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Primitive Technology: Decarburization of iron and forging experiments

  • Published on Mar 27, 2023 veröffentlicht
  • Decarburization of iron and forging experiments
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    About This Video:
    I took a brittle, high carbon/iron alloy (cast iron) made from local ore and used a decarburization method to reduce it's carbon content making it malleable and forged it flat by hammering.
    Rather than producing a single bloom of soft iron in my furnaces, as was done in most of history, I tend to produce cast iron prills from the ore. Cast iron is iron that has a very high carbon content. Its good properties are that it's very hard and has a low melting point. The drawback is that it's relatively brittle compared to regular iron. So I set about trying to find a method for reducing its carbon content.
    In this video I smelted local ore (iron bacteria) and obtained cast iron prills. I then tried melting it in a small crucible to obtain a solid ingot to begin the experiment. This gave a poor result though with an incomplete melt.
    Next I tried rusting the prills first with the intent of creating iron oxide (rust ) in the iron so that the next melt would combine the materials in an exothermic reaction that would burn the carbon out. In the past, rusty iron was added to cast iron to decarburize it (wet puddling/pig boiling). But this also gave poor results.
    Finally, I did away with the mold and simply melted the iron prills by dropping them into the forge in front of the hot air blast of the forge. The reasoning was that the high oxygen would burn out the carbon from the metal. This caused them to melt together to form an ingot. After a few attempts I took one of the ingots and hammered it while still white to yellow hot and hammered it with a stone. The ingot was able to be flattened as it had become malleable. This was the result I wanted.
    This method of decarburization (melting cast iron in a open hearth to make it malleable) was used throughout history at different times. In ancient China it was known as "stir fried steel/ 炒钢" and in the west known as the "Osmond process". I also read that in India, cast iron ingots from the crucible were brought to a temperature just below melting point before becoming forgeable.
    In future experiments I hope to use this technique to decarburize iron ingots to make into forged metal tools as opposed to the cast knife I made in a previous video.
    00:00 Overview of my standard smelting process
    00:50 Crucible ingot (failure)
    02:21 Decarburization via rusting (failure)
    04:22 Decarburization without crucible (inconclusive)
    05:45 Decarburization without crucible/forging (success)
    07:01 Decarburized and forged iron result
    About Primitive Technology:
    Primitive technology is a hobby where you build things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. These are the strict rules: If you want a fire, use a fire stick - An axe, pick up a stone and shape it - A hut, build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without utilizing modern technology. I do not live in the wild, but enjoy building shelter, tools, and more, only utilizing natural materials. To find specific videos, visit my playlist tab for building videos focused on pyrotechnology, shelter, weapons, food & agriculture, tools & machines, and weaving & fiber.
    #PrimitiveTechnology #1 #2
  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 3 821

  • Primitive Technology
    Primitive Technology  Month ago +6459

    I think I figured out how to turn the brittle cast iron I've been producing into malleable iron that can be forged flat. When ever I smelt local ores it always produces cast iron prills rather than softer blooms of low carbon iron as one would expect from the bloomery process. I believe this because the prills are very hard, but when struck hard enough they shatter rather than flatten.
    Cast iron is iron that has a high carbon content (when arranged by carbon content: Cast iron>Steel>iron). Cast iron has a lower melting point and is harder compared to regular iron. But it is more brittle so it's nearly impossible to forge. So I figured out how to decarburize it after some experiments.
    First I tried making an ingot to work on but it didn't cast properly. Then I tried rusting the iron to oxidize the metal before melting so it would decarburize the cast iron during the melt (similar to the "wet puddling" process in metallurgy). But this gave an incomplete melt also.
    The method that finally worked was simply melting the cast iron in front of the air blast till the carbon burnt out in the oxygen rich zone of the forge. This caused the cast iron prills to melt together in a single blob that I then was able to hammer flat while yellow hot.
    This method is similar to the "stir fried steel/ 炒钢" process in ancient China or the "Osmond process" in Europe. It's done where ever cast iron needs to be converted to a lower carbon to be forged. I've seen videos about carburizing iron on youtube but none about decarburizing cast iron.

    • Chad Mann
      Chad Mann 2 days ago +1

      can you show us how to make sharpening stones out of clay and coarse/refined sands? i have ideas and no way to test them in a city....

    • Jakeronimo
      Jakeronimo 6 days ago

      Interesting to see a bloom built up from smaller pieces. Much more manageable for a one man smith.

    • Bilbo_Gamers
      Bilbo_Gamers 10 days ago

      Now all you need to do is get a crucible hot enough to be able to hold iron at welding heat, and you can make wootz. This should make work simpler, and will allow you to make a homogeneous billet of iron without complicated reforging.

    • МЕХАНИК 1973
      МЕХАНИК 1973 11 days ago


    • Fuago_YT
      Fuago_YT 15 days ago

      @Primitive Technology what books do you use to learn this stuff?

  • Kmeleon
    Kmeleon Month ago +7819

    Don't you find it crazy how hard it is to make good quality iron? Just thinking about the people who had to come up with this technology before the advances of chemistry is mind blowing

    • Chad Mann
      Chad Mann 2 days ago

      its actually not that hard to make but yeah it's hard to just find

    • TouchMe
      TouchMe 13 days ago

      ​@LforLight As if people could magically discover ways to do that and didn't spend months and years of thinking just to arrive at a better solution.

