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Tatara smelt, NWBA Sring conference 11

Kristopher Skelton

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Instead of posting a dozen photos about the event I thought I'd try linking to my Flickr stream, and see what happens: Spring 2011 tatara You can turn on "show info" for a little more about each picture. All photos were taken with an iPhone4 (not too shabby, and less to carry than my camera).


The masterminds of this project are local smiths Tom Ferry and Dave Lisch, who had no trouble recruiting volunteers for building and operating the tatara. I believe this was their third attempt at making steel and this tatara yielded the largest bloom they've had so far. I was there for the initial firing on Friday to help dry the clay, but missed the first part of Saturday morning's smelt firing. The fuel was wood charcoal cut into small blocks, and the base material for the bloom was hematite. The estimated yield was 30-35# out of a full bag of blasting media, estimated at 60#. a 5 gallon bucket of charcoal and about 4# of hematite were added every 8 minutes for about 4 hours. They weren't able to cut the bloom, though they did manage to break the head off of the sledge in the last picture.


Tomfoolery was had by all :)

Edited by Kristopher Skelton

Kristopher Skelton, M.A.

"There was never a good knife made from bad steel"

A quiet person will perish ~ Basotho Proverb

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Kristopher Great to see the piks of the smelt posted hear. I Like that you can see the coal face we put on the chimney in one photo. It was a real BLAST LOL. Tom and Dave barowed that sledg frum Bill Apple and I think had to pay for It in the end.

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