Bugglejuice

Liquid hot magma *diabolical laugh*

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So, a thought popped in my head while driving home today. In fantasy settings is often portrayed as dwarves using volcanic lava or magma as their heat source.  Is this something that, in theory,  could be possible?  

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I've stood on the Pali on the Big Island within a couple feet of a flow; my forge is a LOT hotter. Now that wasn't a lava lake but judging by color the forge is still hotter. Students were dipping molten lava with coat hangers.

Fun fantasy though.

Dwarves used coal, mined from deep within one of their secret mountains.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Gasses involved in lava flows tend to be very high in sulfur.  Sulfur can be absorbed into red hot steel making it weaker---one reason we want low sulfur coal and we want only the coked stuff in contact with the steel---and why they had to start adding manganese into steel when making it with coal instead of charcoal. (And why swedish charcoal steel was extolled for so very long after Darby's work...)

So radiant heat issues, sulfur issues, stick to your steel issues; hmm I bet I could design a workable lava fired muffle or reverberatory furnace that would work well, probably go with basaltic lava as it has a lower viscosity.

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There used to be a video on YouTube (now removed) of some genius attempting to harden a sword by sticking it in lava and then quenching it with about a quart of water poured over it.  

It didn’t go well. 

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I suppose if you're dead set on getting a working tool from magma you could find a nice pile of it that's already cooled into a formation of obsidian and knap a spear point or blade from it. Hardened and tempered by NatureB)

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18 hours ago, TwistedCustoms said:

Hardened and tempered by NatureB)

How about finding a nice fine grained basalt and make an anvil and hammers?

I always wanted to make some knapped obsidian skipping stones and see if I could hunt ducks but I don't think a stay at the gray bar motel would be worth it. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Do a number on your throwing hand too, if you weren't wearing gloves.

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A strip of leather over your index finger works. I still have my leather palm patch for knapping, it'd work but be a little less suave on the cast. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Posted (edited)

Obsidian is still in use for scalpels for certain medical procedures. Eye surgery and a few other things.

Frosty, I don't blameyou. The Gray Bar hotel has poor service and many bad reviews. May have good fitness facilities though.  ;-) 

Edited by pnut

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