    • dpride00
      dpride00 18 days ago

      If it makes you feel better they had pretty decent bronze equipment to work with. They didn't need so many rocks ^^

    • a b
      a b 18 days ago

      Many large forges and lots of coal

    • Hestu Nugroho
      Hestu Nugroho 19 days ago

      They were rich and their descendents are billionaires now

  • Kyle
    Kyle Month ago +387

    When he first proved the theory of getting iron from the bacteria in the river it opened up the possibility that he would be progressing out of the stone age. Seeing MALLEABLE iron is a HUGE step towards that. Absolutely incredible.

    • Sürvro Productions
      Sürvro Productions 6 days ago

      let's go brothers
      we entering iron age

    • master hacker
      master hacker 8 days ago

      shit time to go 3000 years in the future to where we are now, back in the stone age just this time we 'taught' stones how to think

    • Pan handle
      Pan handle 18 days ago

      Early Iron age

    • Saleri Sinclair
      Saleri Sinclair Month ago +6

      he skipped the bronze age altogether

    • DoomRater
      DoomRater Month ago +20

      @ZenoTheMeano Here's the cool part. Knowing the techniques frees one person to do the smelting and prep work in a society, while others prospect and collect and maybe even find deposits of iron in the ground. He's doing this all by himself, but in a real post apocalypse scenario you'd have a small group of people together helping out.

  • RadicalEdward37
    RadicalEdward37 Month ago +791

    I really like that fact that you showed some of your failed attempts, it can be easy for us as viewers to just assume you figure everything out the first time and don't make mistakes but mistakes are all part of the process of learning and improving.

    • Joann Tran
      Joann Tran 3 days ago

      Yes I agree-and it made the success so much more satisfying and exciting to watch!!!!

    • mrkiky
      mrkiky Month ago +19

      It makes it pretty clear that the other channels are fakes though.

    • Blandge
      Blandge Month ago +12

      His failures take just as much time (probably more) than his successes, so if he only showed the successes, it would take twice as long to release videos (or his videos would be the current length).
      Even just from a business perspective, it makes sense to show the failures

  • Alex Lee
    Alex Lee Month ago +159

    as a blacksmith, this makes me feel like i've accomplished nothing. very impressive, as always

    • fractalgem
      fractalgem Day ago

      ​@Gregory Everson coke and charcoal accomplish much the same thing due to essentialy being the same thing, carbon. If hes going to add something else it would be, like...lime.

    • 女人都是大猪肘子
      女人都是大猪肘子 18 days ago


    • Gregory Everson
      Gregory Everson Month ago +4

      I think he needs to add coke.

  • Christian M
    Christian M Month ago +67

    This is honestly the only channel that I trust when it comes to primitive builds, all the other ones are most likely faked or staged. Kudos to this man for making it authentic.

  • Eret
    Eret Month ago +140

    Watching your progress from basically the stone age to the iron age has been so exciting! I can't wait for more!
    Also a reminder to watch with captions on so you can get explanations for what he's doing! :D

    • Planet Luzzo
      Planet Luzzo 9 days ago +1

      Hey thanks for that caption tip. I had no idea.

    • Taylord
      Taylord Month ago +3

      He is only videos away from achieving *singularity.*

    • according to Leo
      according to Leo Month ago +9

      I feel sorry for the people who watch these without the captions

  • NightHawkInLight
    NightHawkInLight Month ago +1371

    This is great. Always excited to see your progress.

    • Jed Freeman
      Jed Freeman Month ago

      @AdderTude Mud tube? Hollow out logs? Fired bricks mortared into a tunnel? So many options! :)

    • AdderTude
      AdderTude Month ago

      @Jed Freeman
      Bamboo isn't in his area. AFAIK, bamboo is in South East Queensland and John is in the opposite side of the province, relatively speaking.

    • Ari
      Ari Month ago

      @Primitive Technology please upload the unreleased video 🙏

    • Heath Thomas
      Heath Thomas Month ago

      @Seth Apex it was a joke mate

    • Georodin
      Georodin Month ago

      @Primitive Technology I love you

  • Lateral Twitler the Literal Twatler

    You always make interesting videos. Much appreciated, my friend.

  • Herbert Romanski
    Herbert Romanski Month ago +131

    Okay so a few things:
    1) I think it could help to cover the sides of the open heart forge a bit. It would force the flames to go into the iron and not out the sides
    2) To make the process less work intensive you can first heat up the iron in a ceramic dish, in a cross-draft furnace. It would get it up the first few hundred degrees and only the rest would have to be done by hand-pumping the air into the forge.
    3) you absolutely need a roughly flat, stable and level working space.
    It can be a large rock, stabilised to the floor with clay
    4) to fuse multiple pieces of iron into a larger chunk, hammer each piece into as flat a shap as you can, heat them up, lay one on another and... Bang!
    5) a good tool for then working with the iron is a wedge-shaped stone. So far you have a stone hammer, so you can bend the flat iron over an edge. Once you do that, you're gonna need a wedge to hold the 90° bent piece in place. For this you need a wedge with an internal angle of about 70° to 50°. This will let you bend it further amd then close the bent piece on itself, thus making the iron plate more uniform.

  • The Bro Show
    The Bro Show Month ago +52

    One way to adjust the carbon content in the iron is to raise the height of the air tube. This keeps the iron bloom at a lower temp and prevents any new carbon from the charcoal from getting added in while allowing for more to eventually collect at the bottom. If anyone has anything further to add to this let me know as I’m going off of memory from iron smithing demonstrations, im sure im wrong somewhere!

  • tcd2cool
    tcd2cool 28 days ago +8

    Sticking with this channel over the years has paid off. Even though the wait is long, it is absolutely worth it every time. Reading the research you put into it is great as well. Thank you for your hard work.

