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Teconite from the U.P. (Michigan)


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So this is a VERY initial post on this. I‘M not sure yet where this will take me but not unlike every other project I’ve undertaken I’m sure it will end up somewhere interesting. I don’t make plans or have expectations because inevitably I end up at some entirely unexpected end or beginning to some new adventure. That being said, I collected some teconite while on an impromptu family vacation/road trip. In an ancient land far, far but not too far away from my humble west Michigan pastures....in a land called “Da Yoop” my first step into MAKING my own steel began.... Oh yeah, I put my family to work too. Cheap labor, ya know? Will be collecting more over the next couple days. Labor strikes may force my hand if work conditions don’t improve. Or so I’m told. Ice cream MUST be provided as well as shade breaks at least ten minutes every hour. 

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Edited by ChrisBriggs
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13 hours ago, ChrisBriggs said:

Labor strikes may force my hand if work conditions don’t improve. Or so I’m told. Ice cream MUST be provided as well as shade breaks at least ten minutes every hour. 

Sound like they have a strong union....

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I've been curious about taconite-pellets for some time and how they would react in a small scale smelting operation (if they can be used as is). A good portion of the pellet is clay and limestone. Since it is a processed form of the original taconite ore I pretty sure the actual iron content is higher than the parent taconite ore. These fired pellets replaced the iron ore mined locally around Birmingham, AL for the steel production there, presumably because it was cheaper to bring them in by train from your area.

 

Locally here around Tallahassee we have magnetic nodules in the soil.When you try and smelt them however you end up with magnetic slag rather than a bloom. It's never occurred to me that these nodules could be processed first, perhaps by crushing and screening with a magnet to concentrate the iron and reduce the slag forming contaminants. Florida is not known for iron production, lol. (I've heard of some limited production from limonite ore here and there but I'm sure it wasn't profitable, and may have been out of desperation during the Civil War.) I'm actually not sure why actual bog iron isn't common here just as it is in more northern areas, we've got plenty of bogs that's for sure.

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24 minutes ago, Guy Thomas said:

I I'm actually not sure why actual bog iron isn't common here just as it is in more northern areas, we've got plenty of bogs that's for sure.

 

Well, a little online research has yielded far more than it did 10 years ago. It would appear that limonite is a common form of bog iron and that these nodules I mentioned are more than likely limonite concretions. All this it totally irrelevant to your original post and I apologize for getting sidetracked!

 

I will be curious to see where this goes with you.

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Years ago Mike Blue was using Taconite pellets in his tatara furnace.  He like to crush them first, until he found out he could just visit the pellet mill in Duluth and get the powdered Mesabi ore prior to them adding clay and lime.  Worked a lot better.

Pellets are fine if your furnace has a ten foot diameter and is 60 feet tall, but for our scale they need crushing to coarse sand size.

Guy:  I bet if you roasted, crushed, and did a magnetic separation on those concretions they'd work.  We found a bunch of those digging a water line to my parents house in east TN in 1979.  Thought they were rusty Civil War cannister shot for the longest time...:lol:

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