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Mark Green

Todays High Ti magnetite smelt.

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Today, we had a good time making some steel with some good mates.

 

The ore wanted to be a bit tricky, but we figured it out in the end.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/106800196895572422821/MagnetiteSmeltNovember92013#

 

006.JPG

 

016.JPG

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Looks like a good time. Did you notice the Royal Oak charcoal sparking a bit less than the Cowboy? I use it for my hearth refining because it burns so nice compared to all the other brands I've tried. I'm hoping to do another smelt before the end of year, gonna try the corn bread with some spainish red.

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That's a good idea Zeb. If I had known about the cornmeal mix when I used the "red" I sure would have used it.

 

Yes, the Royal oak was easy to clean, and had a LOT less fines then the Cowboy, but it sure does burn up a lot faster. Not as hot burning I think as well.
I tried some Wicked Good charcoal a few weeks ago. It was great, and if you live in MA.you can pick it up for like 12$ a bag, but here it is 22$ a bag. WAT too much.

I need to do a couple easy ore smelts to get used to the RO, and see how the times run on that. It is nice for hearth work. The flying ambers is the worst part of hearth-refining, and there is a lot less with the RO.

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It was indeed! When mark says "we" figured it out in the end he of course means he and Jesus. The wealth of working knowledge that these two are building is pretty inspiring to the likes of me. It's always a learning experience to get to help them with a smelt. I need to learn to make sure that we get a photo of me with my gob closed and Jesus talking! It does happen, I swear.

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Lookin' good Mark! It's amazing how much of a difference the charcoal makes. I gave a demo last week on hearth melting for the local knife club, and used Cowboy charcoal for the first time (before I had been using homemade stuff). It was like a volcano, we had to put a shield over the top of the furnace to keep the sparks from melting the ceiling. It burned really hot too; some of the steel completely liquefied and ran down to the bottom of the bloom. I'm assuming that part would be cast iron, haven't forged it yet. Overall it was a good run though.

 

I'm curious what effect the Ti has on the final alloy after smelting?

 

Hopefully I can make it to one of your smelts sometime. You wouldn't be planning one closer to Christmas time would you? (Speaking of the holidays, will you be baking the cornbread for Thanksgiving this year? :wacko::) )

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That's a good idea Zeb. If I had known about the cornmeal mix when I used the "red" I sure would have used it.

 

Brings to my mind, a question.....

 

It's been a while since I was last on the forum, due to illness, and the last time I was around, I had asked about pre-mixing the ore with lime and clay, forming what would be essentially be homemade taconite to make it easier to handle, but I was informed that was a useless endeavor. Yet now I find what appears to be the same thing with this baked cornmeal / cornbread mix - what happened to cause this apparent change?

 

 

Edited: Was thinking faster than my fingers type, and left out part of what I was going to say.

Edited by Greg H.

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Greg, ----- I have found that the cornmeal makes a nice mix of sizes with the ore. This allows the ore to fall at different rates through the reduction zone.
I'm pretty sure it does help a lot with this ore. When I clean it as much as I do, to help remove the high Ti, and the loads of other slag making impurities.

 

If I were to add anything that would add slag, like lime and clay, it would likely freeze up badly. It is difficult enough as it is.

Now, that being said, I don't know why adding a little lime and clay to some super clean ore, wouldn't work. But, I have never tried this.

 

 

On another note, Look what I found today while cleaning up the stack.
When we were getting ready to drop the bloom, I said to the guys "we better have some kind of mold ready". I was thinking that with how hot we had been running for the last 15 min. or so, that we may have made some cast iron.
When I was cleaning the under bloom, we had a big drop, of what I thought was slag, but today I found this.

 

It is 2+ lbs. of cast iron. I was thinking the bloom had a funny shape. We melted a good bit off the tuyere side.

 

At least it's a pretty cool looking piece of art. A bird and chick. ;)

 

001.JPG

 

002.JPG

 



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Josh, we could do one the week of Christmas. I'm off all that week, Right now, I plan to be home, I will know more later.

 

Let me know what is good with you.

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I knew we have made some cast iron.