  • MadeFromMeat
    MadeFromMeat Month ago +34

    As I sit here, reflecting on the monotonous routine of life, I find solace in the unchanging nature of your content. Your unwavering dedication to the craft, despite the ever-changing tides of popularity and fads, is a testament to the depth of your character and the truth of your artistic expression. Your consistency is not just a comfort in the midst of the unpredictable world, but also a reminder of the purposeful path one can forge when they stay true to themselves. In a world that often encourages us to adapt to the expectations of others, it is a privilege to witness someone who remains steadfast in their authenticity. Your content is not just entertainment, but a reminder to all of us that we too can carve our own way in this world. Thank you for staying true to yourself, and providing us with the gift of timelessness in a world that values temporality

    • pennymac16
      pennymac16 29 days ago +2

      What eloquent prose. I was entertained :)

  • Thom Tavenier
    Thom Tavenier Month ago +17

    I can't fathom the fact that we will see him go to an iron tool somewhere in the (near) future. Truly remarkable!

    • Renesh2
      Renesh2 Month ago +3

      He already has a small iron knife! It's too low-quality to hold a proper edge, but it's still better than stone knives. You can see him use it when he makes clean cuts in cane and such, it's just a triangle of lumpy iron a little smaller than his palm. Still, I'm excited to see him make something more refined!

  • Tyrannosaur
    Tyrannosaur Month ago +11

    This content is amazing! I know it is very time-consuming to make these videos so I appreciate every single one that you make and look forward to seeing more!

  • D MassKill
    D MassKill Month ago +6

    I remember asking years ago if you ever planned on advancing to forging metals and you told me you did! awesome to finally see it happen, keep up the great videos!

  • Dan Gaspar
    Dan Gaspar Month ago +13

    Still one of the best and most interesting channels on Clip-Share. So glad you are back at it!

  • jameskb23able
    jameskb23able Month ago +6

    I'm eagerly watching you progress through the Iron Age, please keep posting videos, out of all the things I watch on Clip-Share new Primitive Technology videos are top priority!! Love your content and thank you!

  • AK
    AK Month ago +1076

    Wow, he really took all the suggestions from his last video comments and implemented them.
    Learning together with others might arguably be the most important primitive skill.

    • Tungsten_Walls
      Tungsten_Walls Month ago

      @Johnny Walker Texas when the podcasts are made by people who read a fuckload of books, and recommend them as well, it serves the same purpose, it's faster to gain knowledge in video format, even if reading is more calming.

    • Johnny Walker Texas
      Johnny Walker Texas Month ago

      @Tungsten_Walls ahaha. "Podcasts". Doesnt even do his own reading.

    • Tungsten_Walls
      Tungsten_Walls Month ago

      @Johnny Walker Texas I'm the one who enjoys history, you should watch the podcast show Prussian Socialism on Odysee and TRS and Survive the Jive here on youtube, you don't need to show me anything because I already know you're wrong, it's always the people on here that say to "read history books" that have a complete nonsensical idea of how history went, and they take state propaganda as history as well, having no idea about all the other things that aren't in history books. I'm the one who knows more than you about history, YOU need to do more reading.

    • Johnny Walker Texas
      Johnny Walker Texas Month ago

      @Tungsten_Walls just read up on a little history and this conversation would'nt need to happen.
      I dont need or have to spoonfeed you facts.

    • Tungsten_Walls
      Tungsten_Walls Month ago

      @Johnny Walker Texas They last forever because the person who is wrong (you) never admit they're wrong, until you do, they will last forever.

  • Anorthunis
    Anorthunis Month ago +7

    This is actually hugely exciting! Being able to forge iron tools is such a massive leap from pottery and brickwork, what an incredible leap this can turn into!
    I wish you luck on this endeavor man!

  • Milites98
    Milites98 Month ago

    So incredible, love seeing the process! Quality content as always. Thanks for taking us on this journey!

  • warchild oden
    warchild oden Month ago

    Alot of work goes into what you do. Thank you for making these awesome videos for us to enjoy.

  • independent liberty

    I love these videos, it's great to see the progression. Thank you for sharing.

  • Feynstein 100
    Feynstein 100 Month ago +11

    I can't imagine how much effort and patience it would've taken to figure all of this out the first time. Technology really is amazing

    • Rar Kirak
      Rar Kirak 3 days ago

      It’s amazing, so much work to get some “weird” looking rocks. How did people envisioned it could have any utility?

    • Lanka Cajan
      Lanka Cajan Month ago +3

      Considering how much effort and patiance it would require, I'm amazed in the distant past someone had luxury of both (& the materials) to figure it out..

  • aboriani
    aboriani Month ago +902

    Years of pure quality content, 10 millions subscribers, not a single word spoken... A legend

    • aboriani
      aboriani Month ago +1

      @Franky's Place Building a house in a place where it get -70 seems pretty badass (and stupid), still you don't get to decide who I call a legend

    • Franky's Place
      Franky's Place Month ago

      Its really good but its not a legend there is man living in yakutia for 20 years its -70 degrees i call this man a legend hell yeah he builded a house there in his own and no one in the world can make a video in that place so think before u write to anyone saying its a legend.

    • averynicebean
      averynicebean Month ago

      The Mr. Bean of youtube.

    • Warlord Flanker
      Warlord Flanker Month ago

      The true silent protagonist.

    • Evan Wenden
      Evan Wenden Month ago

      Absolute LEGENDS!!

  • Archaic Arms
    Archaic Arms Month ago

    Brilliant. Looking forward to seeing further progress into the iron age!

  • Angry Klarc
    Angry Klarc Month ago +2

    Ah. The number one and the original/authentic Primitive video which I still adore to this day! Keep up the great work!

