Next stop was the Sliabh Aughty Furnace Project in Woodford co. Galway, a week long bloomery smelting festival (since re-named the Woodford Furnace Festival). The goal of the project was to bring together experts and enthusiasts from all over the world, harvest local bog ore, and see if it could be smelted in a variety of different style furnaces. I worked under the guidance of Jake Keen from England. Our team built three furnaces of similar design using clay, straw, and sand. We built our furnaces rather small to further investigate Jake’s work to understand the minimum feasible size for a vertical shaft furnace. What I learned from Jake during that week I hold to invaluable in my own process of learning to smelt iron. I am still (a year and a half later) realizing just how much I was taught.

Irish Bog Iron Ore
High Manganese Irish Bog Ore
Irish Bog ore roasting
Roasting the ore to prepare it for smelting
Bloomery Furnace Construction
Furnace Construction
Jake Keen Iron Bloomery Smelting
Jake doing what he does best
Jake Keen Ireland Bloomery Smelting
Jake’s Bloom Emerges
Iron Smelting Woodford Furnace Festival 2018 Lee Sauder Jake Keen
Lee and Jake working the bloom
Katie Surridge Iron Smelting Ireland Woodford Furnace Festival
My good friend Katie Surridge preparing her furnace
Bloomery Smelting Furnace
Woodford Furnace Festvial 2018 Eric Dennis Jake Keen Lee Sauder
Team striking the bloom, fresh out of the furnace
Bloomery Smelting Jake Keen Katie Surridge Eric DEnnis Jon Snow
My team!