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smelt your own iron in the back yard


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Hello everyone,


Here's a link to my webpage, where you can see some images about smelting iron from local low-grade bog iron ore, just like they did in the iron age 2000 years ago (here in europe). The site is in danish - sorry - but there are plenty of images, and more coming up in this weekend.


Usually I spend 20-30 kilos of ore + 30 kilos of charcoal and get a raw iron bloom of 4-6 kilos.




Unfortunately, I still have some technical issues to deal with. I've posted some in this thread - please take a look at it.






Edited by h4tt3n
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Yes, you're both right. Limestone is added to the ore in modern furnaces.


The trouble is that if the ore contains Sio2 - and as good as all ores do - then iron oxide FeO combines with it to fayalite Fe2SiO4, which is molten away as slag. Iron bound in fayalite is inacessible because it is chemically very stable. By adding limestone - which turns into CaO in the furnace - you bypass this, since CaO combines With SiO2 and forms calcium silicate. This leaves more FeO to be reduced into metallic iron.


I could do this too, but since the ore I use is very clean - +90% iron oxides - I don't need to. Also, we know for sure they didn't do so in the iron age (slag analysis), and since I'm trying to backtrack their process using limestone is out of the question anyway.




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  • 2 months later...

Sunlight would be far too difficult to make it a feasible process with moderate production abilities. However, one could help solve your problems with Oxygen inputs, by using a more modern, mechanical means of pumping and evenly distributing the air around the furnace more evenly.


It can also be designed so that it is still 'human powered', but more portable, and easier to operate than a hand-operated bellows system... Perhaps a bicycle style setup, stationary, that uses its gearing, and rim to drive a belt system that will spin up 2 or 3 autmobile turbo blowers you can find in a scrap yard?


That, attached to a circular air distributor in the furnace itself could blow lots of air inside there with good results.

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