  • Chelsea Hardy
    Chelsea Hardy Month ago

    Really really cool video, I'm glad to see you're still working on your metallurgical skills 👍

  • Reason
    Reason Month ago +3

    This is such an amazing achievement. Going into the forest with literally nothing and coming out with decarburized iron is astonishing.
    It will be very cool when you have iron tools to see how many doors that will open for you.

  • Jason Rodz
    Jason Rodz Month ago +2

    What an incredible experiment. We've seen you flourish through the stone age now to witness your first steps into the dawn of the age of iron. Fascinating journey. Thank you for taking us along.

  • Michael S
    Michael S Month ago +448

    This man absolutely captivates the internet every time he drops a video.

    • Mr Psycop
      Mr Psycop Month ago +2

      @Christine Gallo Thanks, that's a great tip! One of the reasons I enjoy these videos so much is I like the calmness of the sound and visuals. I also find it interesting how engaging it is to simply watch someone do something you could do if you had the resources locally. This is who we are, and why we've progressed so much over history. Show us progress, progress we can follow, and people can't look away.
      Show us someone designing a microchip and it's so impressive, but I don't think it triggers the same basic response.

    • Christine Gallo
      Christine Gallo Month ago +10

      @Mr Psycop turn on captions he explains what he’s doing there

    • Mr Psycop
      Mr Psycop Month ago +8

      Yeah, I just watched a man pour pebbles from one cup to another, burn them and repeat. I understood nothing and was 100% enraptured.

    • Rory Dakin
      Rory Dakin Month ago +8

      Many imitate, few emulate, there is only one Primitive Technology

  • Weekend Stuff
    Weekend Stuff Month ago

    First I really like your videos. Second it is crazy how much work and energy went into this small little piece of metal.

  • ALEX☆Perebalacticos☆

    Sempre um novo aprendizado para quando chega a hora de sair,muito top seus vídeos como sempre,,,

  • Jesse Brown
    Jesse Brown Month ago

    I've been watching you a long time and I am excited to see the next step into the iron age!

  • Айдар Муфтахутдинов

    I had the same problem with melting scraps of indium in laboratory:^) Use some flux to save metal from oxidation (I used rosin, but it won't applicable in your case, maybe you should try to use CaCO3 as a flux (chalk or shell covers or marble or any other cedimentary rock like limestone).

  • Brack Zaff
    Brack Zaff Month ago +3

    Excellent as always. I feel like you have mostly perfected metallurgy. I'd love to see you work on tanning leather (so you won't have to craft iron tools with your bare hands), or since you're about done with the Iron Age, move into paper making and other ancient history inventions.

    • Oscar Carter
      Oscar Carter Month ago +2

      I wouldn't say he's perfected it yet. He hasn't really tried anything large-scale in terms of toolmaking and forging, all just proof of concept until now.

  • KaikipBT7
    KaikipBT7 Month ago +888

    "This technique is an important step towards forged iron tools"
    I can't describe just how much this one little phrase excites me. You are simply the best. Watching you strike at the ingot had me worried for your safety though. You are a treasure and no one wants to see you hurt.

    • diablostage
      diablostage Month ago +1

      Those give me vibes you need to watch another episode from him, it's always good watch his vids

    • steveo123454
      steveo123454 Month ago

      can not wait to see him make an iron knife

    • 虎落ブエ
      虎落ブエ Month ago +10

      Imagine how much he will accomplish once he unlocks the iron age to the fullest

    • Alex Wohlrab
      Alex Wohlrab Month ago +4

      No need to worry, he definitely struck with safety in mind.

  • Supertomiman
    Supertomiman Month ago

    I started watching this guy back in the Stone Age and he's already at the Iron Age. Congrats! One of my favorite channels of all time, and certainly the most underrated.

  • Michael DeFries
    Michael DeFries Month ago

    i love the research that you do and the experimentation. your book is great too by the way.

  • Nye
    Nye Month ago +3

    Grinned from ear to ear when I saw that first ingot flatten. You should be so proud of what you've achieved here

  • TheWalchuck
    TheWalchuck Month ago +1

    I wonder, would it be beneficial for you to improve the blower so the air flow would be more constant? If you have string I assume its possible for you to make pedal, or wheel mechanism. Also another question: Would more air intakes from different sides, and more constant air flow would rise the temperature enough to have a liquid metal effect?

  • Rexxis Arcturus
    Rexxis Arcturus Month ago +6

    You're still probably my no. 1 favorite YT channel. Please keep going. Love what you're doing. ✌

  • Yohrog
    Yohrog Month ago +704

    This is why these experiments are so valuable as a historical resource. It's hard for us to imagine nowadays why it took tens of thousands of years to figure out how to make iron tools, given that we have mindblowing new developments every decade or so. Your videos really put things into perspective and helps people to understand how incredibly hard and complicated these processes where to even come up with.
    You have modern science at your disposal as a reference. I could not imagine coming up with something like this if I didn't even know that iron was a thing, let alone that forging it is possible.

    • himan12345678
      himan12345678 Month ago

      @choronos yes indeed it was anaximander. Was coming back here to say that.
      As for the library of Alexandria, yes that's likely what happened, tho the burning did happen afaik, just not to the extent of the whole library. I mean I can't imagine their method of procuring books/knowledge was very popular. Something like forcibly demanding tributes of knowledge to conduct trade in the city, or at least the port. I'll check out that video. Tho also, a lot of the library wasn't really all that essential of works, something like a third of the library was commentaries and supplemental works for the Iliad. Similar to how there are a plethora of supplemental works for the bible today or all the buddhist works/scriptures. Tho there's also the high likelihood that etruscan would be decipherable if the library survived.
      I'm not sure how much loss of knowledge upsets me. On the one hand, yes most often leads to unnecessary suffering. But if knowledge is lost and never discovered again, then it was unlikely to be a truth of reality, and so, not exactly essential to be preserved...tho actually maybe there's a case that that kind of knowledge is exactly what should be preserved, since real truths will always eventually be rediscovered if lost...

