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Homemade smelter


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#1 jlw50

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:10 PM

I am thinking about trying a backyard smelt just for the heck of it and to try to get some real wrought iron. I have most of it worked out , I think but it just occurred to me, one thing I have never seen mentioned. How do you start the fire. Kindle a little fire in the bottom and then dump on the burden or try to poke something burning in the twyer hole. Have a hole in the base and kindle a fire there after the smelter is loaded?? I am talking about a 5ft x 1-2ft stack furnace made of brick, rocks and dirt.

#2 Jeff Pringle

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 08:08 PM

You seem to be missing some basic understanding of the process, or I'm misunderestimating your question - but do a google search for "bloomery smelting" and you will find the answer you seek.
Or go right over to Anvil's Ring Iron smelting article and scroll down to Furnace Operation - that's usually how it's done.
Jeff
p.s. If your goal is 'real wrought iron', you'd be better off buying some old fence or wagon wheels, the process by which wrought iron was made started out with pig iron, which is kinda hard to get through the backyard smelting process - although it's possible, I'm sure....

Edited by Jeff Pringle, 03 August 2005 - 11:59 PM.

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#3 Alan Longmire

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 08:04 AM

Actually, Jeff, the pig-into-wrought method wasn't invented until pretty late in the game. Direct production of wrought from a bloomery is the old way. Same basic idea as making tamahagane, just keep the blast a little higher to burn out the carbon.

Note that I say this like I've actually done it... B)

The Rockbridge Bloomery site, whose URL escapes me, is a good one for info too.

#4 Jeff Pringle

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 11:11 AM

Actually, Jeff, the pig-into-wrought method wasn't invented until pretty late in the game

Sorry, I been recently reading about the puddling process and it obscured my memory of the previous 1000 years of wrought history. I've been thinking of trying it in my crucible furnace, since I've got pounds of homemade steel that I need to drop the carbon content of - over-cooked wootz turns into cast iron pretty quick.
I guess the real point is, wrough iron is still easier to find at a scrap yard than to make in the back yard, so unless home-made is your goal, why not skip the 100's of dollars and hours -
'jlw50' - you said "to try to get some real wrought iron" - did you want your own w.i., or will any do?
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#5 jlw50

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for the help and suggestions. It is back to the reading/thinking planning process for a while. Actually, I think that is the phase I am best at.

#6 mark stephen

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 06:47 PM

The process of cast into wrought and steel is VERY OLD.the chinese were doing it long ago.

#7 Alan Longmire

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 07:03 PM

The process of cast into wrought and steel is VERY OLD.the chinese were doing it long ago.

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Well, I know absolutely jack about the Chinese methods of iron production, beyond the fact that they had cast iron down at a level of expertise far beyond anything Europe had to offer until the 1500s or later.... :huh:

I was responding from my white male European-semi-educated oppressor point of view. ;)




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