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The above bloom ( previous post) was cut in half and was not completely high carbon after all. Another low carbon bloom was made ( shown in the picture below ) and a high carbon bloom was made after the furnace was lined with a sandy ganister..that turned out to be a good idea. The additions included a small handful of sand with each addition to create a slag capable of slowing the carbon removal a bit.

I made some (mostly) pine charcoal today in order to give the jewel steel another shot before the short burn season ( and my iron making season ) ends.

 

8.jpg The bloom on the left is low carbon iron, the bloom on the right is high carbon "jewel steel"

1 (2).jpg After the high carbon bloom was split the interior was beautiful.

 

Jan

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Jan,   Researching for my own charcoal burns (now curtailed by the local Fire Department,) a common theme was to carefully place the wood into the pit and to start the burn at the top. I assume you

Here is a pic of the charcoal made today ( just prior to covering it),  about 5 hrs of work ( 300 gallons). I was hoping to do a smelt tonight but I am a bit tired and do not want to screw it up.....s

Well , I finally got around to doing a smelt today , using the above charcoal. The run lasted 1.5 hrs and targeted cast iron as the product..I will pull the bloom tomorrow and if all looks good I will

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  • 1 month later...

I did try to make the jewel steel again. Two blooms were made yesterday. The first run seemed to be a disaster as a tremendous amount of "fume"was coming from the furnace. This is associated with high ash charcoal or a bloom being oxidized. I aborted the run at just under two hours and left the furnace to cool. I did not know what was going on as I was using pine charcoal and a high charcoal to ore ratio.

 

A second furnace was pulled into action from the boneyard and the air inlet was quickly patched with mud to create a refractory nozzle. The mud would not stick to the short steel pipe entering the furnace..a paper cup was cut and placed over the pipe, holding it all in place until the small drying fire set the mud up. This furnace ran for 3 hours and I stopped as it was getting dark and dinner was getting cold.

This morning I pulled the contents of both furnaces and found a pleasant surprise, the "failure" was an 18 lbs ( cleaned ) beauifully colored, solid, bloom. The second furnace contained a beautifully colored bloom made of steel and cast iron, weighing 32 lbs (cleaned). I have a little charcoal left to finish out the season but it is only 80% pine.

 

This pine charcoal size is larger than my normal mixed hard wood charcoal..I do not chop or cut any charcoal and ended up pulling the pieces 3" and over ...to save for future forging. I have some poor quality pictures and will post them as soon as I pick the best ones.....50 lbs of clean bloom in 5 hrs of smelting is OK.

 

DSCN4604.jpg 18 lb bloom

DSCN4597.jpg side view showing the curvature of the sandy bottom ( upside douwm bloom )

DSCN4586.jpg view of top surface

DSCN4574.jpg 32 lb bloom, cast on the bottom and high carbon iron on top

DSCN4583.jpg

DSCN4590.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Running out of everything, ore, charcoal and variations of the variables. I will do one more run and attempt to duplicate the 18 lbs bloom in the above post #179 ( dense high carbon) . In keeping with the tradition of never duplicating smelt conditions on any two consecutive runs, the fixed sandy/clay bottom will be replaced with a formed in place the spot, sandy bottom (lots of preheating)...and this time the back-up furnace will be used ( 1.25" diameter air inlet).

 

The last run will be an attempt at a large low carbon bloom.

 

On a recent run I have learned there is such a thing as "too much" sand one can add to this process.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The above run was done..an attempt to duplicate the 18 lbs bloom of post #179. The raw bloom weighed over 32 lbs , the cleaned bloom will weigh 20 lbs. , the carbon content may not be as high as expected..I do not have time to cut the bloom and will test the overall carbon when I can cut the bloom. I am posting a picture of an uncleaned bloom to show the shape change when cleaning. The furnace has been prepared for another run by removing and replacing the ceramic mud over the air inlet pipe ( 3"long, 1.25" diameter ). The sandy bottom is placed just before a run , I will take a picture of it next ti[me I go.

 

This bloom is all low (zero) carbon.