    • paula benitez
      paula benitez Month ago

      @Bable631 is this to my first or second comment?

    • choronos
      choronos Month ago +1

      @himan12345678 Were you thinking of Anaximander?

    • choronos
      choronos Month ago +1

      @himan12345678 The burning of the library is actually mostly myth and legend. There was no moment when all of the knowledge contained in the library was lost, it was more like a slow decline over a long period of time due to lack of funding, not unlike what's happening to our libraries today. Also, most of the books in the library weren't the only copy in existence. I can't remember all of the details, so I recommend you watch a video by Kaz Rowe called "Why the Myth of the Library of Alexandria is Wrong" which goes pretty in depth.
      To answer your question, it used to really upset me to think about all of the books that were lost. It was a relief to learn that the burning is just a legend.

    • American Plague
      American Plague Month ago +1

      @Brabant Why are you going to put "fun fact" when it's clearly neither fun nor a fact?

  • kmyerslp
    kmyerslp Month ago

    Can't wait to see you with iron tools and have your own "iron age". I can see some things progressing very quickly once you accomplish that.

  • bobvito 1122
    bobvito 1122 Month ago

    This is amazing, i remember thinking of the possibilities when i saw the first video collecting iron prills. Now forging hot iron, amazing

  • Chris Hackett
    Chris Hackett Month ago

    Such an enjoyable channel. Guess we're fully into the Iron Age now. What an amazing journey.

  • Wayne Gray
    Wayne Gray Month ago

    Loving your persistence, man. Great video. I look forward to the next. Oh, your book is great too! Friends always ask about it when they come over, and they end up paging through and forgetting I'm there. Haha.

  • Marvin Herrera
    Marvin Herrera Month ago +1

    Happy to see the trial and error stage while trying to figure out why the ore is not producing the wanted product, really puts in perspective why it took so long for humans to master smelting, truly a gem of Clip-Share this Chanel is..

  • Zero Hate
    Zero Hate Month ago +338

    I love that you're teaching how painstaking it actually is to produce iron. Actually helpful and educational, you're truly great at what you do.

    • choronos
      choronos Month ago +3

      @Morphic That's why I find modern society's fascination with swords so irritating. Swords were expensive status symbols. Useful for self defense, but on a battlefield almost always relegated to sidearm status. Most fantasy novels that feature a medieval theme border on unreadable for me because of how dumb the descriptions of the battles are, and how ridiculous the armor everyone is wearing is (boiled leather abounds). I wish fantasy authors would do more rigorous research. More than that though, I wish they'd _finish their damn series before they die._

    • Morphic
      Morphic Month ago +5

      Yeah even in the mid-late medieval, smelting, working and treating metals for use was an absolute time sink of a job. With blast furnaces and armies of generationally trained smiths a set of armour for a knight could be $500k+ in today's money. In the days of primordial man... Let's just say, if you knew how to smith, your life and knowledge was invaluable.

  • GrumpyOrc
    GrumpyOrc Month ago +1

    Very impressive, I commented on your Iron from bacteria video about about getting workable Iron and wondered how you would do it and how long it would take. I don't think the average viewer will appreciate how big of step it is to produce lower carbon content Iron that can be forged, but it cannot be understated how important and impressive a step this is.

  • Derek
    Derek Month ago +1

    Cool video. I like how you're showing your trial and error process to this.

  • Leon Close
    Leon Close Month ago

    I can't wait for the start of the metal lathe. Brilliant progress.

  • killachef91
    killachef91 Month ago

    Amazing stuff good sir!! Just one suggestion maybe is to try to line to hole youre using with your bricks underneath the crucible to retain heat, then maybe a special brick that has a tube through it so you can hook up the blower!

    • killachef91
      killachef91 Month ago

      Might also allow for you to create more pure iron with the ability to skim impurities.

  • David Nimmo
    David Nimmo Month ago

    I respect the amount of time you put in . Thank you.

  • SteelBerserkChannel
    SteelBerserkChannel Month ago +229

    I still remember when people joked that one day we would see you get to the iron age, and here you are. Amazing video as always, keep up the excellent work! Also if anybody hasn't got his book yet it's highly recommended!

    • SteelBerserkChannel
      SteelBerserkChannel Month ago

      @MrDontask007 "Primitive Technology" by John Plant

    • wobbly sauce
      wobbly sauce Month ago

      And all the things needed to get there… is quite the doubling of things below.

    • Sir Miles
      Sir Miles Month ago

      I saw that. 😂
      We finally got into iron age.

    • MrDontask007
      MrDontask007 Month ago

      What's the name?

  • WrinkleFitzGerald
    WrinkleFitzGerald Month ago

    This man done entered the Iron Age. Love this content. Love your work!!!

  • Nate Brodeur
    Nate Brodeur Month ago

    It's amazing how far you've come!

  • Lunch Bucket
    Lunch Bucket Month ago

    Your channel is literally evolving... Nice job! Waiting to see you reinvent the combustion engine.

  • Perpetual Pleasurist

    Well Done! Success! Now I know what to do with any old, cracked cast iron I come across! Great job!

