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Jesse John Cook

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About Jesse John Cook

  • Birthday 12/20/1992

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    Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
  1. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    Thanks Daniel and Alan, I'll check out the black sand this weekend and see if it'll be suitable. I'll still probably try the gossan ore at a later date, just to see the difference/challenges.
  2. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    I've done some more digging, literally and figuratively, and sourced some more iron in my area. Half and hour away is a place called Iron Mine Bay that has multiple abandoned iron and copper mines. While I did not find the mines on this trip I located some ore near them that is similar to what I've already collected, just a bit blacker. This also had a slight magnetism so I collected some. After looking for info on the mines I discovered that they shut down because there wasn't enough copper and the iron deposits either had too much copper or sulpur to be worthwhile. Apparently the iron in this area is likely either magnetite or pyrrhotite found within hornblendite. Another account mentioned that the sulphur and iron are deposited separately which gives me some hope. Otherwise I've found out that many of the local creeks have lots of black sand which I plan on collecting anyways. I know sulphur can be removed with weathering and roasting, but can copper be easily removed from the iron? If not what possible effects would this have on the smelt? I feel that if I break it up enough I should be able to magnetically separate the iron, but I heard magnetic separation removes a lot of the non-magnetic reducible iron. I was just hoping to hear experienced opinions on leaving/removing the copper and if it's worth it.
  3. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    Awesome job on the charcoal Joshua, you pumped out quite a bit. I think I'll try to rig up a similar setup this weekend and see how I do. It sounds like whatever wood I can get should work, so that's good to hear.
  4. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    Thanks for the info Eric! I meant to reply earlier and include info on my retort but some issues occured. First I only recieved one oil drum and my build required two, so that will wait until the second one is empty and good to go. However I was impatient and decided to try a simpler process. I drilled holes along the bottom and cut off the top of my barrel. I didn't have as much small hardwood as I though, so it was only half full with 2/3 plum and 1/3 old 2X4 bits (probably not the best charcoal). After starting a fire on the top of the pile I waited ~3 hours until some fire had reached the holes on the bottom. Each bottom hole was blocked with some local clay I had, then I placed the lid on top and placed a chimney over the large hole to funnel the gases. I'm guessing it wasn't quite burnt enough as the larger pieces didn't pyrolize fully. The next day I restacked and lit the large pieces. This burnt for ~1.5 hours before it started raining and I sealed it up. The remainder was fully pyrolized, but some turned to ash. Maybe because the lid doesn't have a tight fit. I meant to flare the lid bottom but ran out of cutting disks. Despite my issues I got a decent amount of questionable charcoal. This was a good learning experience and now I know how much wood I'm going to need to make useful amounts.
  5. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    Awesome thanks! The roasting fire didn't get too hot until the end, maybe I'll roast the smaller stuff again to be sure. Thanks for your quick reply, no rush on my part I'll have spotty connection until monday anyways.
  6. Jesse John Cook

    Preparing for first smelt.

    Hello everyone! I just joined the forum and if this is better suited to the beginner section just let me know. I've already learned a great deal here so thank you to everybody for spending your time sharing with the community. I have some questions as I'm preping for my first smelt and there is a lot to learn. I started by collecting what I believe is ore. (I posted some pre-roast pictures, if someone knows what it is I would love to know) I noticed it on a hike and checked it with a magnet and it was already slightly magnetic. I roasted golfball to softball sized pieces for about 4 hours. I've now started to break it up, however it doesn't break apart as easily as some ore I've seen in videos, but a few hard hammer swings will do the job. My first question is what size should the ore be? I've watched videos and read articles but ore size seems to vary. A lot of videos seem to indicate the ore is crushed to a fine powder. However some resources indicated ~1cm, and catalan furnaces use lump ore (I understand these work differently to a stack, I was just hoping for some clarification on why the ore size varies.) From one article it sounds like the ore should be broken up slightly then roasted again before crushing to final size, what is the most common process? I'm sure I'll have more questions soon but it'll take me awhile to get everything ready. Next step will be a charcoal retort build, I'll post about that when I start. Thanks, Jesse