down inside the tunnel, approach the wooden shop entrance door. 

At the shop door, listen and look. If I am working in the shop, I will be visible on the main workshop area just ahead. If I am in the forge, it is inside, just to the right hand side. Call out if you hear but don't see me.

If you do not see or hear.

The residence is the rear third of the building. The door bell is located on the SIDE of the wooden framing, to the RIGHT hand, about CHEST HIGH. There is a white sign that says 'House Doorbell' marking it. 

Press the doorbell. WAIT. (It takes time for me to come down from the second floor, find some shoes and get out to the shop entrance.)

No response?

Did you contact me and arrange an appointment?

If so, there is a chance I am out in the yard :

via Bing
via Google

The property is one acre, bounded on two sides by roads, the rear by a small creek. The images above are dated, the Bing version (mid day)likely from at least a two decades back, the Google version (morning) from at least ten years ago (note the difference in tree cover!)

Diagram of the yard - about 2000

There is a small pond to the rear of the property, and a number of small outbuildings. Of importance is the iron smelting area to the west side of the pond. As with any rural property, there is considerable ongoing gardening and maintenance taking place. 

If you had arranged a time, and I'm not in the several workshop spaces, or answering the residence doorbell, odds are very good I am back in the rear yard. 

Access is down the east side of the main building, then between the rear corner and the end of the long shed (Tin Shop, not shown on that diagram, extending the line of the garage.)


The Wareham Forge is a WORKING space - at my HOME

It is not a gift shop

It is not open for casual 'see the blacksmith work' visits.

It is NOT 'disabled accessible' in any way what so ever.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Bloom Compaction : Phase One


Raw bloom compacting - modern tools
(video shot and edited by Neil Peterson)
- Pieces heated in a propane forge, which only reaches about 1150C (well below 'welding' temperature - only to a 'bright orange' * )
- Work under my modified 30 ton hydraulic press.
Note how much mechanical compaction is taking place. A close look will see how there are still fractures, clear as colour shifts along the edges. 
The two individual blooms started at roughly 7 kg, and were compressed to brick shapes, then cut into rough quarters. The video shows the later part of working bloom # 35, which had already been compressed and cut into to pieces. One 'half' is flattened, then further cut into two plate segments.

Bloom #91 - top

Bloom #91 - side

Bloom #35 - top (in video)

Bloom #35 - side (in video)

Bloom # 35 is an early one, March 2008, one of three made at Smeltfest that year. Specifically the test was using the 'bellows plate and blast port' design. The ore used was Lexington Limonite, in this case the yield is uncertain as this was the third use of this furnace and the previous firing had been problematic. 
Starting weight was : 7.60 kg (corrected)
Bloom # 91 is the latest, June 2022, created in a slightly smaller short shaft furnace, in this test using lower air volumes based on the previous (more accurate?) measurements of human 'smelt bellows' supplied air in experiment # 90. 
Starting weight was :  6.65 kg
 Bloom 91 
Bloom 35
11561211 v
21301568 v
15 %
42 %
In addition, there were a total of 2806 gm of metallic gromps collected overall (smaller fragments, collected magnetically), which included about ten fragments roughly 'half walnut' sized (deemed too small for forging. This puts the loss due to slag expelled at 1391 gm (from the total starting weight of blooms at 14.25 kg)
Bloom # 35 was visibly more spongy at the start of this process, so the higher loss due to possible slag inclusions, and more significantly, simple fracturing during the compressions, was expected. This suggests the bulk of the recovered gromps (overall 20% of the starting blooms) was from # 35.

This process has created a number of smaller, partially compressed pieces, which will allow a second phase of heating in coal, and the ragged edges forge welded into the remaining mass. Additional hammering and folding will eventually yield individual working bars.

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

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