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I am interested in doing some primitive blacksmithing by getting iron ore and making a bloomery to get my iron. I have all the necessary primitive skills except i don't have a way of making bellows. I know that bellows greatly improve a fires heat but would it be absolutely necessary to have them for a bloomery, even if its difficult without them? 

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put a piece of quarter inch mild steel bar in a charcoal fire and tell me if it melts. is it difficult to smelt without an air source? no, its almost impossible.

                                                                                         Littleblacksmith

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12 minutes ago, littleblacksmith said:

put a piece of quarter inch mild steel bar in a charcoal fire and tell me if it melts. is it difficult to smelt without an air source? no, its almost impossible.

                                                                                         Littleblacksmith

Although from what îve read a bloomery doesnt actually melt the metal and also it's supposed to make wrought iron. when you say almost impossible does that mean it can be done? Or maybe if i found a hollow reed or something i could blow throught that into the fire. It would get burned on the end so i would need to replace it after a bit

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how many cubic feet of air can you blow per minute?

can you keep that up for 8 hours solid?

you cant make bag bellows?

box bellows?

any other type?

if you had a howling gale and a large funnel use the wind

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9 minutes ago, the iron dwarf said:

how many cubic feet of air can you blow per minute?

can you keep that up for 8 hours solid?

you cant make bag bellows?

box bellows?

any other type?

if you had a howling gale and a large funnel use the wind

Bag bellows would require killing an animal which im not going to do unless it was like after some apocalypse or somehting. What box bellows? I would like to do everything from scratch so no fancy metal tools. And i know blowing would be hard, i just want to know if its posisble

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it may be possible

but also it may be possible to beat the land speed record set by thrust ssc on a bicycle

or to correctly predict the winning lottery numbers on 10 consecutive weeks

almost anything is possible

how many primitive people would not kill an animal to eat?

or find an animal that has died for other reasons and use that

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I would kill an animal to eat but i dont need to. It would be bery messy and i dont have a hunting license. Besides then id have to find a way to kill an animal with primitive things like make my own bow and thats not even considering the effort of making bellows. Thanks though.

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In India they used tall chiminies and the prevailing winds to provide the blast but that requires a steady strong wind (this was a seasonal activity, in a limited location. River valley if I remember)

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kind of like blacksmithing-you make a tool, to make a tool, to make a tool, to make what you want. done that before, actually more than once.

                                                                                             Littleblacksmith

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so you cant buy a skin and use that or use something man made to do the job of the skin.

you have to decide if you want to do things the primitive way or not

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Can't find some canvas and give it a wash in borax to make bag bellows?  may loose a little efficiency to air loss but rather minor.  Nothing says the bag bellows MUST be leather...

 

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Just like what the iron dwarf said, why cant you buy a skin? your already using the internet to figure most of this out, they learned through trial and error.

                                                                                                      Littleblacksmith

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If i used trial and error it would take me thousands of years too! Im sure i think of a way, get lucky and find something or give in and buy something. Thanks for the help

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have you got lots of volunteers to help operate the bellows, also make several spare sets because you will be going for many hours and if your bellows fail you want to replace them quick, also people to feed the fire

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3 minutes ago, the iron dwarf said:

have you got lots of volunteers to help operate the bellows, also make several spare sets because you will be going for many hours and if your bellows fail you want to replace them quick, also people to feed the fire

No but that would be a good idea

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Ben, have you ever seen the Youtube videos on making tamahagane? That is one version of the bloom. Where are you located? Is there an SCA group near by? One fine craftsman who's SCA name is Duke Seth did a rock to knife project that started with toasting the ore. What kind of ore were you planning on using? The Japanese have access to black iron sand that is chock full of magnetite and since it is sand self fluxing. If you want to take rock iron ore and stick it in a  bloomery you may have mixed results. 

Duke Seth had 3 other guys (paid in beer and pulled pork) to help take the bloom and put it on a good sized stump. This is while it is glowing at least red hot mind you so not too many beers. They took the bloom and split it in to chunks. 

Do you have an anvil stone? Anvil stones are found at many sites where the vikings lived. These big chunks of hard rock were the closest they came to an anvil. Heck an ASO from Harbor Freight would have been called a gift from the Gods.      

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Acualy bronze anvils/bicks were known prior to iron, certainly anvil stones were used, but so were small iron anvils (Vikings both pre and post migration era). Remember that the Bronze Age came before the Iron Age, and the Iron Age ran up to the Industrial Age. One must also deside what part of the world one wishes to copy, as the "barbarians" acualy were more advanced in iron work than the Romans, and the Chinese were casting iron wile parts of the world were just breaching the Bronze Age (Spain put a stop to that in the new world) 

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Having sat in way too many "morning meetings", representing the Manufacturing-Engineering Department at a major US automaker, ... you become quite accustomed to communicating to people who have never actually done anything, ... simple facts that often fail to match their preconceived notions.

Now, you have all enjoyed that same experience.

 

As had Saint Paul, when he so eloquently stated in 2nd Corinthians ... "For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise".

 

.

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Charles, 

That fact about the bronze anvil does not surprise me in the least. Wars in the Bronze age had the problem that Tin and Copper are not always in the same place at the same time.  

Ben, 

How much charcoal have you made? You are going to need a good bit! 

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I uavent started. Yes it needs a ton of charcoal that will take a long time to make it all. And if it helps i live in nova scotia

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