 

Denis, you are too humble. By now you know as much as we all do.

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Jesus, I guess that was the reason the bloom had that "neck"

We cooked off all the steel around it. :0

 

Too bad we didn't get any bloom pics. We were all to busy wondering if there was a bloom in there at all.

At least that adds a few lbs. to the total, plus the amount we likely cooked off.

like 9lbs. from 40 lbs. of ore.

It was funny, when we all looked at each other after that big splash, wondering if the bloom had been turned to liquid.

 

I wish we had a pic of that.

At least the material seems to work pretty well. :)

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.....On another note, Look what I found today while cleaning up the stack.

When we were getting ready to drop the bloom, I said to the guys "we better have some kind of mold ready". I was thinking that with how hot we had been running for the last 15 min. or so, that we may have made some cast iron.

When I was cleaning the under bloom, we had a big drop, of what I thought was slag, but today I found this.

 

It is 2+ lbs. of cast iron. I was thinking the bloom had a funny shape. We melted a good bit off the tuyere side.

 

At least it's a pretty cool looking piece of art. A bird and chick. ;)

 

 

 

Isn't the counter to the formation of cast iron, running a charge with a higher percentage of ore to carbon? That being said, could you break up the cast iron and use it in your next smelt to recover what might other wise be lost values ( that is, if you are not into casting iron )?

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Oh I will play with the cast for sure Greg.

I can try to convert it back to steel, in the hearth, or use it for crucible steel, or setting difficult welds, or any number of other things. And yes, I have run plenty through the smelter a second time, with lots of other bloom fluff. To good results.

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The whole problem was that this ore is just very tough to smelt. It always has been. It was the first of the local ores that I found, and had quite a bit.

It was always a challenge to make work. Before I started mag cleaning the hell out of it it was VERY tough.

I experimented many times, mixing it with my easy brown ore. Many times to very good bloom results, but the bloom was a bit difficult to work with. It always wanted to make a very thick fire scale layer, making it a bugger to fold up.

I learned that hearth-refining it, made a wonderful product, that was a dream to work with. So most of it ended up as hearth-refined bloom products.

 

However, being me, I wasn't happy with not being able to make this great resource, that I have very near to me work.

So, this fall, I dried out the pile I had left, and got a new plan. triple, or more mag. cleaning, and baking half or more up in the cornmeal. My first smelt using this method, a few weeks ago, went very well. The steel it made, has been a dream to work with, and will soon be my first Japanese style sword, if all goes well.

 

This smelt had a few variables I wasn't ready for. The combination of the new stack, and the new charcoal, made for a 6min. burn time, right from the start.

we ran with this for 5-6 charges, thinking the 1k charges would slow it down some. It didn't.

Jesus, was thinking we were not getting enough reduction time, and I agreed, so we slowed thee air down near 40%. This gave us an 8-9 min burn time, however, after a few more charges, it was becoming obvious that it was just to cold.

This ore just like to run very hot. SO, we needed to do some taps to clear the tuyere, but that wasn't happening without some more heat. We went back up, above where we had started. That cured the slow slag, and we had some good taps.

Then, we tried to regulate back down, but it was being difficult. We found a good spot, at about 5-6 min range, and did a few more large taps.

At this point, it was anyone's guess what we were cooking up.

I could feel a good solid bloom in there on slag taps, and it seemed good size.

After getting in 19kg, I called it, and we started a quick burn down. I thought about turning it down some, but Jesus reminded me that could cause some cold slag problems, as we had been having all day. So, we kept the heat on, and started the cleaning of the birthing chamber.

About the time I got the chamber under the bloom cleaned out, we had that monster drop, of slag, and cast. the cast must have burned into the fines, and I swept over it, when cleaning out the slag.

I opened the upper door, and there was a pretty fair size bloom. It was time to get her on the stump, so we did.

The bloom had a strange shape. It looked a bit like a turtle. The side to the tuyere, was like a neck and head. It compacted well, on the stump, and was very solid.

I took it to the press, and cut it into 5-6 pieces. Again it looked very solid.

So, that's the story.

