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Drepanon last won the day on April 15 2018

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  1. Hi guys! Long time no see We gave the whole bloomery thing another go this summer, with mixed results. Here is the debriefing: Ore The ore was the same as earlier, that is, limonite that we "filtered" based on its magnetic properties after roasting. This time, however, we were concerned about the powdery nature of the ore, and we decided to aggregate it with water and a small amount of flour "glue". We basically made an ore cake I think that was OK, and it did indeed help avoiding ore getting blasted away from the furnace. Charcoal
  2. So we kept going, and here's the summary of our latest attempt/failure (well, kinda). Ore We used the same ore as before. We definitely know it has been used in bloomeries for centuries (more here) and based on our previous experiments, we feel it's appropriate. We did try to make it as iron-rich as possible by "filtering" the roasted ore with a powerful magnet. When crushing it to pieces, it has such a tendency to crumble into powder that we decided to roll with it and pulverize everything. We simply put some water in it before feeding it into the bloomery in order to a
  3. As Will says, wow indeed. This might be one of the most comprehensive guides to steel making I've ever had the pleasure of reading, Alan. Thank you so much for being so helpful with the community. We'll certainly have a crack at hardening/carburizing in the upcoming months (it will depend a lot, of course, on the kind of iron/steel that we're able to make in our bloomery). No issues whatsoever mate, I'm quite happy to learn new things and thread hijacking often helps in that regard
  4. Oh wow, you unknowingly touched one of my other BIG topics of interest here...I've lived since my childhood next to some of the most beautiful French gothic cathedrals. I'm very interested in them, and actually the study of one of them (Beauvais) is what brought me to ore smelting Maybe that's the one you're talking about, but there has been some discussion for years whether wrought iron found inside some cathedrals was from the very type I'm working on right now. If you do have any information about a lab that's working on this topic, I am indeed incredibly interested. Thank you for
  5. Thank you all very much for your nice words It does appear to be wrought iron indeed. And yes, I discovered you really should stop hammering it as soon as it's below orange! I was thinking about using the process described in this video (that is, packing the steel into a sort of "clay" made of charcoal, water and flour), but your recipe makes sense as well.
  6. (Edit: I now realize this would be more appropriate in the "show and tell" section, could anyone move this topic?) Hi guys, Contrary to most (if not all), my first approach into this forum was through the "bloomers" section...my goal was (and is still) primarily to make steel, forging something out of it being "secondary" That being said, I found something of interest last time I went on an ore search, so hey, how about I use the opportunity to get a little bit of training? What you can see here in the trunk of my car, next to fresh ore blocks, is a big old rusty "anc
  7. Hi Alan, Thank you for your insight. First of all, you're talking about bloomery slag, but my understanding was that it is more likely to be blast furnace slag (which was already standard in my area in the early 1500s). Would there be any to differentiate between the 2 processes? I'm guessing bloomery slags would be much richer in iron than blast furnace slags, but that's about it. Thank you for your proposed means of dating, that confirms there doesn't appear to be any "cheap", DIY way of doing this I've got to ask, where do you find "basic" C14 dating for 50 €? Every lab
  8. Hey guys! Since I was getting some ore from my countryside, I figured I could use the opportunity to do some archaeology as well. My studies allowed me to identify a couple of ancient forges/bloomeries (going as far back as the 15th-16th centuries, some sites are even suspected to come from the Roman era). I was able to get there and find some slag pieces embedded in the ground, right where the studies where hinting Now I'd like to be able to confirm the origin of this slag. Most of it should come from blast furnaces (which became standard in the area around the end of the 15th centu
  9. We do! That's actually how we noticed the furnace was dying off, we initially thought the temperatures droping were a sign of a thermocouple failure (which was kind of expected as we used K type thermocouples up to 1200 °C). We did see the furnace going darker and darker. Nice Facebook group, I'm joining Thank you for your kind words.
  10. Hi there! Thank you for your kind words. As it turns out, I have news about the project: basically, we're idiots. Using the experience we gathered during our previous attempt, we set up a new bloomery. We're still using a combination of precast blocks to build the furnace, except this time we're going with clay chimney liners (rated to a very high temperature) instead of cinder blocks. We're still lining the entire thing with clay for a nice, thick clay wall. The furnace was way better than the first one, and this time we were able to monitor the temperatures at 3 different heights v
  11. Alright - we're getting ready for our next try. Before that, I wanted to know a little more about the ore we'll be using. My ore mostly comes from the cliff side I showed in the first post. I was able to classify it in 3 major categories: Banded sandstone I focused on the dark bands that I thought were more likely to have a higher-than-average iron content. Surprisingly, this dark coloration only exists on the surface of the ore up to a depth of about 5 mm. This appears very well after roasting (which renders it quite magnetic): Beneath that, the ore is mainly m
  12. Hi Lee, I was not sure you would read this on the forum. Thank you for taking some time to answer me, much appreciated. As Joshua stated, this is great reading material. Hats off to you sir! That's a great and simple idea. I'm going to try it on several samples to get an idea of the iron content. I'm thinking about using a paper filter to get rid of the iron chloride solution at the end (and maybe monitoring the pH to know for sure when I don't need to add any more acid). I'm also going to try to get a rough estimate by comparing the density of iron-bearing sandstone with
  13. Yes, my region has a rich (no pun intended) history of iron extraction during the late Middle Ages. I found the ore at the exact spot that is documented in archives. I had no luck finding analysis results, though. I'm trying to get in touch with a geological lab which could help me on this particular matter. However, the fact that the ore is both quite magnetic and able to get a very nice red color after roasting leads me to think that iron is indeed present. What do you think?
  14. Hi, Thank you for your answer. How do you suggest I should do this? I've looked into Lee Sauder's "iron dumpling" method, but even with the forge at full blast, all I can do is heat toe inside contents of the dumpling to a nice red hot. No trace of any iron bead inside. The contents went from a 50/50 redish/black mix (roasted ore/charcoal) to an even black mix. The charcoal is still there and I guess the iron ore transformed into magnetite hence the darker color. I wonder what kind of temperature I should aim at to get the iron bead...
  15. Hi all! I recently got interested in iron smelting and decided to give it a try with a couple of friends. We just got back from our bloomery. Although it was not a complete failure, we were unable to obtain a workable iron bloom. There are a couple of things that we do not understand and we would like to get your advice on them. Furnace construction and protocol Ore Our ore was iron-bearing sandstone that I found near my home: We roasted it until bright red. It became quite magnetic after that so I am confident it carried at lea
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