  • Radioanon
    Radioanon Month ago +1

    If you can, you might want to look into the puddling furnace. It's pretty simple and produces very high quality iron for cheap!

  • The Bladesmith
    The Bladesmith Month ago +523

    A blacksmiths take on it:
    If you remelt that 'bloom' as it could roughly considered, you'll add more carbon to it because you're using charcoal. If you want to get the impurities out without much carbon addition, you should stick to about a strong orange color or cooler.
    If your bloom is yellow, you're entering the caution zone, and it you start seeing white, you're too hot. Keep it highere in the fire for reheating,
    I think the issue you were initially running into was being too close to the tuyere, causing the melt to bounce between oxidation and burning, to carbonizing as you pumped air in and out. Try lowering your RPM so to speak as you get closer to the melting temperature on the next run and see how that goes.

    • Marko Apatović
      Marko Apatović Month ago

      @Gillsing Yeah, but your average person has no idea how much an anvil costs, I would assume not that much. You could figure it's not cheap since a lot of steel goes into it but to the average person - it's just a chunk of steel, why would it be that expensive?

    • Loop Whole
      Loop Whole Month ago

      @The Bladesmith It was probably the neighbor tired of all the noise. :D Hope one day you can laugh about it.

    • Gillsing
      Gillsing Month ago +1

      If a replacement anvil cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney, that sounds expensive. Who would ever steal something expensive? Well...

    • Marko Apatović
      Marko Apatović Month ago +3

      @fogg only thing that makes any sense.

    • fogg
      fogg Month ago +6

      @Marko Apatović they were probably trying to catch a road runner

  • Sparkuus
    Sparkuus Month ago

    Will you ever try purifying other metals that might (or might not) be a bit easier? Like copper, silver or gold. Could be harder to source the ores, I don't know what's available where you are.

  • Vano Scrap
    Vano Scrap 8 days ago

    could you add an approx timeline on some of this research / operations? would be nice to know how many hours it took to melt that iron, for instance

  • KamiSilver
    KamiSilver Month ago

    The thing I admire most of this man is his determination.

  • Argenteus
    Argenteus Month ago

    Two thoughts that occur to me (that might be outside the scope of the channel) - but have you considered modifying the creek to make it easier to cultivate and collect the iron bacteria?
    Secondly, a water wheel to drive the air blowing? Simple gears might be interesting enough.

  • diablostage
    diablostage Month ago

    Really good to watch bcos of the progression he did, after trial and error he finally make it
    This kinda content so interesting to follow, and thanks to him the knowledge its factual bcos of his research on the field

  • Earthenfist
    Earthenfist Month ago +660

    There's a couple interesting things about smelting that you might want to look at for future working. One thing is that you're not aiming to melt the iron, but rather to melt the NOT-iron, and for that limestone flux would be VERY useful. (maybe use the shells?) The other is that you want to start with VERY dry ore, so baking the ore powder even more might be worth while. It also seems that, from what I can tell, you actually want less charcoal than ore- I think a lot of why you're getting cast iron is because you're basically smelting in a high carbon environment inside the charcoal. Maybe making a tiny thin smeltery chimney could help, or just spending the time to collect significantly more ore.

    • nosajimiki
      nosajimiki Month ago

      @sentinel76 Low temperature smelting produces low-carbon iron even when you have direct contact with your charcoal. This is because the metal does not liquify enough to fully mix with the carbon which is why bloomery kilns normally produce low-to-medium carbon iron even without a crucible and reduction. Hotter smelting fully liquifies the iron to separate impurities, but this also allows it to absorb a more available carbon which is why you may need to reduce it. If he was getting his ore hot enough to fully melt the iron and get a high-carbon alloy, then he would not be getting little iron balls inside of a silicate clump, the silicates would melt and separate from the iron leaving him with a solid clump of iron (a bloom).

    • sentinel76
      sentinel76 Month ago +3

      It's very difficult to get low-carbon iron when using a solid carbon bed as a source for the reducing gases - the metal simply picks up carbon from being in contact with it. The direct-iron reduction process avoids this by filling the shaft with ore only and uses a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen for reduction. Carburization of DRI (for managing the carbon balance in electric melting furnaces) is done by cooling the iron with straight methane.
      However, I agree that limestone/lime is crucial in the melting process because the metal could pick up other embrittling elements: phosphorous from the ore and sulphur from the carbon source, although I imagine charcoal from a biological source has a lot less sulphur in it than mineral coal. Quicklime will pick up both phosphorous and sulphur and could also help to separate of the silica in the ore.

    • jiggins420
      jiggins420 Month ago +1

      @nosajimiki agreed. but smaller scale would be just add a lid to your furnace. small hole on top for air to move and have the air spout tilted off to the sidea few degrees

    • nosajimiki
      nosajimiki Month ago +7

      FYI, baking ore is not about drying it out, it is about burning out the Phosphorous and Sulfur. His most likely problem is not that he's produced a high carbon alloy, but rather a medium-to-low carbon alloy with Phosphorous and Sulfur contamination. Phosphorous and Sulphur contamination have a similar effect to carbon in that it makes iron more brittle, but they don't have nearly as good of a hardening quality, so, they just ruin your smelt. If he continues to refine what he has like this, his iron will continue to lose carbon and get soft enough to forge, but remain contaminated and overall poor quality. He really needs to go back to the drawing-board and scorch his ore in an open wood fire before he smelts it. He also needs to built up his bloomery forge to be a bit bigger. He's not getting a bloom because he's not getting the ore hot enough to melt away the silicates, if your kiln is too small, then you are not trapping enough heat to reach proper smelting temperature.

