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10 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:
  1. but it's just as easy to build a 10-inch bore four-foot stack furnace and do it right for ore.  A bit less portable, and takes about four to six hours, though...

I think she (and our HOA) would draw the line at this though...:lol:

 

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3 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

I also used Jerrod's line of "historical education". She's big into historical stuff...

Brilliant,

My translation device is calibrated for a different speaker.......

 

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First apologies to J.Leon_Szesny. I feel I / we have hi-jacked his original post.

 

New question concerning Aristotle furnaces. If one was to use a double chambered bellows, how big do  you think it would need to be to generate sufficient blast to keep this going? For keeping this "historical".

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Depends on how much you want to pump bellows.  They don't need a huge blast. A pair of Viking sized single action bellows or a slightly larger double chamber will do.  An Evenstad hearth needs a bit larger, like a full-sized forge bellows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Question concerning source material. What is the likely carbon composition of the stuff that comes off our grinders? Just realized I have about two pounds of material in my collection bucket on my 2x72. probably would make ideal stuff to run through an Aristotle if the carbon has been "burned off" during the grinding process.

 

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It looks pretty burned, but it might be too oxidized.  The Aristotle doesn't do much reduction, it just melts and redeposits.  Plus if the dust is too fine it tends to blow out the top.

With a taller stack to allow reduction it would be fine. For that matter, you can feed a short-stack furnace forge scale and get iron back.  An Aristotle, not so much. 

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

It looks pretty burned, but it might be too oxidized.  The Aristotle doesn't do much reduction, it just melts and redeposits.  Plus if the dust is too fine it tends to blow out the top.

With a taller stack to allow reduction it would be fine. For that matter, you can feed a short-stack furnace forge scale and get iron back.  An Aristotle, not so much. 

Alan, you are an absolute kill joy for all my "great ideas":P, but I am learning SO much. Thanks! Most of the "dust" has semi-welded itself together, so it actually has a composition similar to steel wool.

 

So, would something like a "double tall" Aristotle help with reduction? Also, how small does the material going into an Aristotle have to be? I've also got a lot of 1018 cut off chunks (1-3" x 1/4-1/2") that I could use.

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Most people use nails, bottlecaps, or lengths of no bigger than 3/8" rebar in an Aristotle.  If you're feeding a Sauder-style short stack (the 10" bore by 48" tall one) you can use much smaller material to get full reduction.  Experience has shown that pea-sized chunks are best at that size.  

 

If you start messing with the variables by making the stack taller, you're entering new territory.  That's a good thing, though!  You may discover the sweet spot between the tabletop Aristotle that can only remelt and the full-sized short stack that can do full reduction.  Long ago Mike Blue worked out a formula for how long it takes crushed taconite pellets to fully reduce to iron and then turn to tamahagane via carbon uptake in his particular tatara/kera analog furnace, and as far as I know every other home smelter has had to do that as well.  You pick a furnace and an ore/feedstock source, and you do a few runs to figure out how to run it.  Sometimes it doesn't work at all.  My smelting buddies and I have given up on magnetite from the Cranberry mine, for instance, because we never got it to make a bloom.  It would just clog the furnace, despite being 70% iron.  The rest of it was hornblende, which apparently turns into molasses and then freezes at the temperatures we were using.  

 

Louis Mills used to make his oroshigane by melting wrought iron nails through about a foot of charcoal in his Japanese-style forge, and I know some people who have used a hearth-type furnace to make steel by melting baling wire and whatever else fits.  

 

I have a bunch of that steel wool -like grinder swarf, and I dumped it out back where it's slowly turning into solid rust.  The plan is to see if, in a few years, it has become iron ore again.  With a large furnace you don't even need to worry about the abrasive dust that's in there, it just runs off with the slag.  It may be you can try it in a slightly tall Aristotle, and if you try I suggest running it slowly.  Fine bits of steel like actual steel wool tend to burn to nothing if you're not careful.

 

 

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Well, I have 50 kilos of high phosphorus ore and bags of pottery clay in the shed, along with a bucket of assorted bloom bits and antique iron...  all I can say is if you choose this path, have plenty of storage and an understanding spouse!  :lol:

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This was just revived from the dead over in Video and Multimedia. Wow, he makes it look SO easy. Several bricks, some wire, a bag of charcoal, a blower, and a source of low carbon metal...

 

What could be simpler?:blink: :D

 

Really well explained. Probably should be moved to Bloomers and Buttons and pinned...

 

 

 

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He does, but that's Emiliano for you. :lol:  Seriously though, it is pretty easy once you work out the tuyere height and angle.  Hearth steel, that is.  Aristotles are a bit more finicky, and actual smelting can be a right bugger if you're not careful.  And yes, I should move and pin that, it's a great thread. 

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On 11/12/2020 at 3:43 PM, Alan Longmire said:

He does, but that's Emiliano for you. :lol:  Seriously though, it is pretty easy once you work out the tuyere height and angle.  Hearth steel, that is.  Aristotles are a bit more finicky, and actual smelting can be a right bugger if you're not careful.  And yes, I should move and pin that, it's a great thread. 

Thanks Alan! :) 

 

Something fun in the video: I mention at some point that it's so easy you could do it in a hole in the ground, and last year during the expedition with Hurstwic to Iceland to do smelting with local materials I actually did that! One of the archeologists was very interested in these weird holes that appeared a few feet away from bloomery furnaces in his excavations and mentioned them in a lecture he gave. I went up afterwards and asked him if the dimensions were about 8 or 10 inches in diameter with a similar depth and a bit of slag to one side. He looked really surprised and asked how I knew, so I showed him how to do it the next day with some of the bloomery iron we had made from Icelandic ore. We chopped some charcoal together, and ran the iron in a hole I dug in the ground that I lined with some small rocks and sand. Lo and behold: nice steel! 

 

The bricks and iron wire are just to make it easy to take around and also makes it a really easy and quick build! Thanks to the Iron Smelters of the World group on Facebook I've seen a few guys in different parts of the world making really nice steel by using that video! It is maybe one of the coolest feelings to congratulate someone on a nice piece of steel they made and for them to tell you it was because of your video that they were able to do it! Of course Bill did all of the real work on the video, I just threw some stuff onto the fire :) 

 

Smelting is another animal though! I have done smelts without timing anything and gotten good results, but it can be very risky! Hearth melting is low risk, high reward but smelting is high risk, high reward! 

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