As I am working on the Featherkyile Furnance and Foundry Co. it got me wondering how these things work. Basing this loosely on the Carrick Furnance I am wondering a couple things. Are these small operations considered “blast furnaces”? I assume Iron ore is fed into the top of the furnace into some sort of crucible that sits in a bed of coke? That bed of coke is “blasted” with air injected from bellows or a blower? I do know that on the small operations like these the molten iron is, or can be, poured right into molds at the base of the furnace. As such I am going to build a mold shed next to the furnace for prepping molds. Then those molds will be poured, allowed to cool and de-molded at the shed. Finished product will be moved to the warehouse for shipping. Does all of that seem reasonable so far? Another considerations is an unloading facility and storage for the coke coal.
Now what has me really in the dark is the ore itself. In these older small operations how was ore extracted and refined so that it was ready to be melted down in the furnace? In my neck of the woods silver mining is a gigantic operation. Huge operations with massive mines and massive ball or stamp mils to crush and separate ore from its parent rock and then shipped to giant smelters for refining. I don’t think we are talking the same thing here. But no matter what the principle is the same. We need to get iron ore from the parent rock and into a for that then can be dumped into the furnace for smelting.
Another small question I have is what about slag? If they are continuously feeding ore in from the top and pouring it out the bottom how are they eliminating the slag building up on the top of the molten ore? Do they periodically drain it all the way down and let it run out the bottom? Do they skim it?
I’ll google it as well but I was curious if anyone could walk me through the basics so that I can set up a plausible small foundry operation.