    • Thomas Dick
      Thomas Dick Month ago +1

      @EVA - 23 unless you know something I don't, gears are quite simple, and why oil? We aren't trying to optimize a modern engine, just transfer some basic power lol

  • Gnarlf
    Gnarlf Month ago

    Great to see all these misses and how you impreoved the process along the way.

  • josh leavers
    josh leavers Month ago

    Love this stuff dude, watching you over the years is like watching the human race evolve


    Loved this. You should be given some sort of heritage-grant to fund your progress!

  • Mukul Sharma
    Mukul Sharma Month ago

    I have been absolutely fascinated by these processes.

  • Á:/
    Á:/ Month ago

    Watching the test for malleability of the ingot by hammering with a rock really made me wonder what'd be made from the earliest forged iron ingots. I know a small blade has a hundred uses, but for the advantages of one small blade don't seem self evident to me. Would forged iron nails perform substantially better than cast iron for construction? Or is there something of much greater value I'm overlooking?

  • will sal
    will sal Month ago +149

    I appreciated seeing your earlier attempts. The difficulty you encountered replicating this technology highlights what an achievement it was to develop it in the first place.

  • John Hawk
    John Hawk Month ago

    This was so exciting! I started celebrating with vocal shouts when the iron started to flatten. How satisfying! Well done!

  • Progrez
    Progrez 23 days ago

    Very nice, every time I watch your videos I learn something new!

  • Pete
    Pete 26 days ago

    If you're able to do this successfully on a larger scale, you can start to forge iron tools like a hammer and tongs. This will allow you to work faster to make things like nails which I'm excited to see you use.

  • CTNC
    CTNC Month ago

    I know I'm for from the first guy to say you're a real life Dr. Stone but I have to say it again with advance in metal forging this massive. This is exhilarating.

  • Franco Wharton
    Franco Wharton Month ago

    For both the smelting and the later melting, I wonder why you use the blower and a low forge instead of a tall kiln which pulls it's own draft?

  • admthrawnuru
    admthrawnuru Month ago +240

    This is why the Iron age took so long to come about! So cool to see the real and sometimes less predictable difficulties with primative metallurgy. I'm excited to see how far you can get this process. Not gonna lie, I'm hoping to see fully forged iron tools someday on this channel!

    • Gottfried Heumesser
      Gottfried Heumesser Month ago +3

      Iron forging needs more heat than copper and therefore iron metallurgy came much later. But the problem with making this heat prevented our ancestors from producing cast iron which is not suited for weapons and tools.

    • Julia JS
      Julia JS Month ago +34

      And he already knows what he needs to aim for - our pre-Iron Age ancestors had to figure everything out from zero!

  • Coffee Commander
    Coffee Commander Month ago

    Pretty exited for the first iron tool you make!

  • mikecrawfone
    mikecrawfone Month ago

    Love seeing new content uploaded!

  • Viral Boss
    Viral Boss Month ago +2

    You know what's crazy, this guy has a Bachelor Of Science, but instead decided to do what he's doing now. Which is awesome!

  • Joshua O'Brien
    Joshua O'Brien Month ago

    Well for crucible steel they would mix in sand and glass to bind to inclusions, perhaps that could help prevent it from being so brittle(though you would still need to try and remove the carbon from it). The high carbon content could be from the iron bacteria itself though I don't know where you would get iron ore in your region though that might be a better solution to the problem of to much carbon in it. Still awesome video and love to see how far you can go on the technology. I would also recommend looking up roman concrete since now we have finally figured out how it was made and why it was so much better then our current concrete(they didn't slake the lime first, they mixed it with their aggrigates then added water which creates lime crystals that when exposed to water react and remortar the material back together making it effectively self healing. Might be useful if you plan on making more premanent structures.).

  • P Beejay
    P Beejay Month ago +1

    It’s crazy to me that 8000 years ago someone spent every day of their entire life perfecting this.

  • schizogabber
    schizogabber Month ago +174

    The effort and passion you put in those experiments is just amazing!

  • Trithis
    Trithis Month ago

    On my first watch through, I was confused why you would want to decarburize it, since with carbon it's harder and therefore can be made into more durable tools, but after watching with the subtitles it makes much more sense!

  • Ryan Johnson
    Ryan Johnson Month ago

    Perhaps a true stone hammer could help with the forging process, that is until you make one of iron of course ;)
    Exciting to see your progress and I hope to live to see your eventual full plate armor

  • Michael Bondick
    Michael Bondick 27 days ago

    Very interesting and impressive how you get iron.👍

  • Photo Sushi IV
    Photo Sushi IV 12 days ago

    Would it make sense to add a handle to your blower for continually air? Maybe some sort of crank that offers more mechanical advantage? Also maybe more in the way of a rocket stove/forge hybrid where you can really channel that heat into a tube that holds your future ingot and surrounds/traps more heat. Then immediately hammering and forging your first metal hammer.
    It definitely looks like great progress i love your vids!!!

    SEND FOR A CAR Month ago

    YES! I've been waiting forever to see you make metal. What will be the first tool you will make? I think I would make a hammer.

  • Anthony LaMonica
    Anthony LaMonica Month ago +228

    If you want to try to get a more consistent smelt, consider firing your crucibles _before_ adding the prills. _Also_ consider pre-heating the crucibles to a glowing hot temperature before adding the prills in and putting them into the furnace. It'll keep water out of the equation, and it'll make sure the temperature in the crucible is high, and _stays_ that way due to the insulating properties of ceramic. As for impurities? You have a source of lime, so try adding that as flux.
    Another option--if somewhat in the vein of brute force--is to make a bloomery furnace. It'll _suck_ to get the amount of iron bacteria and charcoal you'll need to get a full smelt, but theoretically you should still be able to get a proper bloom out of even the _worst_ sources of iron as long as there's enough of it.

