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  1. Ok Greg I have digested the links you gave me. That's exactly what I needed to get a better idea of the different clays and uses. Thanks. Thanks to both Antoine and Greg...Sounds like Kaolin is the stuff I want.. Maybe I will add some sand . So.... kaolin epk or kaolin 6 tile? what do you guys think? I guess I was just having a hard time believing that I already have a hundred pounds of the stuff I need in my garage. Man it never works out that way for me. I am actually in the process of making a HT forge out of Kaolin EPK,. Just waiting for it to dry.. Hmm maybe it's a good omen eh? I think I have enough info to move forward on this project. Of course feel free to add anything you think may help. Thanks to everyone for the input and advice. I will keep you all updated as things progress. Robin
  2. Hi Greg, Thank you for the input:) Just wanted to say thanks real quick. I will check out those links and get back to you guys here.
  3. Hi Owen, Thanks for the input. Ithink I will cut the size of the tatara by half. I found this tatara built by the man himself. It's actually a very informative blog about making tatara start to finish if you guys care to look. So I took a lot of ideas from this. http://nataliealt.blogspot.com/2009/12/tatara-part-one-preparation.html http://nataliealt.blogspot.com/2010/01/tatara-part-two-real-thing.html Anyway, they are using 6 tuyere for a 12"x12" so I doubled it for 12"x24". Ok So I have decided to go for basically what you see in the pic above. A 12 x 12 x 48 seeing as I am using an unknown variable (clay). from the description above they are using a gravely/claylike substance. I called my local ceramic shops trying to find out what kind of clay would work, and they were not much help. They said its not possible, it will explode, and never dry, use bricks, blahblah. However one of them suggested maybe a kaolin/ball clay/silica mixture..? He could not give me a ratio though. I'm guessing 1 to 1 silica(sand) to clay, and just enough ball clay to get it to stick together? What do you guys think of that mix? Sorry for focusing on what kind of clay so much, but I don't want waste any more money than I have to experimenting, or add some unwanted impurity to the steel. Thanks again for all the help. Hopefully everyone will benefit from the discussion Robin
  4. Anyone have a suggestion on a good clay to use for constructing the tatara. I have read that ball clay may be right. I can get it pretty cheap too. Can anyone comment on this? Thanks, Robin
  5. Thank You Sir That little bit of info just saved me much grief. OK, plan B. it is then. Robin
  6. Ok, interesting responses so far. Thanks guys .Sounds like tueyre (sp?) heights, wall height, and wall thickness are good then. Using clay instead of cement unfortunately makes reusability impossible. Scott, the idea was to cast all the pieces in the cement sand mix Jesus has used in the past. That would make replacing melted parts easy. I figured the lower blocks with the tuyreres in them would melt away like the real deal and I could cast a couple more for the next run. Jesus has advised against using cement however, and I'm dying to know why. Hi Jesus, thanks for the tips, and inspiration. I have to ask, why you say no to the cement/sand? We are using your mixture now(minus the vermiculite) on another smelter. Should we discontinue that as well? Does it add contamination to the steel? Or is it some other reason? When I see pics of japanese tatara, it looks like the clay from ceramics class. Would something like that work?Do you have a suggestion of clay that might be closer to the real stuff? Again, Thank you Sir Hi Niko, We normally run about 30kg of ore, but I wonder if running 80kg might give better results due to the thermal mass of all that steel? Do you think that makes a difference? I am guessing about 400 lbs of coal to run 160 lbs of ore? Obviously I could make this a 12"x12". That would save on clay, build time, and coal. Yeah if I go with the clay I may as well make it the traditional way: small clay bricks slapped together and smoothed to form tatara. I guess I need to see what the price of clay is, and that will help make the decision for me. Thanks again for your help and advise Anyone else, please feel free to add to the discussion Thanks, Robin
