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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 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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The Truth About Power Tools

The Truth About Power Tools

You have done it. You have made your decision to pick up a craft as a hobby. You are attracted to the old-timey romance of blacksmithing and the challenges of making knives. You want to start forging. Now what? You have seen photos of a proper professional workshop full of large, intimidating and expensive machinery. You might have seen a video of someone squishing large blocks of damascus steel with a hydraulic press. When you take a look at the…

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The Smelter’s Tale: Experimental Archaeology & Craft

The Smelter’s Tale: Experimental Archaeology & Craft

Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid — Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade. “Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall, “But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of them all.” – Rudyard Kipling: ‘Cold Iron’ (1910) – In my Introduction to Experimental Archaeology, I have described experimental archaeology as the testing of archaeological hypotheses based on the excavated record by reproducing and using archaeological finds. In other words, testing our presumptions about…

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