    • Rick Bates
      Rick Bates Month ago

      Yes!!! Many of the techniques from the copper and bronze age applied to working with iron ... just hotter. Crucibles with blowpipe from the top. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucible . Loving this content ... going to fascinating to watch it evolve over the coming years.

    • Anthony LaMonica
      Anthony LaMonica Month ago

      @SithLordZach Lime flux can also be used in the smelting process in a process called calcination. It helps bind impurities into the slag more easily, leaving less behind in the metal you want.

    • Anatine Duo
      Anatine Duo Month ago

      @SithLordZach I think you are right, but once the pieces are fused in the crucible under the flux maybe the resulting ingot can be heated in the air blast to reduce carbon.

    • SithLordZach
      SithLordZach Month ago +2

      @Anthony LaMonica Flux is basically just an insulator from oxygen, no? It allows two pieces to marry cleanly without rust or other impurities.

    • Anthony LaMonica
      Anthony LaMonica Month ago +1

      @Görkem Vids I think lime can help fix that particular issue, though _how_ one would do it is beyond my area of expertise.

  • Michael Holstrom
    Michael Holstrom Month ago

    Have you ever considered making furniture like a stool by the fire or a work bench to make the tedium a little easier? Just saying it could be an interesting quick video to see

  • Gingy
    Gingy Month ago

    Why is there no more new videos, I love watching you x

  • iLLaGe ViDioT
    iLLaGe ViDioT Month ago

    Do you think it would be possible to scale up your blower assembly and also contain the flame and achieve much hotter temperatures? I think a lot of your issue here is from covering the entirety of your smelting process with charcoal. You're effectively just introducing contaminates that way. Being able to contain the heat would be a huge help in using less charcoal to apply an equivalent amount of heat, while also keeping the crucible and iron away from particulate. I'm picturing a setup with a chute with a lid to keep the heat in on the front and back of the forge and a central spot in the middle where you place the crucible and iron that is on a platform above the fuel. You could use fired clay to build it, I'd imagine. All it needs is a spot on the underside to light the charcoal, the chutes to resupply and another for the blower. It's no surprise that the rusted iron didn't cast into a bead, but its equally unsurprising that the charcoal covered prills didn't either.

  • Michael Quigley
    Michael Quigley 25 days ago

    I wonder if some flux material would help melt the pieces together better like how tin and lead melt at a lower temp together than either on its own. I think I've heard people talk about borax, but that would probably get hard to source.

  • crazycarl864
    crazycarl864 17 days ago

    I have to wonder if there is some material that you have access to that could act as a flux. It's nearly impossible to get a solid ingot without some type of flux to help the steel flow into a cohesive blob and float out the impurities.

  • Garpfruit
    Garpfruit Month ago +166

    I blacksmith as a hobby, and I love what you are doing. It’s so cool to see how to do these things without the tools that we rely on today.

    • himan12345678
      himan12345678 Month ago +1

      @Ibis The Artist Darkner if you want more accessible ways of getting started. For anvils, you could make a viking anvil, turn a section of railroad rail into one, or hunt around for an old (small) one. For forges, you can make one as suggested from cans, or small metal pails. Likely with a propane or butane torch for heating. If you're more electrically inclined, I've heard of ppl salvaging microwaves and/or car ignition coils & starters, and winding their own coils for induction forges. I've heard if you add 30% (not sure if by volume or by weight) of gypsum (drywall) to concrete/cement then that is how you make your own refractory cement. You can salvage metal from various scrap sources, and it would be ideal to familiarize yourself with the various grades of steel and what they're likely to be from those various mystery sources. Tho buying actual steel stock isn't that expensive as it is, so unless you want to repurpose scrap, probably better to stick to bar stock, etc. Alec Steele seems to have good series for getting into blacksmithing.
      I'd take everything I've said with a grain of salt tho. I have no experience or close knowledge of any of this stuff. Just things I've heard here and there. Tho they've stuck because I think about getting into it from time to time, never have yet.

    • SithSamLive
      SithSamLive Month ago

      Same here, it's amazing how different it was for those first learning about Iron and how to use it while we just pick a peice from the scrap pile and start hammering

    • Voron Agrrav
      Voron Agrrav Month ago +2

      @Garpfruit for small things you could even turn an old soup can into a forge

    • Davinius B
      Davinius B Month ago

      Please go ahead and make a Video about your hobby!

    • Garpfruit
      Garpfruit Month ago +6

      @Ibis The Artist Darkner it can be. If you start off by buying a proper forge and anvil then it can be quite pricy, but you can also DIY yourself a forge and anvil at a fraction of the cost.

  • Rosie
    Rosie Month ago

    This is fascinating. Also, I’m really glad you didn’t injure your feet and hands because I was…..concerned

  • tripledeluxeguy
    tripledeluxeguy Month ago +1

    New update for terrafirmacraft looks pretty tough ngl.
    In all seriousness pretty impressive, I’ve never thought about any process over decarbonizing iron, nor have I heard or seen much of it either, especially on Clip-Share.

  • Shkibbi
    Shkibbi Month ago

    Multi-layered entertainment of quality! Why isn't History channel showing your videos? They're esthetically pleasing with nature in calm colors as background, local fauna for sound, AND it made me, a viewer, start to actually see it as the past and how it started.
    To spark a thought about those rare dedicated individuals who get their curiosity from the sun and stars, who keep looking, and asking, and testing, and finding! What joy :))