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Andrew W

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Andrew W last won the day on June 12

Andrew W had the most liked content!

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    Gainesville, FL
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    Historical metallurgy, early medieval archaeology, Anglo-Saxon spearheads

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  1. I do it outside, preferably somewhere with a breeze! But no, it never goes away.
  2. It’s one of those sensations that you never forget... Incidentally, I finished this up in a new forge with the Black Beauty burners you recommended to me. They weld bloom effortlessly. Thank you for putting them on my radar.
  3. A copy of 6th century English archaeological finds, staring from ore. The finished blade. Heterogeneous bloomery steel blade, horn handle (drilled + burned in hidden tang). A closeup of the other side of the blade. This billet is only 18 layers--I wanted to maintain the messy metallurgy we see on so many of the originals. I smelted the iron back in March. Unlike my first half-successful try, this smelt went well. I got a nice, steely 14lb bloom. (This photo’s from the preheat, just before I switched from wood to charcoal.) Obligatory photo of the slag tap, near the end of the smelt. The 14lb bloom of new iron, birthed (via c-section) from the side of the furnace. The bloom was steely already, but I decided to do a hearth melt with some of the scraps that fluffed off it while I was compacting the main part. I tossed those scraps into a charcoal hearth, and got a nice lump of much more consolidated steel from it. The smaller bloom from the hearth melt, and the billet into which I forged 1/2 of it. I forged that billet into a blade! Polished and etched. I love the textures of bloomery steel.
  4. Thanks! Two it is. Is there a particular refractory formula that holds up to borax and bloomery slag? I was leaning toward brick for easy of replacement, but am happy to adjust if that's a bad plan. (Either way, I'm planning on laying down a sacrificial kiln shelf.)
  5. If I could piggyback off this (helpful!) discussion-- I'm in the process of building a propane forge with a flat hard brick base, arched top lined with 2" of wool + refractory and reflective coating, volume of about 330 in³. I had been planning on getting a t-rex burner, but I hadn't seen the black beauty burners before. I want to do a lot of welding. It sounds like I would be fine getting the BB burner instead of the t-rex? Can I get just one, or should I buy two to be sure welding is easy? I don't want to waste fuel, but I also don't want to have to fight to get the heat I'll need. [Edit: I see, in the thread you just linked Alan, that Brian used two for about 475in³?]
  6. Next, I took all the fluff that came off these three smelts and ran it through a hearth. This is about 3lb of scraps. Some of it's cutoffs from the knives I made from smelt #1, some of it's cast iron, and the rest is crumbly bits that flaked off the bloom while we were compacting it. I tossed it all into the hearth. And I got a lovely lump of steel! That's half the steel right after I folded it to 18 layers.
  7. My second and third tries went well! Smelt #2 gave me a nice big bloom! So I fired up the furnace again the next day. And made another :). We managed to hammer this one thinner and cut it in half. 14lb and 8lb, including the fluff. I used less ore on the second smelt, so I'm happy with the lower yield. The copper tuyere made the difference. No airflow problems, no rogue hot spots, and the blooms formed exactly where they were supposed to. The second, smaller bloom is a bit dry. I turned my back for 5 minutes and the tuyere backed up. I tapped the slag and saved it in time, but I think I overcompensated. My goal is to strike a better balance on attempt #4.
  8. What kind of firebrick are you using? I've found that some of the cheap, thin ones from Amazon aren't good to forgewelding heats (despite any claims on their packaging). A proper hard brick should hold up better.
  9. Here are three of them! Horn handles, as per the early Anglo-Saxon period originals on which they're based.
  10. The steel I made in this smelt has worked up very nicely. (The welded-on edge of the longest blade is hearth steel I made from scrap metal from the shop floor—everything else is bloomery steel from this smelt).
  11. Checked the mail tonight and found this waiting for me. Ready for round 2
  12. It's in Malim, T. and Hines, J., (1998). The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Edix Hill (Barrington A), Cambridgeshire: excavations 1989--1991 and a summary catalogue of material from 19th century interventions. This has now been put online as a (legal) pdf, which you can download here: https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/library/browse/issue.xhtml?recordId=1075286&recordType=MonographSeries The metallurgy analysis of the spearheads starts on page 250. There are some great line drawings of the blade cross-sections, and a detailed discussion.
  13. This is wonderful. You see this in historical blades sometimes. For example, 6 of the early medieval (6th century Anglo-Saxon) spearheads buried in the cemetery at Edix Hill (Cambridgeshire) were made from scrap, including bits of pattern welded swords. I've been wanting to make one for a few years just to see what it looks like--your results are inspiring!
  14. "Looks like you got a little cast in that pic on the stump." I did, yes (600g when I sorted it, and 1840g low-carbon iron). I found most of the cast down in the bottom when I tidied up. I've added it to the "once I make enough to decarb in an Evenstad hearth" pile.
  15. First off, hello! This is my first post here--I've been lurking for months, reading the archives and enjoying how much knowledge everyone has shared. I appreciate what you've all built here. Last week I smelted iron for the first time. I'm a medieval technology historian, and my book-research specializes in early medieval English iron bladesmithing. I'm also a novice bladesmith, and I've always wanted to smelt my own iron, since I saw Darrell Markewitz give a demo at the Kalamazoo ICMS in 2013. I drove up to Mark Green's place in December, and he walked me through the process. I was excited to build my first stack and try for myself. And I made metal! Unfortunately, my tuyere melted part way though (I used a ceramic kiln shelf support, and it didn't make it). I think this is what caused most of the slag in my stack to freeze up. I still got 4lb of iron (as well as a bucket full of iron-heavy slag for resmelting later), so I'm pleased for a first attempt. I've got a copper pipe on the way for next time, and I'm hoping I can achieve a solid bloom on try #2 next weekend. So far, the iron is forging up well! Here are two blog posts with some more photos and a discussion of the equipment I used, if anyone's interested: 1) http://andrewwelton.com/smelting-iron-a-first-attempt/ 2) http://andrewwelton.com/forging-a-bloom-into-iron-bars/ Thank you to everyone here for sharing so much knowledge. You helped me avoid a lot of newbie mistakes
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