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GeorgeK
01-07-2016, 07:14 PM
Medieval setting, a master armorer/blacksmith has two unskilled but sturdy assistants. They are in need of some supplies and come across an abandoned castle. There is a forge with tools, anvil, furnace and a supply of firewood, crushed iron ore and charcoal. I don't specify the grade of the ore, assume at least reasonable quality. The character is a master smith and his time should be impressive but not magically impressive.

With all the necessary supplies already available, if my research is correct the guy should be able to go from cold furnace to an iron bloom in 12 hours.

What I'm having trouble with is the time it takes from an iron bloom to the final product,

horseshoe
shoe nails
sword (a basic 2 foot blade straight edge for hack slash, nothing fancy)
ax

Thanks

Katharine Tree
01-07-2016, 10:49 PM
Basic iron stuff like horseshoe and nails is just a matter of beating the slag out of the bloom, then forming the pieces. I don't really know, but I would think no more than an hour or two, for a few products.

The sword, on the other hand ... if he's any good he'll want to pattern-weld (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_welding) it, right, so it's hard enough to fight with? Now, you want to research all of this before you put it in your book, but my foggy memories are that ancient swordsmiths used a combination of wrought iron--that's the bloom with the slag beat out of it--and pig iron to pattern-weld blades. Also if foggy memory serves, one creates the pig iron by letting air into the furnace during smelting, to oxidize the impurities.

Sorry I don't have certainties about the process and the time it takes, but I hope that a you-should-research-this pointer is better than nothing :tongue

King Neptune
01-07-2016, 11:58 PM
You better add some limestone to the furnace. How long it would take would depend on how good the bloom was. If the ore gets reduced, so that there is mostly iron mixed with impurities in the bloom, then decent wrought iron goods could be beaten from it, but anything like a knife would need hardening, which would require carbon in the mix. The time required would depend more on the size of the piece and the skill of the smith than anything else. A sword probably would take a couple of days, but thin rod for nails wouldn't take very long.

GeorgeK
01-08-2016, 02:29 AM
Mostly what they need is the horseshoes. I can have them find a corpse or two for weapons. So without going into details ore to shod mule, 18 hours seem more than reasonable?

King Neptune
01-08-2016, 03:01 AM
Mostly what they need is the horseshoes. I can have them find a corpse or two for weapons. So without going into details ore to shod mule, 18 hours seem more than reasonable?

Yes, that is not unreasonable, if they work hard.

WeaselFire
01-08-2016, 05:39 PM
So without going into details ore to shod mule, 18 hours seem more than reasonable?

Keep in mind that, during that era, mules rarely had shoes. Heck, in Medieval times, it wasn't terribly common for normal horses to be shod.

Most of the time involved is getting the forge going, but if they can find weapons they likely can already find something forged that just needs to be cut and shaped, so it's very little time to actually make something. Repurposing was standard practice, and saves a lot of time over preparing ore, even decent grade ore.

Jeff

Katharine Tree
01-08-2016, 08:06 PM
Yep. Make sure the mules really need shoes. I wrote a book assuming that working horses always wore shoes, and that turned out to be not the case.

GeorgeK
01-08-2016, 08:33 PM
Thanks everyone.

My understanding is that horse shoes are mostly needed when over wearing of the hooves is likely like when using paved roads. Our donkey doesn't get shod and if her hooves get a little long she will give herself a pedicure using a large rock. It's actually kind of funny to watch. Most of the time she's on dirt.