Professor Michael Fuller,, St. Louis Community College
SCA Michael of Safita, Barony of Three Rivers within the Kingdom of Calontir

The Barony of Three Rivers in the Kingdom of Calontir hosted a 3 day metalworking and glassworking workshop over the Labor Day Weekend. This was a wonderful "Experimental Archaeology" event where modern artisans were striving to copy various Medieval techniques in metalwork and glasswork.

Closeup of Master Blacksmith's working on a piece of ore from the raw iron ore smelting experiment.

Master Huginn Hrothgeirsson supervised the construction of a vertical furnace for smelting iron ore with charcoal.

Upright furnace with forced air coming in at the base.

Hardwood charcoal used in the iron smelting experiment.

Furnace loaded and burning.

Breaking open the clay furnace to retrieve the smelted iron.

The fuel was still red hot in the bottom of the furnace.

Pieces of red hot ore are pulled out from the charcoal.

Three blacksmiths use large hammers to strike a large fragment of red hot ore.

The red hot ore does not consolidate. Instead, it fractures. The opinion is that the temperature of the smelting was not high enough and/or the duration of smelting was not long enough.

The most spectacular part of the weekend was the nightime casting of a bronze bell by Guillaume de la Sudeterre.

An example of a bell mold that was very similar to one used in the experiment. This second mold would have been used if the first one was damaged and/or if there was enough bronze for two bells.

Only a small amount of flame comes from the furnace and crucible when air is not being forced into the furnace.

The crucible visible inside the furnace when air is not being forced into the furnace.

Three sets of double bellows are used to force air into the vertical furnace.

Flames rise and sparks fly as the forced air increases the temperature of the furnace.

The moist grass around the furnace did not ignite from the numerous sparks given off by the furnace. Several dozen people kept watch to insure that small fires did not arise from the smelting.

Two fires were burning during the bell casting. The larger fire was to melt the bronze, while the smaller fire warmed the bell mold.

Removing the crucible from the furnace.

Pouring the molten bronze.

Pouring complete.

Crucible still glowing.

Red glow from top of mold.

Mold is broken away to reveal the bronze bell.

Imperfect casting of the bronze bell.
Webpage created 28 1 September 2008 `