the Farmers Museum, Copperstown NY

October 8 - 11, 2005

The second Early Iron Symposium was hosted again by Mike McCarthy at the Farmers Museum. This year the intent was to directly involve the participants in building and firing there own smelter.

Earlier in the year, Lee Sauder & Skip Williams had developed an easy to construct test bed smelter. The heart of this furnace was a standard red clay chimney liner tyle. Dubbed the 'Flue Tyle' furnace (in reference to R.F. Tylecote) all the parts required to construct this smelter were easily available at a local building supply. At a week long retreat earlier in the year (Smeltfest 05), the 'Gangue aux Fer '(Sauder, Williams, McCarthy & Markewitz) made a number of test smelts with this furnace to establish a standard and predictable method. Also tested was the 'Econo Norse' smelter developed by Darrell Markewitz and DARC, another easy to assemble design based on use of standard fire bricks.

For the detailed instructions on building the Flue Tyle furnace - go HERE

There were roughly 25 participants at Early Iron 2. These were broken down into roughly four person teams, a total of FIVE smelters were constructed and fired all at once!

On Friday evening, as people showed up after their various travel times, Lee and Skip ran a demonstration smelt using the test smelter.
On Saturday the work started in earnest, with each team further subdividing to prepare ore, charcoal, cut the tiles, mix & apply the clay, and apply the finished smelter to its plinth base.
On Sunday work started early with the first wood pre-heat. This followed with the addition of charcoal and the long sequence of adding ore and charcoal that makes up the smelt itself.

Images feature participants of Early Iron 2
Crushing the pre roasted Virginia Rock ore, 70 lbs for each team Sizing the charcoal, 200 lbs for each team. Mixing local clay with shredded cellulose insulation. Attaching a layer of clay mixture to the prepared tile.
Placing the smelter on the base, and filling the lower area with charcoal fines. Inserting the forged copper tuyere and checking the angle. The next day the smelts begin! Adding the first seed charges of ore with long handled scoop.


Although there are no images here to show it, EVERY ONE of the teams created a good sized bloom!

... "Naw, its running fine" Tapping off some slag,

Most of the participants had to get on the road before noon on Monday. Work before lunch consisted mainly of cleaning up the work site from the chaos (and excitement) of the day before.
Not ones to let an opportunity to smelt go by, Lee and Skip repaired their furnace from Saturday and ran one last smelt

Text and Images © 2005 - 2007 Darrell Markewitz - the Wareham Forge
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