  7. Hi Guys, Well, after much study on the subject, I decided to design a tatara featuring attributes of what has worked for members here, as well as this book I got from Japan. Thanks to all of you for sharing your info, and experiments. My criteria are: It has to be cheap, quick, and easy! Oh and as short as possible due to my location. Since I am hopelessly addicted, it also has to be reusable, or at least easily remade. I decided to use a sand cement mix like Mr. Hernandez, and cast custom "bricks". Obviously the fewer molds, the better. So I got it down to 6 pieces. I also get this knot of envy in my stomach when I look at Niko's results in his rectangular tatara. highly motivational! So I want to go with that more traditional shape wide mouth. Thank you Niko for your help so far. I got this radioactive Wakou guide book from Japan hoping it might have the secrets to the perfect smelt in it. Well, it may, but I can't read it. So I focused on the pictures. I did figure out the measurements for the tueyres...200 mm. So I added that in as well. here's what I came up with so far. It's easy to manipulate at this point, so I wanted to give you guys a chance to critique it, and make suggestions before I make the molds for it. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Robin
  8. sorry for resurrecting an old post, but, this is a great thread. Hope you guys could give me a few pointers as far as your secret to getting such a large bloom I have done 2, 4-5 hour smelts so far using 60 lbs of sand each time, and only getting around a 6 lb. bloom. I am using the same sand, but getting meager results. I was hoping you guys could give me a rough idea of the weight of the charges you were adding of sand, and charcoal, and what the time interval was between them? also what was the duration of your smelt? Heck, anything you might think would help me get a similar result to what you have there. hi temp, low temp ect. Thanks for the help, Robin
  9. I have seen expensive industrial ones like you are talking about. Surprisingly this simple version is extremely efficient. After sifting a whole 5 gal bucket it only misses about a cup of magnetic sand, which you can get back by just running the already filtered/junk stuff through another time. Yeah you can pretty much make it any size you want. I was limited to a beach cruiser inner tube so I had to make it tall enough to take up the slack in the tube. If you used say a childs bmx type inner tube, you could make it more compact, and take it to the beach
  10. Hi Todd, Actually pretty slow. So slow, that you could just make a little hand crank a use that instead of a drill. Of course the speed you have to turn it is directly proportional to the size of the can you use. The bigger the can, the slower you can turn it. I guage the speed by how far across the bucket it throws the sand. When the stream of sand just hits the wall of the respective buckets it seems to work the best. You can filter a 5 gallon bucket in about 1/2 hour this way. stick
  11. Hey guys, thought this might help some people out. After spending hours sifting black sand by hand with a magnet, I decided to make a machine to do it easier and quicker. Now, usually when I get a "great idea" like this, the end result usually makes the work even more difficult and even less efficient than just doing it by hand. However this time we had a winner.It actually works better than I could have hoped for. This works like a machine gold miners use. Here is what I came up with. Tomato paste was sacrificed, as well as a similar sized can of olives. Also took the inner tube from the junk bike in the yard with the flat tires. Just needed a roll of magnetic tape from the corner store, This gets wrapped around the can over the buckets, and does all the work. A few more scraps laying around an here is what you end up with. Just pour your sand in the funnel, and squeeze the trigger. Here you can see the first run. The sand is thrown forward, and the magnetic stuff you want is thrown in the rear bucket. Its actually fun watching it work so I filter it 2 times. Then I filter the stuff in the "sand" bucket just to get any magnetic sand that slipped through. Here you can see mostly sand going forward, and just a little magnetic sand that got missed again going in the rear bucket Anyway, hope this helps, stick
  12. Thanks Jeff. yeah we are in alameda. Had the bbq going and the sacrificial beef patty cooking. Must have been the smoke that gave us away. Any tips on keeping the smoke and sparks down? maybe some kind of chimney/hood contraption I could make? Thanks
  13. Hi Guys, Well, I finally had my first taste of making tamahagane. Not knowing exactly what I was getting myself in for, I volunteered my back yard for this experience, and while I am reasonably comfortable having a small volcano shooting embers all over the place in my backyard, I got the distinct feeling that my neighbors were somewhat less comfortable with the idea... So, I decided to ask you guys. Is there a place in the bay area that I can settup and run a small tatara for 5-6 hours without someone calling the fire department, or the green police on us? Maybe a big vacant lot? Or, some industrial area where smelters lurk, faces and fingers blackened with charcoal dust, furiously feeding coal into they're deadly, planet killing, Co2 belching, tatara's? I was even thinking maybe somewhere on the beach? Thanks guys, I'm sure some one here has found themselves in my position, and found a solution. My name is stick, and I am addicted to making tamahagane.
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