I put one small piece in the forge, and was able to make a trade bar, in 5 heats. It looked very nice. It may become a blade straight from bloom.

 

 

FUN.

Edited by Mark Green

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Heya Mark-

 

That's an Interesting one. When we smelted this ore a couple of years ago, it also wanted to make cast iron, because the gangue in it is aluminous. That's why it makes a gooey slag, both in the smelting and the forging, and that gooey slag isn't very decarburizing.

 

We solved that by adding silica (in the form of a low grade siliceous magnetite I had.) I think lime and clay would be the exact wrong direction to go.

 

What I'm curious about is the burn time. I don't think I've ever had that dramatic a difference just from charcoal variation, (with the exception of trying to use truly wet charcoal.) I'm a little unclear on your charge time measurement-- you usually run 1kg ore and 1kg charcoal in 9 min? This time it was 6 min? In an 8" diameter furnace?

 

Is the new stack truly the same interior diameter of the old one?

 

Later-

 

Lee

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Hi Lee,

 

Yes, the reason I had started doing the triple+ mag cleaning was to help with the AL, and other crap you told me about.

I have had very good results, mixing this ore with my easy ore. That cured the slag problem. However, the last time I smelted this, I was able to get great results by triple cleaning, binding it with the corn meal, and running a bit hot.

The slag was black, and shiny, and much better all around, and the part I have forged up so far has been great.

 

Yes, my 8in. stacks usually run 9min. charge times at 1kg,ore, and 1-1.5kg, charcoal. That is why we were so surprised at the 6min. thing.

I just went out and measured the bore. I think that the 8in. tube I used this time, may have been a bit on the small size. Just a hair. Plus, I did not do my addition to the lower chamber, of another thickness of the tube all around.

So, those things combined, with the new charcoal, had to be the difference. I have done 50 smelts with the 8in. tube form, and nearly always, they want to run 9-10min. with the air set as is.

 

We thought that upping the charge of ore may help slow it down, and we likely should have just run with that, for a few more charges.

Looking over my notes from the last magnetite smelt, I was running mostly 7min. charge times. So, with the new stack, and charcoal variables, we should have just let it run at the 6min. and waited to see if the slag would run ok for taps at that heat.

 

That last one was about 25% other magnetite, that I had from above the haw river, and some from NJ.

 

The slag on this weekends smelt was black throughout, and when we upped the heat, it was very nice black, and runny.

 

So, live and learn. These difficult ones always are the best for learning stuff. If I just cook easy ore all the time It would be to easy. :)

 

Thanks for chiming in Lee.

 

I will run an 'Easy Ore' smelt in a couple weeks, and see how the stack, and new charcoal behave.

 

Mark

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When I was running those 8" stacks last year, I was burning 4lbs coal and 4 lbs ore in 12 to 13 minutes, so that's pretty close to 1 kg in 6 minutes. (With brown ore though)

It'll be interesting to see what happens when you go back to the easy brown and see if the charcoal changes things.

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Wow, I always had trouble with having to tap every other charge when I go over 2kg, wait, that is 4+lbs :)

 

We will see.

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The whole problem was that this ore is just very tough to smelt. It always has been. It was the first of the local ores that I found, and had quite a bit.

It was always a challenge to make work. Before I started mag cleaning the hell out of it it was VERY tough.

I experimented many times, mixing it with my easy brown ore. Many times to very good bloom results, but the bloom was a bit difficult to work with. It always wanted to make a very thick fire scale layer, making it a bugger to fold up.

I learned that hearth-refining it, made a wonderful product, that was a dream to work with. So most of it ended up as hearth-refined bloom products.

 

However, being me, I wasn't happy with not being able to make this great resource, that I have very near to me work.

So, this fall, I dried out the pile I had left, and got a new plan. triple, or more mag. cleaning, and baking half or more up in the cornmeal. My first smelt using this method, a few weeks ago, went very well. The steel it made, has been a dream to work with, and will soon be my first Japanese style sword, if all goes well.

 

This smelt had a few variables I wasn't ready for. The combination of the new stack, and the new charcoal, made for a 6min. burn time, right from the start.

we ran with this for 5-6 charges, thinking the 1k charges would slow it down some. It didn't.

