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 I recantly found out that the previous owner of the property where I work spread tons of maginitite on some of the roads here. I would like to smelt some it after I do some research.

 A couple of questions to start with,

1, Does magnitite ore need to be roasted?

2, How small  does the ore need to be crushed to give good .results? 

Thank you.

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1: no it's quite clean *if* it is plain magnetite. Roasting is good for sulfur containing ores

2: Depends a lot on your smelting process.  FIner is easier for smaller bloomeries---we got great results for 100 mesh magnetite in a Y1K scandinavian style bloomery.  Can you run a covered magnet over it and collect the "sand and dust"?

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Thanks Thomas, It is plain  magnetite. it was ore left at a smelter in Pilot Knob when it shut down. There is no sand to soek of, it is all rocks. Guess I will set up something to crush i as small as it canand sift the fines ot to use. I am not in a hurry to do this, lot of learning to do.




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Thomas, I will look into the tumbler/ball mill. And yes I did find Lee Sauder's page, lot's of good info.

Smoggy, i will keep this updated as things progress. I see it as a long term project, I want to do this using local materials as much as possable with minimal $, not counting my time.  

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  • 1 month later...

I have smelting magnetite ore a dozen times or more. No it does not need to be roasted, but it can be beneficial to drive out moisture.


Typically we break it up into pea sized chunks, and mag clean a time or two to up the iron content and decrease silicates.


We run two different types of magnetite, and both have to be ran slightly different. I will say however, that magnetite tends to be pretty clean of silicates, so you may need to add a slag source, this can be achieved by adding sand to the mix at low percentages, bellow 10% by weight.

Mark Green and I share our smelts on the Iron Smelters of the World group on facebook, I also share some of our smelts on my youtube: www.youtube.com/danielcauble

Much of the technology we run derives from Lee Sauder teachings, except for the past year or two where we have branched from it and started focusing on making high carbon steel, as Lee typically shoots for straight Iron.


I am at 40 or so smelts and counting.

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Thanks for the info DanielC. I have been slowly crushing the ore and sifting it through 1/4 in. screen.  After crushing a magnet will pick up everything. I am a member of Iron Smelters of the World, and I have watched some of your smelts. I am planing to do my first smelt some time this summer, I am hoping for nearly pure iron.

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Different species of wood ash contain varying levels of phosphorous after talking with Lee.

For the most part though, we find it negligible if you run general lump. We have tried a few smelts using Stubbs (not a typical briquette), in a pure curiosity and hopeful cost cutting measure. Several smelts were successful, but we found that the "5 % vegetable binder" to be pretty bunk, and the slag content was through the roof. Back to lump we went.

When it comes to my hearth runs however, I only use charcoal I have made.

Royal Oak has been the best lump to use for the past few years. Cowboy is starting to improve as a disease is sweeping the US and all of the Ash trees are dying off, so they are switching from the crap they had before to real wood again. Sometimes they even resorted to hardwood flooring. Sometimes I run into beanie weanie cans.

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Well that's not necessarily a good thing. If the wood contains trace amount of a copper rich mineral, I would assume that you could then transfer and distill enough copper to mess with your bloom, especially if it's giving off color.


Copper is the Achilles heel to iron production. We use copper tuyure in our smelter because if it's heat transferring properties (it is also historic in some parts of the world), but always at the risk of melting some off (though with proper slag management this isn't an issue).


Basically copper will precipitate to the surface of the iron, and not allow at forge weld to take place. Very hard to remove as well.


Anything that goes into the smelter is going to contribute to the end result (some much more than others). Even the smelter material itself. Go with the best ores, and good charcoal and you are past a huge hurdle.

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