IMG_2520.jpg bloom as pulled cold

IMG_2536.jpg furnace ready to go ....sandy bottom to be placed at the time of smelting..paper cup holds it all together

IMG_2527.jpg the old ceramic cover of the air pipe is chipped off

IMG_2533.jpg a mostly cleaned no carbon bloom

IMG_2531.jpg same as above

 

Jan

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The last of the charcoal was used up on this two hour run, the last run ,for quite a while. Some rice straw ash was injected into the bottom of the furnace , to act as a flux for the slag and as an aid in rerouting the fire to consume more fines. When adding ore, the ore is placed on a bed of fines and that ore is covered with a layer of fines. These fines eventually lead to a flow reluctance in the furnace..by adding the rice straw to the main air flow up the furnace, I assume I am gooing up the path and creating flow in areas not in use ( fines areas ).....this may be hocus pocus but it makes me feel better. If the ash worked to keep the furnace open..I am not sure...I do know it worked very well as a flux and I am happy with being able to run for exactly two hours.

 

The carbon content is not really a concern as I would rather add carbon on the fly than work with really high carbon ( slag containing ) iron . Sometime during the smelting process the forging process needs to be anticipated as some combinations of metal and slag are undesirable....for example high, titanium low silica slag , low silica slag.

For these smelts I have tried to get as low as possible on silica and titanium...now ( during the last few smelts) I find myself adding silica back into the furnace....this will make a lower viscosity slag in the iron I am trying to forge.

Here are a couple of pics of the final mixed carbon bloom, it has a cast iron foot and is what i would describe as a vertical bloom...cold furnaces create vertical blooms ( rice ash creates a colder furnace ).

 

33 lbs as pulled and 24 lbs of very clean bloom. Big blooms are no blessing as they are difficult to put into a vise for cutting.

IMG_2560.jpg IMG_2567.jpg

 

Jan

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  • 1 year later...

The rains have arrived on the West Coast  and soon we will be able to have an open fire in the  Pit. There is quite a bit of discarded wood ready for converting to charcoal,  my neighborhood helpers are ready to improve on my magnetic ore sorting methods.  Lots of bits and some ore ready to go. Cast iron, low carbon iron, are the goal. We will make some high carbon Camahagane for welding and to complete the Hamon thread....... the cast iron and low carbon iron will be used to complete the wootz process  thread. The bits will be processed as ore and put into a very hot smelting furnace to make sure they are fully melted. IMG_3573.jpgIMG_3538.jpgome high carbon iron will 

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Side note on the weather. I'm north of you. We went from 60 degrees Thursday to freezing last night. What a shocking morning. Went out to walk the dog at half past dark o'clock in just a pair of sweats. Serious "YIKES" effect.

Will such cold affect your process?

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The rains have arrived on the West Coast  and soon we will be able to have an open fire in the  Pit. There is quite a bit of discarded wood ready for converting to charcoal,  my neighborhood helpers are ready to improve on my magnetic ore sorting methods.  Lots of bits and some ore ready to go. Cast iron, low carbon iron, are the goal. IMG_3573.jpgIMG_3538.jpgome high carbon iron will 

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  • 3 months later...

Lots of cold and rain ( cold by some standards only ) . I have brought the shaft furnace into my shop and will make a few batches of high carbon iron there. The three types of iron possibilities are "cast" , "mixed,"( but mostly low carbon iron) and "very high carbon iron", my equivalent of tamahagane. I am not sure that what I am targeting is what will come from the furnace but I have a plan which should push the process in that direction. The runs will be 2hrs max. and I will use 20 to 30 lbs of ore per run. 

Today I will be burning some old waste wood and if any charcoal remains I will capture it. I only have a camera on my phone so pictures will be so so.

Jan

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Here is a pic of the charcoal made today ( just prior to covering it),  about 5 hrs of work ( 300 gallons). I was hoping to do a smelt tonight but I am a bit tired and do not want to screw it up.....so it looks like Tuesday night or Wednesday night.IMG_4321.jpg   

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  • 1 month later...

Well , I finally got around to doing a smelt today , using the above charcoal. The run lasted 1.5 hrs and targeted cast iron as the product..I will pull the bloom tomorrow and if all looks good I will do another run as well. I stopped because I ran out of prepared ore for the run.  I will post some pictures in a day or so.

