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ks3680

bloomery

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I am currently starting the research for a travel grant which will allow me to study traditional methods of smelting iron in a bloomery furnace. Im interested in learning how to collect the raw materials and also make the furnace its self, run it and then complete the process by then forging the iron I make. I have just completed three years at the National School of Blacksmithing in Hereford and so the focus of this research is the production of the material I have loved working with during my time there.

The project requires you to travel out side of the uk and so I was wondering if anyone knew places or people anywhere in the world who mite be able to help out and possibly host and teach me. Any advice or links would be hugely appreciated, from people running classes, to regions in far flung places where methods are still practiced traditionally , even experimental off grid communities. I am particularly interested in visiting tribes still using ancient techniques and places using very simple technology.

THANKYOU

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Hi and welcome!

Try to search for Adam Thiele's articles and work. He is a researcher of medieval iron smelting methods, also next summer there is going to be his 10th archeosmelter camp in Hungary.

Bests:

Gergely

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Thomas Powers is a frequent responder on this site and has participated in several bloomery reductions in the U.S. He might have some ideas. I would suggest also that you acquire the excellent video, "Inagina The last House of Iron" which shows the Dogon people of Mali producing iron.

 

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Lee is a big guy in smelting in America.  At one of the Ironmasters conferences (Athens Ohio) the leads from the smelting crew I was part of presented on 10 years of Scandinavian short stack bloomery smelting.  It's been about 15 years so it might have been published by then.

Have you read Dr Feuerbach's Thesis on crucible steel in central Asia----she believes that blooms may have been  used as starting material for crucible steel making.  Not central to your area of interest but an interesting side road...

Wish I could write more but I'm in a personal crisis right now, my Father died at 9am this morning.

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As Thomas said, Lee Sauder has a lot of knowledge on bloomerys.  He, Shel Browder, and Steve Mankowski, created a DVD called from Ore to Ax wherein they smelted iron, and obviously, used it to make an ax.  Currently, those three are working on another DVD about smelting the steel they used for the sharpened blade of the ax.  I look forward to seeing it when it comes out.  Shel Browder retired from Colonial Williamsburg and is out and about storytelling and blacksmithing.  Steve Mankowski still works as a Blacksmith for Colonial Williamsburg.  Lee's shop is in Lexington, Virginia.  All three of these gentlemen willingly share their knowledge when asked.

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I would add my recomendation of Lee sauder. I spent a week with him and would highly recomend it , I had 40 or so smelts under my belt when I visited him and learned a lot about all sorts of stuff.

other places to look:- iron smelters of the world facebook page, daily smelts going on all over the world.

bloomers and buttons on bladesmiths forum (huge amount of great info on smelting)

 there is a smelting festival planned in ireland for late august next year.

lots of european smelters , holland , luxemberg spain and Germany to name a few I know of.

I would be happy to help with any UK based info feel free to email me at [email protected] I run a once a year smelting class but its this week....smelted today and on monday making iron and then steel....going to be a busy week.

 

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