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>yes, I too would like to do a smelt, of both normal bloom hardwood chunk
>fire (pre1400 technique) and coke fire pig ingot (post 1400).  Make wrought
>iron from the bloom, and refine the pig iron down to finer quality steel
>from the pig.  If I track down the ore, do you want to set up a weekend at
>your place?  We will need a bigger smelter for the pig, and massive amounts
>of charcoal.  I think Master Huggin used about 300 lbs of store bought bags
>to get a maybe six inch bloom. It may actually take two weekends. One to
>build smelters and make charcoal, the other to actually smelt.
>
>(of course, we will need to have a mechanically run air supply. Too many
>humans needed to work a smelter for 20-30 hours straight. Maybe somebody
>should work on a working period design! :P )

Errr, which "you" are you referring to?

The smelter used in the smelts out here were basically pseudo-chimneys of
dirt from the backyard mixed with straw. The heat source was, ummm, I
think maybe two 40-pound sacks of hardwood charcoal - NOT Kingsford or
any other cooking pseudo-charcoal, but the good, original stuff. We got
it from a place south of Jefferson City, but nowadays even my local
small-town supermarket carries it

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.

Air supply: a blower made around 1910 was used. I can't remember if it
had to be hand-worked, or used electricity. I am not sure enough people
could be found who'd be willing to, oh, work the night shift, 30 minutes
at a time, madly pumping the bellows - that's a lot of people with good
stamina.

Alban