The Project centres on the use of Bloomery Iron.
Right now I am in the 'shop re-organization and equipment set up' phase. This of itself may not be that interesting (although I will cover these aspects in later postings).
Bloomery iron is made by the direct reduction process, which is quite different than how our modern metals are made. This results in a metal which is also distinctively different than our modern alloys.
How modern mild steel is made:
How 'antique' wrought iron was made:
Actually a two step process, A 'finery' used for removal of excess carbon
How 'ancient' bloomery iron was made:
Product is spongy metal with slag inclusions.
(Image by P. Halasz)
There is a direct Canadian historical connection. The very first iron produced in Canada was made at L'Anse aux Meadows (Vinland) by the Greenland Norse about 1000 AD (late Viking Age). For more information on the early research into this specific process, see 'An Iron Smelt at Vinland'
The image above shows me working with staff from Parks Canada (Mark Pilgrim, left) and my own Dark Ages Re-creation Company (Dave Cox, centre rear) at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC in 2010. A full re-creation of that original iron smelt was mounted, using all Viking Age tools and methods.
The other images above sourced over the open internet