IRON SMELT Experiment Overview

2001 to 2005

V1 / 2005

Go HERE for a bare text version..
Go HERE for table style version..

Go HERE for the 2006 series..
Go HERE for the 2007 series..

Date : June 2001
Experiment : 1
Location : L'Anse Aux Meadows NF
Team : Parks Canada Consultants (1)
Furnace : Norse boxed bowl
- stone slab sides, clay sealed, sod backed
- no tap arch
Size : 35 cm x 30 x 50 H (square)
Source : based on LAM (theoretical)
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : 5 cm above floor
- 3 cm in from wall
- angle slightly up
Bellows : standard Norse double chamber
Air : (E) 2 L per stroke
- (E) 120 L per minute
Charcoal : 8 kg broken hardwood
Consumption :
Ore : LAM bog ore - 5 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added as one large charge
Duration : about 2 hours (plus preheat)
Result : small slag mass
- some small iron 'prills' (total 100 gm)
- test as high carbon (cast iron)
Notes : a number of basic errors, consider equipment test :
- charcoal allowed to burn down to half way
- ore placed on raft of bark
- air flow not constant (cycles temperature)
- low pressure / poor penetration of air
- sequence too short
Date : May 2002
Experiment : 2/D1
Location : Wareham ON
Team : DARC (2) + Dr. Kevin Smith
Furnace: Norse boxed bowl
- stone slab sides, clay sealed, sod backed
- no tap arch
Size : 30 cm x 30 x 40 H (square)
Source : based on LAM (theoretical)
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : angle slightly up
Bellows : standard Norse double chamber
Air : (EE) 1.2 L per stroke
- (EE) 120 - 72 L per minute
Charcoal : 22 kg broken hardwood
Consumption :
Ore : St Lunaire bog ore - 6 kg (roasted)
- mix of 2.8 ore / 2.5 scale / .7 sand
Sequence : ore added as three large charges
Duration : about 8 hours (plus preheat)
Result : 2 kg slag mass
- total 4.3 kg magnetic slag recovered
Notes : a number of basic errors
- use of large amount forge scale
- extremely low air volume
- low pressure / poor penetration of air
- air flow not constant (cycles temperature)
Date : June 2003
Experiment : 3/D2
Location : Wareham ON
Team : DARC
Furnace : Early Medieval Medium Shaft
- cylindrical cob with refractory liner
- tap arch
- fire brick base
Size : 27 cm taper to 24 x 90 H
Source : suggested by Sauder & Williams
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : (E) about 20 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 15 down
Bellows: vacuum blower
Air :
Charcoal : (E) 50 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 1.5 kg charcoal every 12-15 minutes
Ore : Virginia rock ore - 8 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added as 6 x 1.5 kg charges
Duration : about 4 1/2 hours (plus preheat)
Result : - initial liquid slag (faylite) tapped
- burn through crashes sequence
Notes : Generally sequence is closer to correct
- slag bowl forms too high
- slightly reduced air volume
- incorrect tuyere angle

