The Basics of Smelting Iron at The Crucible
By Kristin Arzt
Smelting is the process of extracting base metals from ore by heating it to produce the chemical reactions needed to remove the other elements present. This article will walk through how The Crucible produced their own iron through the smelting of iron ore. First, let’s start with understanding the basics.
What is iron ore?
Iron ores are rocks and minerals rich in iron oxide that can produce metallic iron when smelted. Due to the nature of the iron oxide present in iron ore, they can range in color from dark grey to a deep red. The iron in such ores is commonly found in the form of magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite, and siderite.
What tools and materials are needed for smelting iron?
Iron smelting should always be done in a safe, supervised setting by professionals. Here are the primary tools and materials needed for smelting iron:
- Iron ore
- Charcoal (as a reducing agent)
- Anvil stone
- Scoops and ladles
- Bloom tongs
- Leather welders gloves
- Water bucket
How The Crucible smelted iron in 6 steps:
The following example shows the primary steps in smelting iron from scratch. We started by collecting the ore and building the furnace ourselves to demonstrate how easy of a process iron smelting is.
This is how iron has been smelted by blacksmiths for hundreds of years: