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So I'm in the mountains of New Mexico, south west of Albuquerque, for high altitude training before I leave the states. The other day we were doing dust landings and when I stepped off the ramp, I found a bunch of rusted rocks. So, naturally, I grabbed a bunch and stuffed them in my pack. When we got back to the airfield, I pulled a hammer and magnet from the tool kit and cracked them open and tested the dust with a magnet. Gentlemen, we have iron ore. Lots and lots of iron ore, just sitting there. If I were headed home after this, I'd fill up a whole chinook with as much as I could get, but that isn't the case, unfortunately. Just a heads up for all of you, though. You should check it out, but save me some. When I get back to the states, I'm coming back out here to collect as much as I can.

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  • 3 months later...

UPDATE: I'm still in Afghanistan for another 200 days. But I now have a small collection of ore from New Mexico, the Tarin Kowt area near the Helmand Province, Kandahar and some more I've found up in the mountains of the Zabul province. I can't wait to get home next May and knock out another smelt. This time I'll have a bloom made from entire adventure. Pshhh-and some people collect post cards. I'll post an update if anyones interested on coming to this one, if you're in the area. There'll be homebrewed beer, steel in the making and whatever else I can think of between now and then.

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Wow, thats what I call ambition! Carrying ore all the way around the world (and probably in your backpack for quite some time?)... Too bad you still have to wait some more.

In the meantime: stay out of trouble, keep healthy and have a safe trip home!

 

Cheers

Hannes

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I only have about 10-15 pounds worth, so far. My gear ways around 90 lbs so 10-15 extra isn't much of a difference. I figure I'll collect as much as I can carry (or as much as customs will allow me to carry) and mix it in with some Spanish Red Iron Oxide that I have lying around in my shop. Add that to the stuff I collected with a magnet from my last smelt (that stuff blows around like crazy and dyes everything and everyone, red) and throw in the slag I collected from the last one as well. Should be a fun time. I'll of course brew up another specially made beer for this smelt as well. I have a recipe I've been playing with for sometime that time I can't wait to make and try out when I get home.

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... and mix it in with some Spanish Red Iron Oxide that I have lying around in my shop ... (that stuff blows around like crazy and dyes everything and everyone, red)

 

Jon (and everyone else)

 

My team has worked extensively with potter's oxides, the Spanish Red and the higher iron content black. This in attempts to custom mix an analog for specific primary bog iron ores.

The key to avoiding just the problem you mention Jon, is pre-mixing the fine powder into something easier to handle. I dry mix 10% whole wheat flour into the powder, then blend with water into a dough like paste. This is about the consistency of bread dough, or maybe cookie dough. Yes, the easiest way to accomplish this is mixing by hand, inside a 5 gallon plastic pail. Yes, you will get covered in the red stuff up to the elbows doing this.

The dough is then placed on cookie sheets, or just on to a piece of plastic, and then spread out into the sun to dry. Normally the mix is spread about 1/2 inch thick. Depending on your sun / location, this may take a couple of days. The resulting material is about the hardness of a cookie, and is easy to break up into suitable chunks for adding to the furnace.

 

This analog is porous enough that it easily reacts inside a furnace with 50 cm above the tuyere (thats 20 inches). No separate roasting step has been required. There is virtually no loss out of the top of the furnace.

 

The huge advantage here is that this 'DARC Dirt' analog is easily available to those of us not blessed with local deposits of iron ore.

 

http://www.warehamforge.ca/ironsmelting/ores.html

Data on our ores and analogs

 

Darrell

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Wow man, thanks! I've heard of soaking the SR in water and letting it dry to allow it to clump up a bit, but I've never heard of mixing whole wheat flour before. IRON COOKIES!!...and carb friendly too! laugh.gif I can't wait to give that a try.

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