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How to Build a Wood-Fired Smelter

Jason Thompson

Smelting refers both to the science of refining metal out of ore and to the art of casting metal into different shapes. In the first case the ore is melted and the metal separated out from the nonmetal elements. In the second case the metal is melted and poured into molds. Although modern smelting furnaces are often large and complex pieces of machinery, primitive smelting furnaces were very simple designs fueled by wood.

Step 1

Dig a pit in the ground. Make the pit approximately 40cm deep and 30cm wide at the top. Give the pit a cone shape so it comes almost to a point at the bottom.

Step 2

Dig a trench starting 67cm away from the pit on any side. Finish the trench in the side of the pit, 27cm below the surface. Use the trowel to dig this trench.

Step 3

Lay the iron or steel pipe in the trench. Cover it up with the dirt that you dug out of the trench. This pipe is called the tuyere. It delivers air to the base of the fire to increase its heat.

Step 4

Lay the kindling in the pit. Lay the pine firewood on top of it. Set the bellows at the end of the tuyere where it comes out of the ground.