Iron Age bronze working

We had such fun at the final public event for the Clachtoll Broch project.

furnaceboyd

Uist Corrigan (who is now at Edinburgh College of Art) joined me and some local folk and volunteer archaeologists. (That’s Uist keeping an eye on the furnace)

recording

We had the bellows from SSW and built the furnace using local clay, sand and horse dung.

bellowsglencanisp

glencanispfurnaceaWe had some local charcoal courtesy of Chris (although most of it came from the Chinese wholesalers in Dundee). Heather Fulton took loads of photos, some of which I’m using here.

We started before dusk and did the final copper smelt of the project.

Katbellowsglencanisp

Just about everyone helped with the bellows, it’s not so easy, but it’s sociable, thanks all who joined in.

We cast the two community bronzes which were lost wax cast.

meltoutglencanisp

This is burning out the wax.

lostwaxpour

Pouring the bronze and, below checking out the crucible for the next pour.

lostwaxstu

One of the bronzes was a bear foot print, designed by Bill.

bearBZBill

I had spent the previous week preparing the waxes, adding runners and risers and then  dipping them in a clay slurry mix to build up layers of mould which was then finished by enclosing in a cob clay with a pouring funnel.

waxdipclachtoll

We kept the furnace going (and the bellow workers) to pour the last bronzes – One closed oil sand 2-part mould, an open sand box with local sand and clay mix; and a closed 2-part mould (although we ran out of bronze in the end)

furnacesandmould

Most people went up to hear Gordon’s talk, but I’d promised Mandy Haggith that we’d try a copper alloy. So we switched to the hand blower to melt the copper, including from the local smelting, and added some tin grain to get a very local bronze alloy.

The open sand mould was Roz’s bird over waves design; and the closed one Stuart’s panda:-

The next morning I said goodbye to the Art Studio for 2018 and headed back to my studio to finish the final bronzes.

studio

My thanks to everyone for making the Clachtoll broch art project such good fun.

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Stone to Bowl

Some of the copper that I smelted at the Sculpture workshop was not very pure. By hammering it I was able to get rid of much of the impurities ready to alloy with silver and melt for casting. I think that this was the first time that I used this blacksmiths hammer and my rather rusty anvil/

Copper smelt 3

coppersmelt2

The second ‘hole in the ground’ smelt produced copper in pellets, it was probably just a smidge too cool, but pellets will be super handy for casting.

We did a third smelt, but I don’t have photos as yet. It produced more consolidated copper at about the same ratio of ore to metal.

Malachite – copper ore

malachite

This malachite arrived from Denmark this week. Thanks to Anders of the Experimental Historical Bronze Casting Group – see the internet does still have some good things. My intention is to try and smelt copper from it and I’m heading to the Scottish Sculpture Workshop to discuss options. It also occurs near to St Andrews, but I’ve yet to get any from this source. Malachite has been used to give copper for thousands of years.