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Jan Ysselstein

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Jan,

To me, it seems the stack you have here, is like a big Aristotle furnace,

I would think it would be very hard to control the carbon content, but I have little experience with something with this setup.

If you let the air cook all the carbon out of your bloom during a long burn down, you could make plain iron. But I would be afraid that it would likely all melt into cast. You would sure have to control the air.

Quick and easy for sure, I guess, if you don't mind all that cold work of the after bloom.

That has got to be a bugger!!

 

Mark

Mark Green

 

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

(cptn. Mal)

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Mark,

More like a Roman period shaft furnace ( Scharmbeck ) Pleiner, Type III. Yes I do need to be cautious about reoxidizing the bloom, the air inlet on that furnace is 6-8" from the bottom and needs to go up by 2"..I can add some silica near the end and protect the bloom.

Yes....my first question is always..? Isn't there a harder way we could do this? I am taking the time to make some iron, as looking into the future I see this as a pretty rare act to be performed. Cost of charcoal burning regulations and so on.

Jan

 

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=23232&p=218467

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Niko,

I will post some breaks photos later later today.

 

Pit Charcoal,

 

Half of the 25% fines will not pass a 1/4" screen and could possibly be used for heating metal bars such as blades. I have begun to do a little probing, with some success, and can see it will take some tuning...if I can get it to work, we may be at an 87% good charcoal rate and a 13% fines/ash. I have several hundred gallons of this 25% material from years past.

I will post a picture later.

 

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Niko,

 

I will post those pics ..got too busy today.

 

Pit Charcoal,

Here are some pics of a test grate tried on the > 1/4" charcoal fines ..it seems to give a direction, not quite ready for yaki-ire but maybe soon.

 

I did make iron today and after about 7 additions the charcoal amount was increased from 1. gallon to 1.5 gallons ..the run was terminated while all seemed to be going well.

 

P1060505.jpg P1060506.jpg

 

 

Jan

 

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Niko,

Here are some pics of broken white cast iron from past furnaces...I did not want to break the very last sample as I am going to save it whole. All the cast iron is white in nature I did see some grayish once but do not recall why.

 

 

break2.jpg

 

Last nights run did not go as planned the yield is much lower...reasons...too short a warming of the lower furnace area, slowed speed of blower to keep material in the tube.

 

Yield 2 lbs. of cast iron bits and a 7 lbs. almost clean bloom mostly cast iron in nature. The furnace and the shaft seem to be up for 1 more run. Next run will be a repeat of this one.

One of the pictures shows the air inlet just over the bloom in position this is a good time to stop in the process.

 

break3.jpgrun2a.jpg

 

Jan

run2.jpg

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Pit Charcoal,

 

Charcoal run 2, bloom furnace 2 is cooling..the run was back to 1 gallon of charcoal per lb. of iron ore and a very good preheat ( I patched up the air inlet a bit) . The furnace ran for about two hours at about 17 lbs. of ore per hour.

No problems during the run, shut down due to a white ash fume coming from furnace.

 

The expected results are the same as the last run made under the same conditions ( although I used more ore this time) . The furnace shaft was removed after the run and seems to be able to do another run at least (#4).

 

By the way Mark, the flame is not twice he height of the furnace stack, it is about the same length...... any way a good clip the ore is out of the stack and into the hot pool in less than 1/2 hrs. things are really hot.

Jan

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Pit Charcoal

 

The bloom from the above run did not duplicate a previous run done in a similar manner. We will rebuild the furnace ( shaft seems to be good for another run) and provide a crucible or bowl for all the elements to gather , mix and react, leaving us a beautiful low carbon bloom ( I hope).

During the latter part of the run, I added some silica to help preserve any reduced but exposed iron in the furnace.

The bloom is very foamy ..probably cast iron in mature ( I have not sparked it yet) but very beautiful.

Here is a pic of the 11.6 lbs. cleaned bloom...there was no lower bloom.

For those of you who have spent some time looking into the lower end of the furnace, droplets of iron would come into view and in a matter of about 1/2 minute they would develop a slag volume (like a shell on a turtle) and it would grow and grow until it was mostly slag.

I have sparked the bloom and it is not cast iron...but there is a range in what is technically called cast iron where iron will spark much like steel.

run22.jpg

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal,

 

I started smelting iron run 3, of charcoal run 2 ( I should get a fourth later today). The furnace is looking a bit sad but I patched it together for a fourth run including the ceramic air inlet. If it looks like one more is possible I will attempt it.

Two charcoal runs is about what I can do a year based on typical tree trimming and cleanup. This run consisted of a mix of bits and pieces ranging from 3/4" down to very fine powder. The powder was mixed with ore and bentonite ( about 2-4% bentonite )...alternate additions of powder and solid bits were added for 1.5 hrs. The run was stopped due to an ash fume rising from the furnace.

I will post some pictures later tonight... I am getting a pretty clear idea of how big a bloom ( max) the furnace will make.

 

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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The running of rework bits and pieces was disappointing 7 lbs of very odd bloom and 7 pound of cast iron fragments.

 

All of the charcoal from run 2 has been used up 650 gallons of charcoal was made and I have 80 gallons of fines in storage ( 13% fines + lots of spillage) . One gallon of charcoal is about 1.5 lbs. I probably used about 200 lbs of ore and I will know the total iron tomorrow.

