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Copper inclusion in bloom bar

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I had a pair of old wrought-iron boat anchors that had loads of copper in them, crumbled if you looked at it wrong.

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Yes, that bar, was marked as all Brizil smelt.

However, that ore we smelted that day at Jesus', was I believe Easy ore. And it did sure look like copper ore in some of the small pieces Miquel was showing us.

It well could be both.


When Jesus was teaching me how to fold up the bloom one time, we added some cast iron from an early smelt of mine, and got some copper contamination in that bar. I was thinking it came from the cast. But I'm not sure now, if I was using copper tuyeres yet when I made that.

I have not seen any copper in any of the crucible steel I have made from Easy ore iron. So, if some rocks do have some copper in them, it is likely very hit or miss.
As I said, I have folded up a pile of this bloom into sword billets this summer with no problems.
I will for sure keep a very close eye on any tuyere loss in the future. I have found, that if you keep the slag away from splashing too much on the tuyere, that you don't ever loose any.
That has been my plan for the past year+ of smelting.
I have been tapping as soon as I see charcoal floating. But, sometimes, the slag can come so fast and furious

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I've smelted a bunch of Mark's ore, I've never had anything that appeared to be copper contaminated, although every now and again I've made a bloom that was not cooperative in folding up, but never have suspected copper. I'm also not using a copper tuyere though???



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I get a blocked plug-in image where I once found videos I could watch...help.






Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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OK, I went through all my notes on smelts over the past two years+

Any copper problems were associated with the Brazilian ore, or loss of some tuyere in the smelt.

I have just compacted up the 6th bloom that I have made this past year using the Easy ore, where there were no notes of tuyere loss.

All have been great. No sign of any copper contamination at all. Two have been made into my Germanic iron age swords, that each had about 8-12 folds.

I still have the big half from that smelt we did above, that Daniel had problems with. As I need to rebuild my charcoal forge anyway, I will process that one next to see what I get. :)

Then rebuild my forge.


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Huge sigh of relief. Easy ore is a beautiful ore deposit. Surely if there were big problems with copper ore deposits mixed in, it wouldnt have been mined and used as heavily as it was.


Still want to take a few slivers and maybe turn the bar into a suba though. That is if i can make it stick together.

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Daniel........ Come up one weekend, and we can melt all the tainted pieces in the hearth, see if that helps.
I may put the other big half in the charcoal forge this week, and see what we get.
Sometimes, if it was from the tuyere, I have found that it's only in some places in the bloom.

Next time I roast some of the easy ore up, I will look over the roasted rocks under some high mag. and see what I see???


That one I pictured above will be a good test for the re-melt.

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That would be great. Will have to make it a plan for soon. So far first two weekends of Nov. are taken and not sure when Eric is ready for his first smelt at his house.


Dont have any bloom steel and this would be great. May bring another chunk that is not copper laden as well. Its the only component keeping me from making a seax from bloom.

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That bloom from the WoW smelt last week, seems very nice. I worked the other half into a bar in 5 heats Sunday.
That should be plenty for a bloom seax.

No sign of any copper!!




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Beautiful bar!! The WoW bloom is a nice one.


I ended up cutting a sliver off today to see if any copper inclusions were noticeable in the bar. The jury is open for this. It looks cupric, but its hard to say. I sanded the cut end to a 1800 or 2000 grit...whatever 5 Micron trizacts are. Then soaked it in some ferric chloride for a minute, neutralized, rubbed with baking soda to get some oxides off, and repeated 2 more times. Took some pics with macro, others peering through a 30/60x magnifier. This is what I have...also a better pic of the main bar. Pic heavy if you guys don't mind.














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Between the pictures and Mark's review of his notes, it looks like the Brazilian ore should be abandoned for blades due to copper content.

I still think it will be cool to use it for other purposes like fittings working it at lower temps.

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Sure looks coppery now! It'll be interesting to see how the remelt does---


Mark, I think maybe the reason you've had occasional trouble with tuyere melting is that you're using a straight section of pipe, instead of a cone section like mine. The cone drastically increases the surface area relative to volume, thus dramatically increasing it's cooling.

My previous tuyere lasted close to a hundred smelts, and I finally retired it because the business end was getting a little thin, mostly from the oxidation at the end of the smelt when the fuel bed goes, plus just sitting out in between smelts.


Here's the shape of the plate before rolling it up--


tuyere plate-1.jpg



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Yes Lee, I made a big cone 2 years ago.

It has worked great. The only time I thought I lost a bit of tuyere was maybe two times that the slag was well up around the tuyere, and I had trouble getting a good tap in a reasonable time. One of those times was the bloom, Daniel is showing. So, it is easy that it could be a combo.

But yes, My tuyere is a big cone. It works great. I learned that the day I spent with you guys a few years ago. I still have the template. Some time this winter, I'm going to do a big copper melt to make one like that. The one I have now was a 1/4 in. thick walled pipe, that I coned with a big, warn out, boring bit. I've done about 30 smelts with it, maybe down a 1/2 in.
My old copper tuyere , that was the thick straight pipe worked ok, but did melt some for sure.

Daniel, that chunk is coppered up for sure. We will experiment with it, and the couple I have here.


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  • 1 month later...

From the new analysis I have back on all the types of easy ore, there is near no copper in the ore samples.
So, that was the Brazil ore, or melted tuyere.

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