Jesus, was thinking we were not getting enough reduction time, and I agreed, so we slowed thee air down near 40%. This gave us an 8-9 min burn time, however, after a few more charges, it was becoming obvious that it was just to cold.

This ore just like to run very hot. SO, we needed to do some taps to clear the tuyere, but that wasn't happening without some more heat. We went back up, above where we had started. That cured the slow slag, and we had some good taps.

Then, we tried to regulate back down, but it was being difficult. We found a good spot, at about 5-6 min range, and did a few more large taps.

At this point, it was anyone's guess what we were cooking up.

I could feel a good solid bloom in there on slag taps, and it seemed good size.

After getting in 19kg, I called it, and we started a quick burn down. I thought about turning it down some, but Jesus reminded me that could cause some cold slag problems, as we had been having all day. So, we kept the heat on, and started the cleaning of the birthing chamber.

About the time I got the chamber under the bloom cleaned out, we had that monster drop, of slag, and cast. the cast must have burned into the fines, and I swept over it, when cleaning out the slag.

I opened the upper door, and there was a pretty fair size bloom. It was time to get her on the stump, so we did.

The bloom had a strange shape. It looked a bit like a turtle. The side to the tuyere, was like a neck and head. It compacted well, on the stump, and was very solid.

I took it to the press, and cut it into 5-6 pieces. Again it looked very solid.

So, that's the story.

I put one small piece in the forge, and was able to make a trade bar, in 5 heats. It looked very nice. It may become a blade straight from bloom.

 

 

FUN.

 

I am still finding this thread very informative, as any ore that that might be close to being available locally ( half a state away ), either has sulfur, or titanium or tungsten in it. Obviously, the sulfur is to be avoided at all cost, but the others might be useable even if they have their own problems.

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Wow, I always had trouble with having to tap every other charge when I go over 2kg, wait, that is 4+lbs :)

 

We will see.

 

Yep, once I start tapping I try to keep tapping continuosly, which kinda ends up meaning every other charge or so. I get better iron that way.

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is this magnetite from river/stream sands?

 

do you ever grind/crush the ore?

 

I've been experimenting with running magnetite sand through old kitchen blenders.....it separates a lot of stuff from the magnetite...the black sand starts to turn red from a lot of fine dust that I assume is hematite

 

the resulting fine material doesn't separate well with a magnet...I wash it with water and pour off the cloudy red liquid .after the magnetite settles to the bottom ...after washing multiple times I dry it & do more magnetic separations...

 

of course blenders are too small to do much volume...but I'm curious if anyone is using ball mills or similar to refine/purify their ore

 

have also noticed that by using strong & weak magnets I can separate magnetite from ilmentite...strong magnet attracts both magnetite & ilmentie...the weak magnet only picks up the magnetite

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Indeed, I think you do Lee.

 

I have adopted your theory. :)

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Rogerr, My local magnetite comes in sandy rock form. Some, are much richer then others, like all iron ore.

 

I crush it all to sand size with a hammer. It's not difficult, just takes a bit of time. Then I have a system for mag. cleaning that isn't very scientific, and does take a lot of time, but does, reduce about 30%/20%10%, as I go. I have taken it even further, until almost not particles are not magnetic.
I don't think you can ever get it all, but that seems to be enough.
Before I started the multi-cleaning process, this ore was a BUGGER to smelt.
The new steps I have taken seem to be working, if I choose to do all the work involved.

 

We will see, what my next sword looks like, then I will let you know if it's worth all the extra work. :)

 

There are some good pics of it here.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/106800196895572422821/Fall13MagnetiteSmelt#

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Hi Gang,

 

I went ahead and made a 8" seax out of the trade bar billet. It's not finished or heat treated yet.

 

The center one pictured. The top one is a very high carbon blade made direct from one of the Wow, demo pucks of hearth-refined bloom.
The lower one id direct from the bloom we made at last year's War or the Wings.
The two smaller ones were quenched in water/oil interrupted.

 

I admit, this is one of my favorite things to do. :)

 

002.JPG

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