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My first bloomery iron smelt


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Hello my name is Brandon, and I've been a browsing this forum for quite some time. The B&B page is my favorite and I figured its time to stop lurking and join. I have been a hobbyist bladesmith for about ten years, and have especially enjoyed doing experiments with making steel the old way whether it be with an Aristotle style furnace, or crucible steel in homemade crucibles. Thanks to everyones posts on this site of their experiences with bloomery iron, I was finally able to make an attempt at it. The furnace was constructed with locally gathered materials, some ore I stumbled across while visiting my wifes family in Missouri, and homemade oak charcoal ( I confess, just to have some extra on standby I bought a few bags from the store and picked out the oak pieces). The furnace is kind of like a Cadhino style, with a stack 30" tall & 7" in diameter formed on top of a larger lower chamber which was formed around an upturned 5 gal bucket. The tuyere was ceramic compound I cobbled together, I think it worked pretty well but the slag will have to be cleaned off the surrounding walls to say for sure. Well long story short I have a iron bloom of 14.6 Lbs from 40 pounds of ore, and 76 Lbs of charcoal. Here is a link to alot of pictures, I would have deleted some of them and made them a little more organized, but I am not very computer savvy, and was afraid they would all be accidentally deleted. Any pointers or comments are much appreciated. https://picasaweb.google.com/108005213228512883122/SMELT1

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Congratulations! I love the look on your face in the "tired but happy" picture, contemplating what you just did.

 

The ore does indeed look like goethite/limonite.

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Thanks everyone! I'm sure if it had not been for all the excellent post on this forum it would not have turned out as good as it did. I will have to examine the furnace and patch it this weekend. There is enough of this ore left to run another one, maybe this fall. And I have been gathering some local Oklahoma ore that looks promising, a type of clay ironstone that I stumbled across while hiking. Some of this bloom will become a guard, and pommel for a small/standoff sword. And some of it will be ran through an Evenstad style hearth to make some med carbon steel to fold with some ultra high carbon Aristotle steel for the blade. Yeah Alan, I do look extra befuddled in that pic. Although the full scope of it did not kick in until the next day, needless to say I was a little distracted and excitable at work that day!

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Really really wonderful looking bloom and a great job, you should be very proud of that its quite an achievement.

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Thank you! I am looking forward to doing this again soon. I see lots of charcoal making in the future. <_<

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That is awesome Brandon!

Great job! great looking stack, great job birthing, and keeping the stack looking great.

Wonderful! Congrats.

 

Mark

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Thanks Mark! I credit alot of the success of this smelt to reading all the post of your smelts and experiments. Now to make a temporary pit forge to heat this back up and cut it.

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