Date: June 2004
Experiment : 4/D3
Location : Wareham ON
Team : DARC + Mike McCarthy / Mark Pilgrim
Furnace : Norse Boxed Short Shaft
- cylindrical cob backed with stone slab and sand
- no tap arch
Size : 25 cm tapers to 20 x 50 H
Source : suggested by Crew
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : 2 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 15 down
Bellows : initial Norse double bag / various
Air : initial 2.2 per stroke / at 130 per minute
/ various
Charcoal : (E) 19 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 1.5 kg charcoal every 12-15 minutes
Ore : Virginia rock ore - 7 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added as 7 x 1 kg charges
Duration : about 6 hours (plus preheat)
Result : slag masses only
Notes: - Clay slumps during smelter construction
- moves tuyere to incorrect position,
too close to floor and shallow angle. This 'drowns' air flow.
- Air system failures lead to fluctuating temperatures
- Attempt to cut new tuyere unsuccessfully
Date : October 2004
Experiment : 5
Location : Cooperstown NY (Early Iron 1)
Team : Michael Mahoney / Millard Wyman
Paul Burdon / Elizabeth Hendrix
Furnace : Norse Short Shaft
- cylindrical cob set in earth trench
- no tap arch
Size : 28 cm x 60 H
Source : suggested by earlier experiments
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : 15 cm from base
- about 3 cm in from wall
- angle at 15 down
Bellows : Norse double bag
Air : 2.2 L per stroke
- at 130 L per minute
Charcoal : 100 L broken hardwood
Consumption : about 6 L charcoal every 15 minutes
Ore: Virginia rock ore - 8 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added as 5 x 1.5 kg charges + .5 reduction
Duration : about 4 hours (plus preheat)
Result : 'pre bloom mass'
Notes : Air cut during operator changes and short smelter repairs
- Generally structure successful
- Air flow still low
- Longer sequence required to develop larger bloom
Date : October 2004
Experiment : 6/D4
Location : Wareham ON
Team : DARC
Furnace : Econo Norse
- firebrick backed with sand set in earth trench
- no tap arch
Size : 30 cm x 70 H
Source : suggested by earlier experiments
Tuyere : 25 mm ID steel pipe
Placement : 20 cm from base
- about 3 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : vacuum blower
Air : 550 L per minute
Charcoal : 110 L broken hardwood
Consumption : about 6 L charcoal every 12 - 15 minutes
Ore : Virginia rock ore - (EE) 8 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added as 8 x 1 kg (E) charges
Duration : about 5 1/2 hours (10 hours total)
Result : 2 kg bloom - high carbon (cast iron)
Yield : EE 25%
Notes : Air cut (electrical problems) at pre-heat only
- Successful creation of small bloom
- Air flow still a bit low
- Longer sequence required to develop larger bloom

Date : February 2005
Experiment : 7
Location : Lexington VA (Smeltfest 05)
Team : Gangue aux Fer (3)
Furnace : Econo Norse
- firebrick backed with sand set on plinth
- tap arch
Size : 25 cm x 60 H
Source : DARC 10/04
Tuyere : 25 mm ID 1/8" formed copper
Placement : 18 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : vacuum blower
Air : 815 L per minute
Charcoal : 85 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Virginia rock ore - about 35 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added about every 10 minutes
as small charges .5 - 2 kg
Duration : about 7 hours (not including preheat)
Result : 6.5 kg bloom - (not tested)
Yield : 18 %
Notes : - Successful creation of mid sized bloom
- tap slag recycled
Date : February 2005
Experiment : 8
Location : Lexington VA (Smeltfest 05)
Team : Vince Petty / Vandy Simpson
Furnace : Econo Norse
- firebrick backed with sand set on plinth
- tap arch
Size : 25 cm x 60 H
Source : DARC 10/04
Tuyere : 25 mm ID 1/8" formed copper
Placement : 18 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : vacuum blower
Air : 815 L per minute
Charcoal : 85 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Virginia rock ore - 28 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added about every 10 minutes
as small charges .5 - 2 kg
Duration : about 7 hours (not including preheat)
Result : 7.5 kg bloom - (not tested)
Yield : 27 %
Notes : - Successful creation of mid sized bloom
- tap slag recycled

Date : May 2005
Experiment : 9
Location : Wareham, ON
Team : OABA / Neil Peterson / John Burton
Furnace : Econo Norse
- firebrick backed with sand, set on plinth
- tap arch
Size: 25 cm x 60 H
Source : DARC 10/04
Tuyere : 25 mm ID schedule 40 pipe
Placement : 20 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : electric blowers / rotary hand
Air : inconsistent flow
Charcoal : 67 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Stelco taconite - 3 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added about every 12 minutes
as small charges .75 - 3 lbs
Duration : about 7 hours (not including preheat)
Result : 9.5 kg bloom - (estimated)
Yield : 45 % E
Notes : - Successful creation of mid sized bloom
- tap slag recycled

Photo by Neil Peterson
Date : June 2005
Experiment : 10/D5
Location : Wareham, ON
Team : DARC smelt demo team
Furnace : Norse Short Shaft
- clay cob with stone slab support
- tap arch
Size : 25 cm x 60 H
Source : suggested by earlier experiments
Tuyere : 25 mm ID schedule 40 pipe
Placement : 16 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : large double bellows / electric blower
Air : 600 l / min (estimated)
Charcoal : 38 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Stelco taconite - 9 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added in variable sequence (10 - 20 min)
as small charges .75 - 2.25 lbs
Duration : about 7 hours (not including preheat)
Result : 3 kg bloom - (estimated)
Yield : 28 % E
Notes : - Successful creation of historic sized bloom
- extreme hot weather limits use of bellows

