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Well, I did it.. Is it alright to have a low carbon content in the middle of the bloom? the edges all spark wonderfully, but the core is soft. This is after I quenched, which was dumb, and beat off the slag. Its polished to 400, but shows a clear line where something is going on, either less carbon, or it didn't harden. This is after a ferric chloride etch by the way.


Oh, a stack of firebrick with a hole cut works great.


Edited by Kenon Rain
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Grinding on the center shoots pretty much straight sparks like wrought, its about a half inch by inch area that is this softer steel, when I beat it into waffels, will this be alright? I'm making another few runs, and a batch of charcoal today, then hopefully consolidating it all later..

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  • 4 weeks later...

i tried a run wiht pieces of rebar i had tried to forgeweld on (and failed) and when i pulled out the resulting blob, the forgeweld attempt areas were the only part unmelted? any hints as to why this might be?


ill try to get pics soon

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It's hard to tell by a pic, but it looks a little "brassy". A lot of the rebar is notorious for copper,zinc, etc. One of the main products made from recycling.


Question on this furnace; Has anyone used it with wrought?

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i tried a run with iron sand , and i got the sand to sticktogether but i dont acutally know how i was supposed to process it into a bar, so i ent up with pieces of iron sand in my forge

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Well then.

Let's have it Man.

Did the conflagration do away with the silica? Was it hot enough? *to make relaltively pure iron*?


Unfortunately, the samples produced were "lost" and I never got the chemical analysis results on them.

To my personal analysis (spark test, forge-ability, weld-ability) the end-result was no different that what you get when starting off with mild steel as the source.

Edited by Jesus Hernandez
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  • 8 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Hey all- playing around with the Aristotle today...


I used iron filings bound with an organic material with good success. It took a long time- about a half hour or possibly a little more, treating the material like a smelt, putting about 1/4 cup filings in with 1/2 cup charcoal as the level in the furnace dropped about every 6-7 minutes. I went from 700 grams of iron filings to 275 g in a compressed bloom.


I used some wrought iron I have to good success- a nice full compactable bloom, from 700 grams of 3/8" round stock to a bloom of 490 grams plus a funny little bloomer sitting right on top of the big one for a total of 674 grams, though I imagine there's some slag in the little bloomer. The little one sparks a bit higher C content and I haven't played with it yet.


Next time I'll use my local clay with 50% sand and charcoal to see if it's more permanent than the clay with chopped straw & horse manure, which held up well for 4 runs but cracked a bit on initial fire. It would have held up for another run or two but the wrought bloom was so big I just cracked it open along a fault line or two.


That's all for now... fun!


Edited to add photo of the filings bloom.



Edited by J.Arthur Loose
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  • 5 weeks later...



I've just added some info about the oroshigane process to the above post.


Anyone have more detail? Or perhaps a speculative history of its origin?


Here's another example of the orishigane process by a favorite source:



He also sorts tamahagane this way, and creates the needed amounts by sorting and processing as above.

The same rules apply to scrap steel and iron. Sponge iron, electrolytic iron are mentioned as sources.

It looks like the material size is kept to 1/4" thick maximum. That would indicate carburizing by carbon monoxide in the open hearth, where the temperature of the iron needs to be around 1600 degrees I think. Reducing cast iron to make useful steel should work the same way.

Once the bloom is pulled out of the bottom and flattened to 1/4" and quenched, it can be broken and sorted again.


So this method isn't the quick and easy way to create a lot of steel, but it looks like the perfect method for a single smith, and relies on the smith's knowledge and eye for steel. This way he's making 'custom' low alloy steel, over a period of a few days.

Almost any ferrous low alloy scrap can be made into high carbon steel this way. I think the trick is to find scrap that doesn't contain a lot of what you DON'T want, which is alloys you can't get rid of with this method. Rebar might not be ideal! But it might work too. Electrolytic iron looks perfect for carburizing.


It's interesting now to look at the traditional Japanese forge. Its shape and dimensions make it good for all of the smith's steel working needs. It can process a range of ferrous scrap into high quality steel, forge things into shape and act as a heat treating and tempering furnace.

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  • 2 years later...

Man, too cool.


Thanks Skip, Lee, Jesus, and everybody who shared in this thread.


This is the way forward for me, I'm a hardcore recycler outside the bladesmith life and this fits in perfectly.

I have craploads of material to feed a little dragon like that.


I am so on this... Back with pics when the damn snow stops at lets me get to it.

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Me too :0)


Been a fun trip hasn't it Jesus?


I'm so excited by the scale, I can handle this, even in my aging decrepit state. And gets rid of mountains of steel destined to scrap piles which will instead become usefull things again, without the poison of today's steelmaking being pumped out into the enviornment, so it's win, win, and win as far as I can see.


Oh man, i vibrate every time I think about it...


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Hey Randall-

There's another article on the smelting research section of my website, "Aristotle's Steel"




This is a great way to dig into it, though I find I more often now use a bigger, more open hearth, because I can see/feel better what's going on. Basically, you're getting hot stuff to the bottom, then it's absorbing carbon.. at high temps. So the gradient from iron to steel to cast iron happens fast! The smaller the scale, the faster it happens.Mark Green has posted lots of stuff here about the more open "Evenstad" style hearth- look for that. Still- start with the Aristotle- quick, easy, and fast way to get lots of practice.

Biggest controls- depth of hearth floor below tuyere, angle of tuyere, and biggest I think, is length of time you let the puck sit there after last charge before cutting blast.

Edited by Lee Sauder
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Actually Lee, what I'm excited about is the small scale of it, I've done larger scale both on my own with round shaft furnace and with Mike Blue in the tatara style, as well as some crucible steel and blister/shear steel expirements on and off over quite a few years.

This excites me because of the small and simple nature, and the ability to run the whole show myself, off grid, at will.


I still have an interest though in all of it, and certainly will spend time tonight checking out that link. The open hearth interests me too, would like to know more about that.


I am most comfortable with shaft furnace, and this is what gets me about that little guy. The scale suits me right now, so well.


Cool, notes on controll much appreciated, I gathered some of this from the thread as well, which has been very enlightening.

I think the small size will help in getting reciepts figured out as it seems the whole thing is measured in minutes, as opposed to the many hours I have been used to in the past. I physically could not handle that anymore.


Lee, thanks so much. Be hard to explain but this idea and thread kinda lifts quite a weight off, did not really have a clear path ahead but this furnace may have lit up the entrance to a new road. With a few less potholes maybe. :0)

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  • 7 months later...

Seven pages later and now i think i know less about steel than i started with im used to making steel at a mill/ foundry damn this get complex how did these folks ever figure it out

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