I am looking at efficiency descriptions.., we use percent of iron recovered of total iron added during the smelting process.. I think all work and materials could be converted to $ dollars and various processes could be compared that way. I have a pretty efficient process but could never sell my bloom material for what I see  it going for.....where are my costs ?.

Here is a picture of the furnace in my forge area ( inside) during today's run. The cone collar is in place only to keep the charcoal from spilling.

 

Today (Sunday ) I repeated the run..yesterday's run produced 10 lbs  of clean cast iron and no soft iron, lots of slag. Tomorrow I will pull today's bloom and some pics. Ten pounds for 1.5 hrs is not bad but I expected more. Today I ran for 3 hrs. and suddenly the flame showed a sodium flare so I stopped.

IMG_4663.jpg

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Here is a photo of both smelt results..at the top is Saturday's  10 lbs of cast iron , at the bottom is the 17.5 lbs. of cast iron. Had I stopped at 2 hrs my yield would have been close to 90 %..using pine charcoal would also have pushed to a higher yield. I am content with the results and will make some pine charcoal for the next run ( about 3 weeks out ). 

IMG_4670.jpg

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The April smelting frenzy is almost over..in a couple of weeks no open fires will be allowed..so I have to make charcoal and iron asap. I am running off some charcoal to empty storage containers for charcoal. Today I did run a cast iron run for two hours and should have some good results.... I am looking at yields and  think I am operating at 80% + if yield is defined as Ratio of iron recovered/total iron put into the furnace. This definition ignores other losses such as charcoal which I ran at about 2.5:1 .I will post some pics if the results are photogenic.

Jan

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Jan, That's a wild looking 17.5 pound bloom thingy. I like that modified double-jack too. I guess it's a 2/3 jack now :lol:

I have a question that probably is already answered somewhere else. Has anyone ever tried to charge & seal a wootz crucible and put it into the heath when smelting? 

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Joshua,  Thanks , I love that hammer. I do what you are saying with a sealed crucible in a charcoal furnace , but not while smelting. That furnace could be my smelting furnace if cannot find my melting furnace. I have an open thread called   'Konasamudram' Process    and will close it by going that way, charcoal furnace, sealed crucible . That bloomy thing is cast iron ...about 3.5% Carbon...I love that stuff....today I will try to make some high carbon iron or cast iron ( before a rain arrives).  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I made some iron from Pit Charcoal and iron ore. After 3 cast iron runs I thought I would move away from cast to high carbon iron. The furnace is cooling and I will open it mañana to see if it was a good run. I did stop at 2 hrs as my furnace is a two hour furnace. Here are some pics of the process and the charcoal. The charcoal requires no cutting , no sifting and is ready to use as is.

IMG_3959.jpg

IMG_3958.jpg

IMG_3966.jpg

 

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The bloom is high carbon...quite rare for a bloom made in this furnace ../I often have to change my initial description when I get into the bloom ...this one is definitely high carbon.

IMG_3974.jpg

Above the bloom still in the furnace air inlet at the top.

 

IMG_3981.jpg

We are looking at the top of the bloom now cleaned from 25 lbs to 15.5 ..it should end at about 14.5 lbs of very clean bloom.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Cleaning up the place of burnable yard material...I did another charcoal run, during the coming week I will be making some more cast iron ( I am shooting for a very large bloom of cast iron). We will use it to make some crucible steel during the month of March ( some of that cast iron will be turned into steel in the hearth)IMG_5230.jpeg. I took no pics as it all still looks the same as some of the posts above.

Below are a couple of pics of a tuyre I am making ..a wax pattern made by dipping a foil wrapped chair leg into hot wax...I hope to cast it later this week.The casting will be copper with a little silicon in it.

IMG_5231.jpeg

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Good luck on the casting!  Copper tuyeres are a game changer.  You just have to keep a bit of air blast on the outside, especially since that one is not very long.

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  • 1 year later...

OK it is a go I have to gather some copper and just found a #6 crucible ( Graphite )..I will post the result. Lost wax .

Jan

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