Monday, 17 October 2011

Making steel - final episode!

Last week, Jean Paul built his Japanese forge to strengthen the iron extracts from the first forge by heating it at a very high temperature and adding just enough carbon to turn it into steel.
This is an open forge, and so-called because the Japanese used them to forge their swords.
The fire worked well - the pieces of iron extract were added along with more charcoal. The metal melted and collected at the base of the forge. Jean Paul then extracted them from the fire and compacted them with a hammer. This process didn't go entirely as planned as the pieces of metal, now steel, kept breaking up into smaller pieces. Jean Paul had already realised that something had not gone according to plan in the original forge, probably due to the materials used in the building of it. It just goes to show that this is a very technical and complicated process where all the elements need to be exactly right for the process to work. However, Neil came to the rescue with his forge, and we managed to salvage one piece of solid steel, which can be seen in the photos here
Jean Paul was relieved after 4-5 weeks of work to finally have a piece of steel to present for his diploma, but was disappointed that it didn't go entirely as planned. However the whole process was very interesting ....and he might well have another go!

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