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Iron Production Experiment - June 2006

Date: 10 June, 2006

Location: Vinderheima

Premise: Test drive of a new smelter placement with this one being run by Kevin & Dave.

Experiment Notes - Norse Short Shaft Smelter

The Team:

Leader Kevin Jarbeau / Dave Cox
Staff Ken Cook
Recorder Neil Peterson
Supervisor Darrell Markewitz

Smelt_cd Reports of all of our iron smelting efforts along with more articles and information are available on the "Iron Smelting in the Viking Age" CD from the Wareham Forge.  Copies of the CD can be purchased here.

Setting up the smelter two weeks before the smelt.

Main Space The bank was then levelled Poles were notched Concrete embankment
The finished area Chopping grass for the cobb Packing the cobb Checking smelter revetment
   
Final touches on the top A little jiffy-pop!    
Time Event Measures
Relative Absolute Total
Relative Elapsed Charcoal Ore
0:00 00 addition rough charcoal, gentle air blast        
0:15   Smelter Corn put on        
0:20   Smelter Corn readt for eating        
0:40   Start of graded Charcoal        
0:45 5 first measured charcoal 1 4 lbs* 4 lbs  
0:54 9 charcoal 2   8 lbs  
1:02 8 charcoal 3   12 lbs  
1:05   Start heating first charge        
1:10 8 Charcoal 4   16 lbs  
1:11   Ore 1 .75 lbs*   .75 lbs
1:19 9 charcoal 5   20 lbs  
1:22 5 Ore 2 .75 lbs   1.5 lbs
1:30 11 charcoal 6   24 lbs  
1:33 11 Ore 3 .75 lbs   2.25 lbs
1:38 8 charcoal 7   28 lbs  
1:45 12 Ore 4 .75 lbs   3 lbs
7 charcoal 8   32 lbs  
1:52 7 Ore 5 .75 lbs   3.75 lbs
1:55 10 charcoal 9   36 lbs  
2:02 10 Ore 6 .75 lbs   4.5 lbs
2:04 9 charcoal 10   40 lbs  
2:12 10 Ore 7 .75 lbs   5.25 lbs
2:14 10 charcoal 11   44 lbs  
2:22 10 Ore 8 .75 lbs   6 lbs
2:24 10 charcoal 12   48 lbs  
2:31 9 Ore 9 .75 lbs   6.75 lbs
2:35 11 charcoal 13   52 lbs  
2:46 11 charcoal 14   56 lbs  
Ore 10 .75 lbs   7.5 lbs
2:53 7 charcoal 15   60 lbs  
2:56 10 Ore 11 .75 lbs   8.25 lbs
3:05 12 charcoal 16   64 lbs  
9 Ore 12 .75 lbs   9 lbs
3:12 7 Ore 13 .75 lbs   9.75 lbs
3:14   Turned Air up to C+        
3:15 10 charcoal 17   68 lbs  
3:24 9 charcoal 18   72 lbs  
12 Ore 14 .75 lbs   10.5 lbs
3:35 9 charcoal 19   76 lbs  
3:36   Turned Air up to D        
3:47 12 charcoal 20   80 lbs  
23 Ore 15 .75 lbs   11.25 lbs
3:48   Optical Pyrometer measurements (2400-2800F)        
3:56 9 charcoal 21   84 lbs  
Ore 16 .75 lbs   12 lbs
4:03 7 Ore 17 .75 lbs 84 lbs 12.75 lbs
4:05 9 charcoal 22   88 lbs  
4:14 9 Ore 18 .75 lbs   13.5 lbs
charcoal 23   92 lbs  
4:24 10 Ore 19 .75 lbs   14.25 lbs
charcoal 24   96 lbs  
4:33 9 Ore 20 .75 lbs   15 lbs
charcoal 25   100 lbs  
4:42 9 Ore 21 .75 lbs   15.75 lbs
charcoal 26   104 lbs  
4:50 8 Ore 22 .75 lbs   16.5 lbs
charcoal 27   108 lbs  
4:58 8 Ore 23 .75 lbs   17.25 lbs
charcoal 28   112 lbs  
5:06 8 Ore 24 .75 lbs   18 lbs
charcoal 29   116 lbs  
5:14 8 Ore 25 .75 lbs   18.75 lbs
charcoal 30   120 lbs  
5:23 9 Ore 26 .75 lbs   19.5 lbs
charcoal 31   124 lbs  
5:32 9 Ore 27 .75 lbs   20.25 lbs
charcoal 32   128 lbs  
5:39 7 Ore 28 .75 lbs   21 lbs
charcoal 33   132 lbs  
5:46 7 Ore 29 .75 lbs   21.75 lbs
charcoal 34   136 lbs  
5:54 8 Ore 30 .75 lbs   22.5 lbs
charcoal 35   140 lbs  
5:59 5 Ore 31 .75 lbs   23.25 lbs
6:03 4 Ore 32 .75 lbs   24 lbs
9 charcoal 36   144 lbs  
6:07 4 Ore 33 .75 lbs   24.75 lbs
6:12 5 Ore 34 .75 lbs   25.5 lbs
9 charcoal 37   148 lbs  
6:15 3 Ore 35 .75 lbs   26.25 lbs
6:20 5 Ore 36 .75 lbs   27 lbs
8 charcoal 38   152 lbs  
6:24 4 Ore 37 .75 lbs   27.75 lbs
6:26 2 Ore 38 .75 lbs   28.5 lbs
6:29 3 Ore 39 .75 lbs   29.25 lbs
9 charcoal 39   156 lbs  
6:34 5 Ore 40 .75 lbs   30 lbs
6:36 7 charcoal 40   160 lbs  
6:39 5 Ore 41 .75 lbs   30.75 lbs
6:42 3 Ore 42 .75 lbs   31.5 lbs
6:44 2 Ore 43 .75 lbs   32.25 lbs
8 charcoal 41   164 lbs  
6:48 4 Ore 44 .75 lbs   33 lbs
6:50 2 Ore 45 .75 lbs   33.75 lbs
6:52 2 Ore 46 .75 lbs   34.5 lbs
8 charcoal 42   168 lbs  
6:54   Gromp 1 nodule    
6:56 4 Ore 47 .75 lbs   35.25 lbs
6:58 2 Ore 48 .75 lbs   36 lbs
4 Gromp 2      
7:00 8 charcoal - switch to rough crushed 43   172 lbs  
2 Ore 49 .75 lbs   36.75 lbs
Gromp 3      
7:02 2 Gromp 4      
7:04 4 Ore 50 .75 lbs   37.5 lbs
2 Gromp 5      
7:08 4 Ore 51 .75 lbs   38.25 lbs
Gromp 6      
7:10 10 charcoal 44   176 lbs  
2 Ore 52 .75 lbs   39 lbs
Gromp 7     3.75 lbs
7:19   charcoal 45   180 lbs  
7:30   charcoal 46   184 lbs  
7:31   Shock Charge - ore 53 .75 lbs   39.75 lbs
7:37   charcoal 47   188 lbs  
7:49   charcoal 48   192 lbs  
7:55   Turn air down to C        
  Scoop out charcoal        
7:59   Turn air down to A        
8:02   Compacting the bloom        
8:06   Extraction        
8:12   Removed Tap arch        

