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Hi, there,

For history class, I'm allowed to do a physical project instead of a six-page write up, and since one of the things we are studying, however briefly, is the Iron Age, an thought I'd try to make and refine am iron bloom, and with that, make a socket axe from an Iron Age design.

I've done some research into making steel blooms, but I've yet to attempt it. I would just search through the forum here to find anything I need, but I am pretty lazy, and it would be much easier to just put one link down for my source here in IForgeIron.

I'd love any advice you could give me, and I'll post pictures of my progress. My intention is to make a short YouTube documentary, the bloom, and the axe. It won't. e the end of the world if it doesn't work; I'll still get a mark for my attempt.

Thanks in advance,

Chris

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its not practical to repost chapter 14 of my second book which covers the basics start to finish, of a bloom but I will answer specific questions you have, Or you could just by a copy, you should have it within a week from ordering

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Chris Williams shared this link in another thread and I thought it was an interesting read. I doubt it's "all encompassing", but maybe there are some pieces of information in there that may be interesting.

https://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/iss/kap_a/backbone/ra_2_4.html

I don't know much of anything about making/refining a bloom, but I think it will take a lot longer than a 6 page write up. Even if it is more fun.

You might want to consider making it a group project (even if you're the only one getting the grade) when it gets to refining. That seems to me like a job for more than one person. In fact the whole thing seems like a job for more than one person.

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Chris: I hate to burst your bubble but I'll take the chance to talk to you like a grown up. If as you stated above you're too lazy to do your own research they you're orders of magnitude too lazy to make an iron bloom let alone refine it enough to forge an ax. Just the bloom will take you and probably a dozen friends willing to pump bellows for a day to two straight. And again a couple days worth of pumping and hammering to refine a billet.

Do you know how to select a bloom for different carbon content? What combination of what is there to refine an acceptable billet?  Different blooms have different amounts and combinations. 

Before you refine something to make an ax from a mere 6 page paper is going to sound like a vacation.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I did a bloomery smelt last year under the direction of Lee Sauder (His website has lots of info, but you're too lazy, so....). It took a 4 man crew 3 days just getting everything ready- mixing clay, building the furnace, firing it, grading the charcoal, breaking the ore ( which was already roasted) into a usable size and assorted other bits of prep work. We actually smelted the 4th and 5th days.  Ran the furnace ~ 6 hours each smelt, with an electric blower. Once the bloom was done ( 17 and 25 lbs) we split it into 1/4ths with a 3 or 4 man team striking crew wailing away at a splitting maul. Once we had workable sized chunks we then went into the forge to refine. And it wasnt really refined- we just used a power hammer and hyd press to beat the bloom into dimensional bars to be refined later.

All that is to say that it is a heck of a lot of work and nowhere near any semblance of a finished product. We had the benefit of working under someone who has a lot of smelts under his belt. The interwebs won't give you that kind of support. As  Frosty suggested, stick with a 6 page paper.

Steve

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Thanks, everyone.

I should start by saying I called myself lazy because saying "I'm the hardest worker there is" would be inaccurate and a lie. I am willing to put in the work, and (I think) I know how much it will take. (I probably don't, though.)

I could still write a 6 page essay, yes. (I know it's not long; I've written many that were much longer on boring and tedious subjects.) If I were to write one just on the process, I could probably do it in two hours and it would feel like I just sat down to the start, since I would enjoy it. 

I could look through all of the articles here on IForgeIron, and I would undoubtably learn quite a bit, however I know I would miss a source or two, or I would copy something and someone would get all upset with me. It's happened far too many times. It would just be easier on myself and my teacher for me just to lump all of my information in here and copy and paste the link into my bibliography. In fact, he just gave us a 10 minute lecture on plagiarism, and that sounds kinda scary.

I might have a friend of mine helping me, if he has the time. He's been a smith for 10 years, I think he said. If I have any general questions, I'm sure I could ask him.

Steve (Sells,) you mentioned you've written a book? May I have a link to it? I'd like a copy.

Thanks again, everyone.

Chris

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Ah HAH! I do believe you use the phrase "I'm lazy," much the way I do. I'm too lazy to waste effort if I can help it. An ancient saying I made up a few decades ago, "Necessity is the mother of invention, lazyness is the father of improvement." Lazyness being the quest for the most effective machinery, method, etc. say bang for your sweaty buck.

Do you have to do a bloom entirely in period or can you sneak in a little electricity without getting an F?  

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yes, Frosty, that's exactly what I mean! Save myself some effort. I had an argument with someone once because I called a(n older) friend of mine to tell me about research they did on a topic to save myself from doing a few hours of reading, and apparntly that's "lazy and a cheaty way of doing things." But anyway...

I asked my teacher, and he said I could use a fan. I'm quite glad; I've heard bellows are no fun. I also need light to be able to see, since I work mostly after dark so I can see the steel colour, and I don't have an oil lamp. (Yet...)

Chris

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If they think asking about earlier research is cheating they probably don't know about the Dewy Decimal system. I read all the time, not so much to learn things in depth but to get a working handle on them. If I need in depth information I'll know where to look. It's imperfect of course but works for me.

You won't be looking at steel color running a bloom, that's one of two steps down the line. Have you looked into how Japanese bladesmiths select steel from the tamahagane? Thomas just posted a link to a pretty detailed video. If I'm not mistaken he grades the "bloom" for the grade steel he wants.  Yeah, I know it's not a "bloom" but I don't recall the proper names. I'm sure someone will, hopefully, correct me shortly.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks, Frosty.

No, I actually haven't heard of a grading system. I know about quality in the sparks, but other than that I'm not sure. I do also know the materielal will be the same colour once it's a solid mass, rather than half being orange and half being red where a crack or uncondensed spot is. (Am I right..?) 

I'll search around for Thomas' video link, and copy and paste it here to avoid pladjurism.

I'll also include my rough sketch of the socket axe; I'll upload it in the next couple of days. Here's a link to a video by Joey van der Steeg showing what I'm talking about. At the very end of the video he shows what it looks like so you don't have to sit through the hammering.

Chris

 

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