>Well, I used up three different bags of old charcoal and nothing dripped out of the bottom of the furnace. It took nearly two hours to start burning properly as well. I’m guessing now that it’s right on the edge of developing the 660 degrees centigrade that I need. Which does make sense as last burn was quite partial in terms of what melted and what didn’t. So next time I’ll go with new good quality lumpwood…
On a more positive note, with all the heat my green sand dried out but held the shapes that I pushed into it, so sand casting is looking workable at the moment.
>My cunning plan is slowly working. I’ve been listing things I don’t need on ebay to generate enough money to buy the things that I absolutely can’t make, scrounge or recycle. So I’ve just sold two books, which has given me enough in paypal to buy 750g of bentonite clay which should make proper foundry green sand for casting.
I’m hoping to make some jewellery without a crucible just by putting catch trays under the next burn, with green sand in and designs pressed in that I can then turn into jewellery…
>Isn’t the internet great? When I was a student 20 years ago the internet was basically user-groups. Now, with everything else, the most useful bits are sometimes forums and yahoo! groups. I’ve just been told that my aluminium will flow better with 5%-6% copper added to make an alloy. That’s just saved me a lot of experimentation and googling so thanks guys!
Also I’ve now found that bioregional charcoal has moved to Sainsbury’s from B&Q. It’s twice the cost but it says that it supports coppicing and local charcoal production. I’ll do some quick googling to check it’s all true, but I expect that’s the direction I’m going in. Either that or scrounge some wood and start a fire for charcoal. I’ve done it before, so I know how to do it. It’s just another stage that I hoped to bypass this time!
So off to Freecycle to keep an eye out for any copper scrap and firewood. Plus an old wheelbarrow for making a charcoal clamp. I’m also asking around to see if I know any plumbers who could collect pipe offcuts for me. I do have some pipe in the garage that I could use if need be.
Thanks for comments and followers!