I smelted iron from iron bacteria and then cast the iron in a mold to form a rudimentary knife, making this the first iron tool I’ve produced yet. The ore was a species of bacteria that lives by oxidizing iron dissolved in ground water. I collected the diluted ore and poured it into a large, porous ceramic pot I made. The water leaked out, leaving behind the concentrated iron bacteria “mud” like substance.
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Charcoal was then made simply by burning a pile of wood in a small pit and then extinguishing it with just enough water once it had visibly carbonized. The furnace was preheated for an hour with wood and filled with charcoal at the end, using the blower periodically but not full blast.
A lump of slag was taken from the furnace and broken up. Iron prills up to about 1 cm in diameter were retrieved. For the sake of experiment I weighed the iron produced on modern scales= 40g iron from an estimated 1.2 kg of ore.
Next I cast the iron in a mold. The melting point of pure metalic iron is 1538 C. However, the iron prills I produced are cast iron, an alloy of iron and carbon where carbon is about 2-4% by weight. Charcoal was then put on top of the mold about 12.5 cm deep and the air blast started. The fire became white hot, exceeding the 1150 C needed to melt the iron. The iron melted filling the mold and the iron triangle was taken from it. via.read more: Primitive Technology