Puddling Iron

Looking for someone with knowledge about puddling iron to make iron keel bolts for yacht repair or to make iron dumps (short shafts) that we can machine into bolts . Ian Kentish in Bendigo Oz.

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Ian, "puddling" iron was a process once used to refine pig iron into malleable wrought iron. Basically you burned out the excess carbon, creating a spongy mass of nearly carbon free iron and slag. This "spongeball" was then forged or squeezed to consolidate a rough bar and drive out excess slag. It required a rather sophisticated furnace and a great deal of know how. It would not be a weekend project! It would be a lot easier to use a direct method of reducing an iron ore to wrought iron. However this would not be a simple project either. Lots of raw materials to procure, and proper furnace to build. Expect a LOT of time, sweat, and useless slag until you learn the ropes. Unless you have a burning desire to learn these processes it would make more sense to hunt for old wrought iron around scrap yards and farm sales. Better yet, just use stainless steel eh? Just where is Bendigo Oz ? Glen Gardner Pittsburgh, PA

ian .at.bendigo wrote:

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>Better yet, just use stainless steel eh?

Wrought iron will hold up much better below the waterline. Stainless is OK, but very hard to tell if corroded or near the end of it's useful life. It gets very porous when old and will can shear easily, even if it's still bright and shiny - the holes are too small to see. I have seen iron (not steel) drifts pulled out of boats over 100 years old. They pull out nice and shiny and look like they were put in last week.

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A short stack can EASILY be a weekend project. we've DONE it. The hardest part was locating raw materials. Now that we know where to get those we could smelt in a day.

Check out http://www.oakandacorn.com/celticclans/projects.html (bottom of the page)

Also, here's some photos of the metalworking symposium in Cooperstown, NY. They do one every year, and the goal is to make smelting basic and easy enough (through the sharing of info) that anyone who has the were-with-all to build a forge can successfully smelt.

http://www.cdblacksmiths.org/symposium2004.html

Gobae - The Smith http://blacksmithforum.oakandacorn.com

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What,..you didnt mine your own ore too,Gobae?Lol! Thats pretty impressive.Ive got to try that smelting some day.

People do not know,because people do not do.

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Hehe, well actually...... The magnetite source we used is from a series of abandoned ore mines near Port Henry, NY. So one afternoon we took the 2 hour drive north and armed with helmets, lights, rope, buckets, and copies of maps from 1912 we located the old mines and dug our own ore.

Fortunately, we lucked out on a couple of counts. First, we located plenty of ore 'waste' near the mine entrance we didn't actually have to enter the mine. Second, we were only 100 yards away from our truck. Ore gets heavy real quick. One 5gal bucket full is roughly 100#-125#.

Gobae - The Smith http://blacksmithforum.oakandacorn.com http://www.oakandacorn.com/pancelticforum

On Tue, 11 Oct 2005 11:14:52 -0500, Hamma snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Hamma Head) wrote:

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Thats pretty cool.You know,..i remember reading somwhere hat a once major source for true "bog iron",even way back to colonial times, was the swamps in the new jeresy.Thats kinda in your neck of the woods.I would suppose that if they havent drained off all the swamps there,..then bog iron would still be being made?

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I've built and fired a bloomery with success on the first run; it required a lot of research, sweat, interpolation, and luck.

I posted this a year or so ago. However, the photos are no longer online. I'm a volunteer at Red Top Mountain State Park in Georgia, a past iron producing region.

We have run the bloomery several times since, with mixed results. Mainly because I insist upon experimentation. Tuyere height, air flow, "limestone, or not" , charcoal size, ETC. One of these days I'll post a "Thesis" on How to Smelt Iron, From Ore. For now, the only pic online is here:

WWW.friendsofredtop.org

Click on Photo gallery, then "Scenes at Red Top".

And yes, a puddling reverb would be a hoot to try to replicate I welcome questions or comments

~Dave

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