And there's a lot of conversation. For this crowd, this is the first event of the season; it's still cold, it's expected to rain, but we already have most of the core of the archaeometallurgy knifemaker set -- Jesus Hernandez, master tatara smelter, the New Jersey Steel Baron Aldo, all around nice-guy and toolmaker Sam Salvati, wootz master Jeff Pringle, and Dan O'Conner, who drove up from Texas with a van load of mesquite, osage orange, and bog ore.
He doesn't personaly smelt, but knew that many of us did, so he picked up a few 5-gallon buckets of the iron ore limonite, a kind of old bog iron, from a supplier nearby down in Texas, and when I expressed interest, gave me a bucketfull of the 2" mesh washed ore. I am extremely grateful he has done so, and plan on buying some of his lovely mesquite and osage orange as well.
Which means, since I haven't had a smelt, let alone a workshop event in a while, I hope to soon announce a few dates for turning this into something useful. The first date will be a bonfire, where the ore gets "roasted." This is supposed to drive off the water of hydration, sulfides, and other unwanted compounds, in addition to reducing ore size and riddling the ore pieces with cracks, which will assist with reduction during the smelt. Then, the smelt, and since I have 100lbs or so of magnetite left as well, I might as well set up a decent sized smelter and have a go at making a large bloom.
Dates and details when the event is over and I'm recovered, but please feel free to ask questions if you have any.