Photo by Neil Peterson
Date : September 2005
Experiment : 11/D6
Location : Annapolois Royal NS
Team : DARC smelt demo team + Mark Pilgrim
Furnace : Norse Short Shaft
- commercial clay cob with stone slab support
- tap arch
Size : 25 cm x 60 H
Source : suggested by earlier experiments
Tuyere : 25 mm ID schedule 40 pipe
Placement : 24 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : large double bellows / electric blower
Air : no data
Charcoal : 47 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Stelco taconite
-9 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added in variable sequence (10 - 20 min)
as small charges .75 - 2.25 lbs
shift to forced air at
Duration : about 7 hours (not including preheat)
Result : cast iron mass
2 kg? no data available on size
Notes : use of high purity taconite means no silica
- use of high temperature clay means no silica
- no silica means no carbon control
- exit valves required on bellows ??

Photo by Neil Peterson
Date : September 2005
Experiment : 12
Location : Copperstown NY (Early Iron 2)
Team : Elizabeth Hendrix / Toby Bashaw
Furnace : Flue Tyle
- commercial tile reinforced with wire
- tap arch
Size : 25 cm square x 60 H
Source : developed by Sauder & Williams
Tuyere : 25 mm ID forged copper
Placement : about 24 cm from base
- 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : electric blower
Air : plus 1000 L/min?
Charcoal : 110 lbs primary sequence / no data for balance*
Consumption : about 5 lbs charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Virginia Rock Ore - about 35 lbs *
Sequence : ore added in variable sequence (8 - 12 min)
as small charges .75 - 2.25 lbs
Duration : about 7 1/2 hours * (not including preheat)
Result : Two bloom masses
Secondary at 3.4 KG
Notes : Main smelt sequence abandoned at 6 1/2 hours
Smelt assumed, produced secondary 'salvage bloom'
* no clear records kept for secondary sequence

Photographer Unknown
Date : October 2005
Experiment :13/D7
Location : Wareham, ON
Team : DARC
Furnace: Norse Short Shaft
- clay cob with stone slab support
- tap arch
Note - reuse of furnace from June 05
Size : 25 cm x 60 H
Source : suggested by earlier experiments
Tuyere : 25 mm ID ceramic kiln support
Placement : 16 cm from base
- about 5 cm in from wall
- angle at 20 down
Bellows : vacuum blower
Air : 600 l / min (estimated)
Charcoal : 79.5 kg broken hardwood
Consumption : about 2 kg charcoal every 10 minutes
Ore : Stelco taconite + Virginia Rock Ore
17 kg (roasted)
Sequence : ore added in variable sequence (7 - 10 min)
as small charges .75 - 2.25 lbs
Duration : about 6 1/4 hours (not including preheat)
Result : 4.3 kg bloom
Yield : 22 %
Notes : - Successful creation of historic sized bloom
- Success in patching and re-firing smelt
GO ON
to view the 2006 series
TEAM PARTICIPANTS


(1) Parks Canada / L'Anse aux Meadows
Mark Pilgrim
Assisting
Birgitta Wallace / Arne Espelund
IRON SMELT LINKS
Note: will require an external internet connection
Lee Sauder
Mike McCarthy
DARC - Iron Experiments


(2) Dark Ages Re-creation Company
Core Team:
Kevin Jarbeau / Dave Cox
Neil Peterson
Assisting:
Ken Cook / Marcus Burnham
Karen Peterson / Vandy Simpson
Gus Gissing

(3) Gangue aux Fer
Lee Sauder / Skip Williams
Mike McCarthy
and after 2005 - Dick Sargent
Assisting:
Elisabeth Sauder & Vandy Simpson

Photo by Elisabeth Sauder


Unless indicated, All text and photographs © 2005 Darrell Markewitz - the Wareham Forge