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Found 14 results

  1. Hi! I'm Janghas from London and I am looking for help in learning to smelt cassiterite concentrate (tin). I'm looking for any schools, courses or private teachers from were I can get a hands on feel of the process involved. I can travel in the UK and would like to have any feedback that could help. Thanks.
  2. Hello all! Very excited to have found this website I recently purchased my first home, in the Atlanta suburbs with an acre of woods sloping down to a stream out back, and immediately started fantasizing about what I could do with my first bit of land. Fast forward a few months, and I've cleared and leveled a spot where I'm telling friends I want to build a little bloomery and smelt some local ore. Why? I don't need a reason. But for the sake of the missus and other people who don't "get it", I'm saying that I want to demonstrate that it's possible, using only implements available to pre-1492 locals, to source ore and smelt it into tools more useful in some respect than polished stone tools. I expect to learn, along the way, some reasons why the pre-1492 locals never did get around to doing this, although my suspicion is that they only lacked whatever happy accidents got the ball rolling in the old world. I feel no particular need to do anything authentically, since we have no evidence of any hot metallurgy east of the Mississippi before the Europeans arrived... so using more advanced techniques is fine... but where practical (this is a hobby) and safe I'd prefer to stick to materials a local would have had access to. I think I need to: make charcoalfind local ore that could be extracted with with stone or wood implementsconstruct a bloomeryconstruct tools for fussing with the bloomery (tongs, anvil, hammer, bellows, tuyeres, ?)fire the bloomery, producing a bloom of questionable construct a forge for re-heating the bloomfire the forge and beat the iron into some kind of useful shape (perhaps a pick, hammer, or other implement to make the next go easier)Now, that's actually probably a bit too tall of a project, given that I've done exactly none of this before, so I'm already stepping down my expectations e.g. I want to make charcoal but I don't see the need to tend a collier's pit for 7 days straight so I'll be using some safer/faster if perhaps less efficient method. I also don't feel the need to prove that several of my friends have nothing better to do for several full weekends than work a bellows all day long for me (I already know this is true), nor that you can construct a bellows using only hides (we know this to be true), so an electric blower seems like a good concession to make. Here are some of my questions: - Where can I get local ore? I know NW Georgia and as far south as Red Top Mtn had historic low-purity mines, and Birmingham AL had some very rich hematite operations, but I don't know how to get my hands on it. The mines aren't active so I doubt it's for sale, and from what I can see nobody actually sells ore in less than hundreds-of-tons orders anyway. Can I walk off with rocks from public land, e.g. I think I saw another post on here mention finding ore-bearing rocks around the shore of Lake Allatoona? Is there some other source I'm not considering? - How much ore should I be trying in a maiden attempt here? Too little would be frustrating for obvious reasons. Too much might make the process impractical (time or scale), or maybe reasons I haven't thought of (is it reasonable to break off a smaller hunk of the bloom to shape into a tool?). - Is a 1:1 charcoal:ore ratio appropriate, and is that by weight or by volume? - Any ideas on tuyere construction using primitive materials? Making terra cotta pipes with local clay sounds like a PITA but an option, but I'm not sure how I'd keep them from breaking in action. Should I give on this one? - How much clear space do I need around the bloomery to be safe? Horizontal and vertical (the backyard is heavily wooded, I'd have to do a LOT of cutting to get a 100% clear path to the sky). Also, when I started my little clearing I dug down 4-6" below the eventual floor-height, pulling out all the roots and such for fear of a forge on the dirt above getting hot enough to make them smolder right through the dirt... My research on charcoal-making has me convinced they could smolder and start a fire a week later when they finally hit open air. Am I being safe enough? - Recommended reading on bloomery / forge construction? I'm thinking square/round, angle and elevation of tuyeres, shape/size of mouth and should there be a depression so I can angle a slag-poker in there, so on. - Tongs? I don't want to be unsafe just to prove a point, but having some way to handle the hot stuff seems like it would've been a major obstacle to bootstrapping a local metal industry, so I'd like to at least think about how that could be done without already having iron. - What steps and resources am I leaving out? - What safety am I forgetting? Thanks!! -Steve
  3. This is some ore I've picked up over the past couple years. The ones with the holes in it I think are unusual. Some of the holes are lined with black and/or a glassy substance. I'm just a hobby rock hound, so I wondered what y'all think. Most of this is from Western Tennessee and some is from Georgia. After breaking some of it apart, it's hard to tell them apart. I took some pieces and heated them with a torch and then I could pick them up with a magnet, so it has some Iron. I may use Lee Sauder's method to check for a percentage. Some also have some quartz like material in the ore, is that normal? The first picture is the small pockets with glassy lining, the second is the dark ore with the red lining. The last one is a big rock, about the size of a football, with all kinds of different looking stuff.
  4. A project that I've been working on since Tuesday. Some friends and I worked on making steel. We had ABS Master Bladesmith Bill Burke to head the project. After many hours of hard work we broke apart the furnace and found....not much. It was a terrible disappointment. We had hoped for about 300 pounds of usable tamahagane steel. The leaders of our team are very experienced and knowledgeable, however many variables can contribute to a poor outcome. Weather wasn't great. The iron sands were from an unproven source. It could have been any number of things that lead to the less than hoped for result. After going through 400 lbs of iron sands and two tons of charcoal we estimate that we ended up with about 7-10 lbs of material that will have to be can welded to be usable. Getting together one more time tomorrow to see what can be done and to salvage what we can. Still, I would totally do it again.
  5. So, sitting in the backyard, happy full of waffle house porkchops, sipping a cold one, and watching the side of my burn barrel glow as I roast about 10 gallons of hematite I picked up in North Georgia. Major iron mining area up until the War xxxxxxxxx. Then some XXXX named Grant or something apparantly burned the mining areas near Atlanta to the ground. Probably a pewter caster or something and got jealous....... Getting it ready for a first time solo iron bloom. Next step, let it cool, and bust it up tommorow. I'll post pics for that too so you can see how this part turns out.
  6. Nobody Special


    Bit of iron bloomery goodness.
  7. Nobody Special


    Bloom straight out of the furnace. Tried to compact while too cold. Broke into pieces, some furnace bottom and slag still attached. Forced to stop at climatic moment to deal with wife's chicken customers who showed up unannounced, driving my dog insane. Hit it while too cold. Sigh......Well, got some good pieces to reheat and refine.
  8. Nobody Special


    Bloom immediately after pulling out of furnace. Too cold! Some of my wife's customers showed up unannounced, dog going nuts, forced to deal with them.
  9. Nobody Special


    Furnace was damaged by thermal shock of cold rain on hot clay. Eventually started coming apart. Had to patch quite a few times. Gave up on recycling slag after awhile because tuyere was getting blocked and I didn't think the furnace would last.
  10. Nobody Special


    view down the "spyglass" into the tuyere.
  11. Nobody Special


    furnace after first charge
  12. Nobody Special


    Firing the rest of the furnace, and preheating
  13. Nobody Special


    So, first go at solo smelting. Roasting my ore, sipping a cold one,and watching the side of the barrel glow.
  14. Nobody Special


    Ore from near Red Top Mountain in Cartersville, Ga. Ain't telling the exact location. Started roasting it this afternoon. Lots of it for pulling out of the clay up there.