NOTES:
Charge times recorded at END of unit addtition

* All charcoal charges are based on a 'standard pail' - weight of 4 lbs
All ore charges are based on a 'standard scoop' - weight of 3/4 lbs
An ore scoop was weighed as 410g ( 0.9 lbs), then bags of 10Kg of ore were scooped out and the number of scoops counted - this averaged out to 363g ( 0.8 lbs)
Estimated from known marks

Air flow rates were check at the end of the experiment and confirmed to match previous readings.

YIELD: 8.1 Kg ( 17.8 lbs) in various types

Two small blooms were recovered 900g and 650g.  These seem to be masses with mild steel and cast iron.
An additional 3.75 Kg in a single Cast Iron / Slag mass
600 g of magnetic bits were screened from the ash
1.3 Kg of cast iron were recovered
900 g of loosly sintered material was also pulled from the smelter

This smelt did not work as expected.  Usually around 2.5 hours into the smelt the reaction "takes off".  The time to burn down a bucket of charcoal drops below 8 minutes.  To counter this more ore is added to each bucket of charcoal.  This time this did not happen.  The burn rate stayed at around 8 minutes.  We checked the air flow, which was as expected.  We used the optical pyrometer to check the inside temperature.  6 different readings were tken by various people all in the expected range.  Yet the only difference between this smelt and the previous one was that this smelter was cut into the bank.

Around 6 hours into the smelt it was decided to try increasing the amount of ore in a bucket.  We expected that this would slow down the burn time but we did want to see what would happen.  In a strange twist the burn time stayed at 8 minutes.... so we added more ore, and the burn time stayed at 8 minutes. Given this strange behaviour we finished the smelt as we normally would have.  When the bloom was pulled it was found to be mostly cast iron.  This makes sense as the ore/charcoal ratio in this smelt was much smaller than usual, the ore spent more time in contact with the carbon then would normally happen.

Pictures
Shot down the tuyure One of the tappings Movie of tapping


The smelt
Watching the charcoal burn Smelter busy burning charcoal. Burn baby burn! The finished ground forge.
Adding more charcoal. Overview of smelting day. A lot of waiting is needed. Darrell listening to the smelter
 
Pouring ore into the smelter The beginning of a tapping Slag coming out  


Pulling and working the bloom
First few strikes Notice the chunks? Working a smaller piece Some finishing touches
 
Working the second piece Cast iron boiling Empty smelter  
The Next Day
A view of the encrusted wall Smelter with no fill Some of the cracks One of the large cracks
A fun view of the cleanup Some of the cast iron bits Bloom with decent steel Two decent chunks of bloom
Smelt_cd Reports of all of our iron smelting efforts along with more articles and information are available on the "Iron Smelting in the Viking Age" CD from the Wareham Forge.  Copies of the CD can be purchased here.
      Updated: 4 Dec, 2007
Text © Neil Peterson, Darrell Markewitz, 2007   Photographs © Individual artists   Copyright details
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