This weekend marked the completion of the Mark2 bead furnace. It was completed in conjunction with another iron smelt, and at the end of the day it was burned for long enough to partially sinter the clay and make a few beads as a test. This was the first opportunity for some of the DARC folks to try their hand at the furnace.This smelter is physically different from the Mark1 in a number of important ways.
|Adding charcoal||Crucible with glass||Making 2 beads||Shaping a bead|
|Working setup||Annealing beads|
A simple test was run to see if the smelter could melt glass - some pieces of lampwoking glass rods were melted in a crucible.
Once we were certain that the glass would melt, we moved on to trying some lampworking inside the working ports. We used this technique as it is the one we learned at our workshop in 2004. One principle of experimental archaeology is to minimize the number of variables in a single experiment.
During this experiment ash gave us a significant amount of difficulty by sticking to the beads.
This experiment validated the basic idea that bead can be made in such a furnace. It also raised a number of questions with regards to the actual process. These included