It took me a month to dig the 3 foot deep 3 foot round hole with vertical sides.  The wood was obtained from my windbreaks, and pretty much it was the entire summer's "Hobby" time.  After the wood is carefully stacked in the pit and there must also be a chiminey it takes about two to three days to burn and longer to cool off.  open too soon and poof, your charcoal is instantly on fire and gone in a very fast very hot fire.  The smoke is also very


and so a general event would have people complaining

On 10/2/2013 5:12 PM, john heitman wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">
you know the thing about a hobby is that you have time to do things.  There isn't any rush on any of this. Which is why it is fun.

locate the wood as waste wood.  have a lumber mill across the river who GAVE us massive amounts of edge bark cuts for the William Marshal event. All we had to do was come get it.  We got three trailers full. That would make a quality Friday to Sunday char of quality hardwood.

A second weekend or so would be the construction of the oven. Two day job max.  There is another weekend.

A day trip to Ironton to get the ore. make that a third saturday.

A Great Smelt Weekend after all things have been assembled and gathered in one place.

And a fifth weekend to actually work the resulting iron on the anvil.

And if it takes a year to get everybody and everything together, who cares?  those who are truly desirous will be involved over several years if need be. Those who expect to get it all done in a day aren't fully vested in the total experience. 

Gerald is STILL working on the Great Machine how many years later?   I am in year one of a five year orchard/vinyard/garden project. 

 We joke about sheep to shawl projects, but it takes nine months to grow the wool, another day to wash and comb it. Another two days to dye and dry.  Two to three days MINIMUM to spin, and another week to warp the loom.  Add at least a week to weave and a day to sew. 

If you do all this in your spare time, it adds up to several months at least.  Which is why the result is so impressive. True craftsmen recognize the amount of effort that goes into the total project.

iow, IF we started gathering everything in the next couple weeks, we would be ready to actually work the homemade iron at Metal and Glass next September.  It would be a nice comparison between "periodesque" iron and modern steel.


On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM, Stefan li Rous <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Alban declared:
<<< Make charcoal? I've never seen anyone make it outside of professionals
and long-time re-enactors of the sort who work full-time at Williamsburg.
I suspect it'd take more than one or two days to make the stuff. >>>

You know, some of those SCA guys do the weirdest things. . .

In the CRAFTS section of the Florilegium:
Mkng-Charcoal-art (20K) 1/ 2/10 "Making Charcoal" by Viscount Sir Corin Anderson (KSCA, OP).

Still, this need not be a sheep-to-shawl type thing. I would find a source of good hardwood charcoal and buy that for your iron smelting experiment(s).  Then at another time, do a charcoal making experiment and write it up for the Florilegium, so we have two to compare against. :-)

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          [log in to unmask]
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: ****