 

So will I do this again...absolutely..this is my source for charcoal.....today I ran out of charcoal during the last run..I began using the fines after screening it over a 6mm mesh..the furnace kept running and running. The fines may be useful in the 10" furnace.

The furnace is still in the testing phase, I am really looking at what I may do next season. So after posting the pics of the last few smelts I will move on to a thread involving the forging of the metal. This furnace has lasted 5 smelts though the air inlet was not patched for the last run ( only stuck out about 1" from the wall).

 

 

P1060551.jpg A plastic cone is used to form the ceramic air inlet

P1060552.jpg Plastic form is removed while mud is still wet

P1060554.jpg A drying fire, the lip of the air inlet has been trimmed so air travels hoizontally

P1060566.jpg Fines on a 6mm screen ( used the last hour of the last smelt

 

Jan

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Pit Charcoal

 

Charcoal run 2, Iron run 4

I will comment at each photo..Run #4 is a beauty ( I say that with ambivalence as that mean I will be saving it ) and will make a nice conversation piece at a booth. The bloom weighed in the thirties lbs. and after partial cleaning it still weighs over 28 lbs ( the max of my scale).

P1060589.jpg The rework of bits and pieces pulled hot from the furnace and wetted ( it is really pretty under it all) this would be run3

 

P1060570.jpg Run #4 , bloom takes up its allotted space, air vent getting blocked ( pprobably during shutdown burn)

 

P1060573.jpg The stack seems to be good for another run or two

 

P1060574.jpg Remnants of the old 1" pipe after 5 smelts

P1060576.jpg Lots of cast iron showing, I will be extra careful to make sure no oxygen is getting under the bloom on the next run ( next year)

P1060577.jpg Big bloom but slaggy on the outside

P1060581.jpg This picture shows how the iron arrives as small droplets and gets protected by the slag

P1060584.jpg Gently chipping away

 

The above thread should aid some of you in making a bloomery furnace using dimensions mentioned here, the materials are not specific to the process, I am done here and will prepare for the forging ( in a gas forge) of some of the steel made here or in the last year or two..it is all the same .. .

 

Jan

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Pit Charcoal,run2....smelt #4

 

The cleaned weight of the bloom ( Kera) is 23 lbs...lots of the cast is still attached ( bottom of bloom, the top of the picture) but most of the cast is in a bin for later cleaning. This is a picture of the bloom upside down. I am not sure how much cast I have in the bin probably about 5+ lbs. .

 

P1060594.jpg

 

Jan

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Niko,

 

Yes, I did use Magnetite for all the smelts here,and in years past. Last year I experimented with some high sulfur magnetite, which worked well but that extra step of getting rid of the sulfur is unpleasant...the ore, though coarse, reduced very well.

Most of the materials I have made have been used in experimenting with wootz..it does not take may trials to ruin a 10 lb. bloom and make trash out of it. I have 200+ lbs of cast iron blooms and trash ingots waiting to be re-melted. This Summer I will experiment with that material ..either convert it to a cleaner more user friendly form or make steel out of it.

The Japanese methods I really have not done much with, this has to be the year I do that, as I have an opportunity to set up a display for a local group interested in Japanese culture.

 

It should be interesting comparing the..... Pine pit charcoal iron with this mixed wood pit charcoal iron...as the former was made in a very cold furnace/purepinecarbon and the latter was made in a very hot furnace/mixedwoodscarbon. I will start forging all the older small bloom fragments ( those visually and spark-wise relate to what was just made). When those are gone I need to stop and assemble a hydraulic press ( all the parts are waiting ...its plumbing is going to be unique).

 

By the way this thread has been a great teacher ( materials science) for me ( on that last smelt I was getting my rhythm, it felt good) the only regrets I have are, when I say to the "gang" who is volunteering to go into the pit to get that last 1/3 rd of the charcoal ...it always turns out to be me..later I am not even allowed to get near the house...the other is, most of the time I end up removing the stack ( 15 lbs of charcoal ) and dumping it = a loss.

 

Jan

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Lee,

At about 500 Deg C Pyrite readily oxidizes to iron oxide and sulfur dioxide. I just played a big weed burner onto the material while it was in a big SS bowl and poured it ( the ore) into the flame using a big soup ladle. When the noxious fumes were gone I knew I was done...this particular ore also changed from gray/black to a pinkish tint at about that time.

P1020432.jpg Heating bowl

P1020458.jpg Sulfur free ore ( large bowl) starting material ( small bowl)

 

Jan

 

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Neat! B)

I wish I thought to get half as many pictures of stuff that I do that would be cool to share like this. To be clear though, I have not done smelting yet, so nothing THAT cool. I am so glad you had the foresight to snap a picture of the two together.

 

So, do you not roast the magnetite anyways? I would say I'm still fuzzy on the whole "ore roasting" thing, but that would imply that I understand it just a little, when in reality I have no clue as to why it is done.

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Jerrod,

 

I do not roast the magnetite. If I were dealing with large lumps of ore that might be a different story..then I might attempt to fracture it with hot/cold quenching . The ore in the pans above did a lot of fracturing by just heating it ( like popcorn).

 

Jan

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