The other part of my first attempt that I wasn’t happy with was the lack of good walls for my bloomery. I’m not naturally someone who likes one-time use items and there was no hope of reusing the half melted stove pipe. So, I went looking for good firebrick …
There was a place across the old iron bridge in Conestogo that smelted iron until a year or two ago. I stopped by hoping that maybe there would be something useful still there. The son of the original owner was very helpful and he took me out back where a pile of old, unused firebricks had be dumped many years ago. With my trailer full, I headed back to my studio.
Aaron was still around to help put everything together and it wasn’t too long until we had a new, very much improved, bloomery constructed. The big difference in firing was the length of time it took to get this industrial firebrick up to heat. But, once it was there, it stayed there!
As last time, layers of charcoal and magnetite iron sand were added in equal intervals over roughly an hour and a half. When it was all done, the charcoal was allowed to burn out and then the moment of truth: Was there an iron bloom?
The first few minutes I poked around I couldn’t be sure. At first I thought there was something there, but then I began to doubt. Finally I was able to lift a good size bloom out of the mouth of the bloomery and I was sure that I had created iron ore!