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An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part V: Building the Furnace

An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part V: Building the Furnace

Your tools are gathered, your clay mixed, your ore processed, and you have chosen a furnace design to follow. Now you are ready to give building the furnace a try. How well you do this will have an influence on how smooth the whole smelting operation runs. After all, you do not want to be standing in front of a leaning shaft, with ever larger cracks spreading across the furnace, wondering if the thing will make it to the end. Especially…

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An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part IV: Furnace Design

An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part IV: Furnace Design

You have a space for smelting selected, your equipment is gathered, you clay is mixed, you charcoal chopped and your ore crushed. Now you are finally ready to build the furnace. We are getting dangerously close to the actual smelting here. And that is what you came here for in the first place. Right? But first you will need to choose what sort of bloomery furnace you want to build.  There are many possibilities and examples available – both historic…

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An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part III: Raw Materials

An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part III: Raw Materials

Now that we have all the tools gathered, it is time to start dealing with the required materials. Therefore in this part of the iron smelting series, I shall devote a few words to the building materials used to construct the bloomery furnace. While I am at it, I shall also be instructing you on how to prepare the ore and charcoal for the smelt. While I am writing this post from the point of view of a bloomery smelter,…

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An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part II: Tools of the Trade

An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part II: Tools of the Trade

Now that we have covered the basic theoretical background of iron smelting, it is time we take a look at the more practical aspects of this wonderful madness. After all, this is what you came here for. Right? Let us start with all the equipment which you will need. The iron smelter’s tool chest is a fairly basic one, especially when compared to the varied range of specialised tooling used by most blacksmiths. You can do a lot with very…

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An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part I: Theory

An Introduction to Iron Smelting – Part I: Theory

Smelting your own iron by digging up ore, clay and sand, and turning them into a bar iron using heat and hard work alone, is a transformative process which carries much mystery and appeal. The whole act of taking what is essentially dirt and transforming it into iron and steel, which can then be turned into objects both useful and beautiful, still captivates the imagination of artisans, archaeologists and chance observers alike. I have already touched upon the topic iron…

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