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Bellows smelt


Mark Green

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Today we smelted iron the old school way. With side-by-side bellows.

It was great fun and ran as good as ever!!

Thanks to all who helped.

8lbs of solid bloom, after pressing the halves to bricks, and 3 lbs of fluff, from 42lbs of ore.

 

Here are some pics. Story, and more pics later. Video as well!!!

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/106800196895572422821/BellowsSmelt#

 

026.JPG

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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That's encouraging Mark.. those bellows aren't much bigger than mine. I like how your bloom wept through the furnace already in the shape of a tsuba! You are getting good....

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Very cool, that'd be something I'd love to experience some day.

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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This was as easy a smelt as can be. Despite the inter-operator variability at the bellows everything went smoothly and the result was a beautifully shaped bloom. I am uploading a video to YouTube now and will post a link here as soon as it is processed. Good to see everyone there and kudos to the host!

Enjoy life!

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Even with a blower separated some distance it isn't the same Zeb, the bellows gives it a breathing sound that fits well with the whole thing.

I'm fortunate to have gotten to be a part of it. And as a side note Mark makes a great hearty New England style chowder (his chili is good too) Thanks Mark for all the work you did putting this on.

I look forward to hosting a smelt this spring at my place... no bellows yet though.

Denis

 

No smelters were harmed in the creation of this bloom.

Face fire Mark.jpg

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It was great to have everyone over for the smelt.

Great vid Jesus. Thanks.

I added some pics of the bloom processing today to the Picasa page.

 

 

025.JPG

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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Sorry I missed that one, too! :( Looks like a fun time, and beautiful bloomage.

 

No time for extracurriculars for the forseeable future, but Dennis, you are on formal notice that I intend to descend upon your place as a one-man barbarian horde if you do this next spring. If I can... ;)

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Well Alan, quite without your knowing I have secretly planned said smelt when you are available so fear not. You will be present, expected, and welcomed. Seriously though I do plan to schedule it with you and some of the greats we've worked with in the recent past. I hope that by Sept. we can have at least a few behind us here at my place. Smelting gods willing.

Sláinte mhaith, my brother in iron.

Denis

DSC_0054.JPG

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Great video, I thoroughly enjoyed that. Over winter when I'm in the midwest with a little more space, I might have to try a run, although I don't have a stack, charcoal, bellows, or ore :rolleyes:

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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  • 1 month later...

Nice to see this, but i wonder why you put stones on top of the bellow?

It make it a lot heavyer to draw them, even it gives a constant presure, but after some time its no problem to find the rigtht presure, without stone at the bellows, and it make life a lot easyer for the slaves.

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These bellows were a LOT harder to push down then pull up. Even with the bricks, it was not very tough to pump, on the up side.

Everyone seemed to think it helped.

 

Mark

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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These bellows were a LOT harder to push down then pull up. Even with the bricks, it was not very tough to pump, on the up side.

Everyone seemed to think it helped.

 

Mark

 

I see.

But its commón that its harder to push down, but it shut not be that hard that its nedded to put stones on top of the bellow, but if you work with big air volume it might be so?

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But its commón that its harder to push down, but it shut not be that hard that its nedded to put stones on top of the bellow, but if you work with big air volume it might be so?

 

Jens:

 

One thing that I do notice is that there is a long series of pipes between the bellows and the tuyere. This does create more drag on the air as it moves from the bellows. We had noticed this effect with our human powered bellows work here.

 

Mark:

 

I have built a number of the Norse Double Bag style bellows - in a number of sizes.

One thing to be really careful with in the construction - keeping the line of the hinges set at 90 degrees to the angle of the handle. And placing the handle in the middle of the position of the hinges. Both alignments reduce a sideways force being applied to the hinges as they are pumped. This especially a problem with in-experienced, and very tired (!!) bellows operators. Are your hinges starting to work loose? From the video this looks the case. The slight diagonal alignment you have is one reason.

 

On the smelt, you are estimating the delivery volume by relating this to the burn rate? Or did you measure the delivery volume of air. I would be curious to have those measurements if you have them.

 

Your ore to bloom yield works out to 19%. Is this typical for the ore you were using?

 

I ask this because my own work here has shown pretty clearly that there is a marked reduction in bloom yields when there is a switch from the electric blower (same as Lee Sauder uses) to the human powered air.

The blooms from human air have also been more lacy or 'crumbly' in texture. Honestly, yours certainly looks nicely dense, and from your images certainly worked up very quickly and to a solid looking billet.

 

Very nice work all around. Bet your team now has even greater respect for the ancient iron makers!

 

Darrell

 

Image - All Viking Age equipment smelt, L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC, 2010. Mark Pilgram of LAM with the horn, Dave Cox of DARC on the bellows.

The only modern elements were safety glasses and the use of a steel pipe for tuyere. The progress of the smelt undertaken judging by sound and feel.

 

smelt_work1.jpg

website: www.warehamforge.ca
Blog : http://warehamforgeblog.blogspot.com
(topics include iron smelting, blacksmithing, Viking Age)

NOTE : Any posted comments may be converted into a future blog article!
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I dint see the vidio before now, and that make me more convinced that something is wrong with the bellows or the way they are conected to the furnace.

In this vidio from Foteviken Viking market you ca see some of mine bellows in use, a bag bellow for the smelt vere theres no lever principle and the man have to make all the presure, and a pair of small bellows for the reheating.

 

 

Jens

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Darrell---- I believe I sent you the numbers on the air flow/ vol. for the bellows. I measured them with the KPH and vol. using the trash-bag tests. the bellows on the average, put out near exactly the same air, as my vac. does. I will look up the numbers again if you like.

I thought the bellows did very well. All the wood frame was made, (by our own Zeb) from some pictures! I did all the leather, handle, and valve work. I though about doing the single end box, to a single outlet pipe, (as in your pic) but, the blow back valves worked very well, so, I went with the simple T.

The biggest air-loss we had, was from the intake valves warping a tiny bit, in the damp hot weather. However, it didn't seem to effect the air flow at the tuyere end.

Once the crew got the hang, it went very well. They were not hard to opperate. The smelt ran just like any other day.

 

As for the return. The weight was taken from those bars. Having already been through initial compaction. So, the return from extraction, was likely closer to 25%, with the 3lbs. of usable fluff. That is the usual return from the Carolina easy ore mix. So, it was very much like any other bloom I made this year with that ore.

The bloom was very solid, and pressed up as nice as any. It is iron. I plan to work with some of this material soon. I will report on it.

 

We did the same, as to the sound and feel. That is all I ever use. The breathing of the bellows was very nice. The fire color looked good, and the burn rate was (depending on the pumper) right on the money. Super fun!!!

Yes, it is good to have squires that love you. :D/>

Edited by Mark Green

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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this is all great to see.

I am especially enthused at seeing Darrell and crew in viking clothing with safety glasses, thats my kind of gig.

I have some double action bellows restored, for just this purpose.

I am looking forward for the smelting season this year.

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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Here is the link to the video:

 

 

IMG_1400.jpg

 

 

Got some extra delicious fuel additives in there for extra heat?

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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