I’ve just spent the weekend at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden making and firing an Aristotle furnace.
The furnace is a very ancient way (Aristotle writes about it) to produce iron blooms.
On the first day we made the furnace from an equal mix of horse poo, sand and clay and dried it with a gentle wood fire.
On the second day I ran three firings – one with mild steel, one with farm scrap and one with a mild steel and scrap mix.
The final firing broke the furnace, so I need to source some horse poo.
It was amazing to be able to smelt steel with handmade equipment, charcoal and air (from a leaf blower).
The workshop was a follow on from Turf to Tools a project recreating ancient tool-making techniques.