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The Bee Furnace


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#1 Antoine

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:48 PM

Hello,

I'm in the process of driying a low shaft clay furnace that hopefully I'll be running in the next few days. As I mentioned in another post, I decided to make an effort to document this furnace better.
The furnace is made with sandy clay mixed with wood shavings. Two upright bricks form a door, and the tuyere is a refractory cement one from a previous smelt.
Here are the aproximative dimentions:


Total height 63cm
Diameter at the base: 40cm
Diameter at the mouth: 26cm
Internal diameter base: 20cm
mouth:15cm
Height from base to center of the tuyere (outside): 26cm
Height from center of the tuyere to the top (outside): 37cm
Wall thickness from base to mouth: 4inches down to two inches aprox.

Tuyere diameter: 2 inches at a 30 degree angle aprox.

The furnace is smaller in height and a bit less internally compared to my firebricks furnace.
It is in the driying stage with a fire inside. Cracks have developped. I tried to fix them with clay to no avail. I'll see how it goes during the actual smelt, a bucket of clay close by.

Pictures:

bee-furnace4.jpg

bee-furnace1.jpg

bee-furnace3.jpg

Comments? I'm a bit worried about the cracks and the height above the tuyere... I've seen other furnace with these proportions but....

Thank you!

Antoine

#2 Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:36 PM

The cracks are not a problem, as long as the parts sit together stable, and you don't knock it over. But if you want to prevent such cracks, you need to mix the clay with a fibrous material. Historically, materials like dung, finely cut straw or cloth clippings. This bonds the clay, and makes it much more resistant to cracking.
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#3 MichaelBrauer

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:19 PM

A fine looking furnace indeed. Hope to see some pictures and results of your smelts! ;)

Cheers
Two roads diverged in a road,
And I,
Took the one less traveld by.
-Robert Frost

#4 Skip Williams

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:46 AM

Howdy Antoine,
The furnace looks great. For sealing the cracks we mix up clay 'slip' and paintbrush it on the furnace when the furnace is hot.

Today is a good day for a smelt and I bet that is what you're doing right now!

Best
Skip Williams
The Rockbridge Bloomery
http://iron.wlu.edu

#5 Antoine

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:12 AM

:D

Thank's for the slip tip!

Actually I was at a giant pumkin carving party with the fammily! Tested a bloom steel knife cutting pumkins and my finger the same occasion :wacko: Freaked out the kids!! The parents created a 6 feet no mans land aroud me! :lol:

Should be doing the furnace before the end of the week... before the rain comes... again!

Antoine

#6 Antoine

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:07 PM

Hello!

Finally made the furnace!
It was a very nice furnace, with mixed results...
I was happy to see the clay holding up well under the heat and to see that the ore used was good.
The major cracks happend around the cast refractory tuyere and the two brick used for the door. A 100% clay furnace would have stood better.
9.7kg ore used with about 17.4kg of charcoal for 2.5kg raw bloom and about 400g of iron from the slag bowl under the bloom.
Strangely, the bloom is formed of two zones one of high carbon and the other of low carbon...the transition is quite abrupt.

Pictures:

IMG_0007.jpg

The ore. Iron sand. I found a small reference stating that it contains 50% iron.
In this picture you also see the two major cause of the mixed result bloom. Fine ore and big charcoal.

IMG_0006.jpg

IMG_0002.jpg

Some views of the furnace, maybe one hour after I started adding ore, cracks but nothing major.
I was surprised to see humidity coming out so long after I started the day.

IMG_0003.jpg

The mouth of the furnace.

IMG_0033.jpg

A succestion of pictures of the slag removal. More slag than using sandblast grit (hematite); But is's nothing compared to what was inside the furnace!

IMG_0020.jpg

IMG_0021.jpg

IMG_0027.jpg

IMG_0029.jpg

IMG_0031.jpg

Getting ready for the opening:

IMG_0038.jpg

And the bloom:

IMG_0041.jpg

IMG_0055.jpg

IMG_0056.jpg

IMG_0058.jpg

IMG_0059.jpg

Pretty!
Nice bloom I think, less compact than with the hematite. "Brown sugar" textured.
I think that I'll have to either have smaller charcoal of clup the ore in small pellets. I noticed right on the fist charge of ore that it fell trought the charcoal too quickly. I gave it a go anyway but realized the the ore would pass trought the reducing zone a bit too quickly.
Also, I think that I will make the furnace a little higher, maybe 5 to 10 inches... Pehaps a bit narrower also, like those lean african furnace.

I'll write up my smelt notes and post them here.
I have two small movies of the slag removal and the extraction of the bloom they will be on Youtube soon...

Thank you!

Antoine

Attached Images

  • IMG_0016.jpg
  • IMG_0009.jpg
  • IMG_0039.jpg


#7 Antoine

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:04 PM

Hi!

I took some time to start compacting the bloom and made a little movie!
The quality is not super especially the last part where my camera decided to focus on the wall...
You can see the first two compaction heats and the first fold/weld.
I wanted to continue compacting, but I ran out of borax and grease...:(



I cut the bloom in half and this is the second half. It is a very "dry" bloom compared to the other I forged. Very little visible slag.
Thank's for watching!

Antoine

#8 J.Arthur Loose

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:18 PM

'Welcome, welcome, is thy coming,
Honeyed sweetness from the flowers
Thou hast brought to aid the water,
Thus to form the steel from iron!'

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#9 Sam Salvati

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:54 PM

J was that from that saga, possible info about adding honey to water for quenching?

Antoine I love it! a mighty little furnace. Thank you for the video it was good.
Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

#10 Greg Thomas Obach

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 07:58 AM

Hi Antoine

i could have watched that all day.. nice video ! bloom held together nice and didn't pop appart

like the powerhammer.. !!! ;) B)


Greg

#11 Antoine

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:13 AM

Thank's guys!

Nice poem! Is it yours or from a saga? If it's yours, do you mind me using it on my blog? I want to make a complete article on the smelt...

Greg, this bloom is a nice surprise, I was not sure how it would forge as it look quite crumbly with this sugary texture... as anyone experienced this kind of texture in a bloom? It seems that it will be a lower carbon content than the other blooms I made before. I think that the texture is an indication of the end result.
Also, I'm happy with it because it is my first local ore reduction :) next is bog iron! :D

Antoine

#12 J. Helmes

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 12:00 AM

Very cool, I love the vid! Nice hammer too is that a beaudry?

#13 Antoine

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 02:12 PM

Very cool, I love the vid! Nice hammer too is that a beaudry?

Thank's!
Nope, it's a 100 Little Giant. :)

Antoine

#14 Antoine

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 01:15 PM

Few!

I took the opportunity of some damascus making to finally finish forging the Bee furnace bloom.
Probably the easiest bloom I forged welded real easy, no major problems during the whole operation B)
Pics:

IMG_0059.jpg

2.5kg, 800g left!

IMG_0060.jpg

Nice tight grain.

Thank you! :)

#15 Sam Salvati

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 07:05 PM

so CLEAN looking, very nice Antoine!
Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

#16 MichaelBrauer

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:04 AM

Hey Antoine! Great job!

Keep the pics coming! Boy, I wish I had a power hammer.....My poor arm would be thankful for sure ^_^

Cheers! Love the look of that grain!
Two roads diverged in a road,
And I,
Took the one less traveld by.
-Robert Frost

#17 Antoine

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:49 AM

Thank you,

Yes a power hammer is a real blessing! I now have to put the steel away for a while.... :(
I have some major projects I must work on!

Antoine




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