Ironmaking at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm

Posted on May 8, 2010  Comments (0)

Joakim Storck discusses pre–industrial Swedish and Japanese techniques for iron and sword making from a museum demonstration at Tekniska museet. Ironmaking at the National museum of science and technology, Stockholm 2005

Bricklaying is a messy story. The mortar consists of clay, sand and horse manure (if available), mixed with water to a fairly loose batter. The best finish is obtained if you work with your hands as the mortar is placed on, and smears with water so that the surface becomes smooth and fine. When then furnace is ready, it is dried through slow heating by wood without blasting, until the moist has been driven out of the mud. At this stage, heating should be quite cautious in order to avoid cracking.

Then, on Friday September 9, we went again with a fully loaded trailer from Dalarna in the direction of Stockholm. More than a few people were probably turning their heads when we passed, because the trailer was dominated by a large bellow — our newly built two chamber bellow with an estimated bladder capacity of up to 800 litres per minute. In addition, we brought fire wood, iron rods, pliers, some stumps and other stuff needed for the furnace operation.

We made one run each on Saturday and Sunday. Each time we charged a total of about 10kg ore added in amounts of about 1kg every 20 minute. For each charge, we added about twice the amount of charcoal. Discharging of the loupe was scheduled for two o’clock, and by that time a fairly large crowd had gathered to see the show. This time we managed to get the loupe out of the furnace without too much trouble. Worse was that the process took longer than expected, but the crowd seemed to be patient and people stayed around until the end.

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