Crucible / woodz steel : make it using a propane furnace ?

Discussion in 'Furnaces and their construction' started by metallab, Sep 17, 2023 at 12:23 PM.

  1. metallab

    metallab Silver

    I found some Youtube videos on this how to make it.These show usually a guy putting bearing balls in a standard clay / graphite crucible. Then they put some graphite powder on it, some flux and some glass shards as extra flux. What amazed me that they don't pour it out, but let it freeze in the crucible and sometimes even seal the crucible before melting. After opening the cooled crucible they succeed to release the frozen steel bum without damaging the crucible.
    Why don't they just pour it into a blank for e.g. a knife ? Forging a bum shaped piece of steel is much more work than a knife blank.
    I want to try it myself.
  2. I think the process of making Damascus steel with it's layers or ferric carbide and lower carbon steel requires lots of forging anyway. If you made a low silicon cast iron, you'd end up with white iron instead of grey iron which is pretty much what wootz is. Bearing steel is 52100 alloy so it's high carbon and high chrome, they could have just used the inner or outer ring of a parallel roller bearing, slit and forged flat and ended up with a better more consistent result.
  3. I watched this video:

    where the person was able to melt steel into iron and I compare it to the time taken and the radiant heat visible at the 6:26 mark in this 1949 crucible steel foundry

    and I have my doubts as to whether he actually got things hot enough to melt, especially as the whole charge was sitting on a steel rebar grate that didn't melt. You watch people running a cupola or reducing iron mineral sand ore to a lump of Tamahagne steel and they run for a hours and require added carbon/coke to get a result where the guy with the ball bearings makes it look trivially easy by comparison while burning something that looks like brown coal or peat pellets.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2023 at 5:45 PM
  4. metallab

    metallab Silver

    Amazing those 1949 videos. At the end I saw a guy operating a real optical pyrometer, probably a Hartmann & Braun one. But the guys did not use any PPE, handling liquid steel or forging without gloves and even with bare face ... How many accidents did take place ?

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