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Cyber Smiths Int.
Edition 42 - Page 17 of 25 September 30, 2008

SOFA 2008 - Making Wrought Iron

Iron Furnaces
The furnace starts as a nice neat construction then degrades rapidly. As staw burns out small holes appear, the furnace begins to slump. Patching can be a continous operation and I've seen it require a full time person at other smelts.

This furnace was built of clay and straw the day before it was used. After it was built on Friday a wood fire was lit and the furnace dried until late at night. It was not completely dry in the morning. A dry preheated (warm) furnace is best.

Operation during the day consists of feeding measured amounts of fuel and ore to the furnace at regular intervals and monitoring the furnaces performance. Adjustments are made as necessary. If the furance is run too hot the iron will melt and pickup carbon becoming cast iron. If the furnace is run too slow the iron may not consilidate and just be a bunch of burned iron pellets. When everything is perfectly balanced the furnace makes carbon monoxide and strips the oxygen from the iron oxide. Particles of iron fall through to the slag bowl and collect there.

There are more ways things can go wroung than go right. Today, things went right.

After 8 hours of feeding charges it is time to have a look or to feel around. Excess slag and clinker above the bloom is removed and the condition of the bloom determined.

Small furnaces can be unloaded from the top or the bottom. Doing so from the top is difficult but saves the furnace and lets it be used to reheat the bloom.

Here Darrell is pulling out clinkers and coals.

Now that it is determined that it is time to unload the furnace excess fuel is removed from above the bloom.

What I want to know is what the Vikings wore to do this?

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September 30, 2008
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