I have mentioned that its hot here, haven't I ? ;-) Well, those of you who may have spotted a theme from previous posts will be unsurprised to find out that, once again, the hammer of the mid states summer sun is beating down on the anvil of Sculpture trails. All the fans are running in the workshop (though it is much cooler up in the woodland amongst the sculptures - so don't let the heat put you off visiting folks!)
As I type, I can here the sound of those more accustomed to the heat, pounding iron into fist sized chunks for the 'charges' which, along with batches of coke, provide the fuel and iron which feeds the furnace, our metal matriarch, 'Lady D'. She has a prodigious appetite, and turns these charges into boiling iron at an incredible rate, once she's up to speed.
Last night I had the pleasure of working alongside our very own foundry Methuselah, Nathan Goodeson. Nathan 'wrangles' the furnace, tweaking it, adjusting it and ensuring that all runs as it should. His most exciting - and to my eyes, terrifying - duty is to tap and 'bot' (no giggles at the back please!) the main pour spout. That means breaking through a plug of clay bused to bung the pour spout to release the iron - as well as re-plugging it after the tap to allow the sump inside the furnace to refill. Sounds pretty spectacular, hey? Well, he does this not using some piece of machinery, but by hand. As you can imagine, this requires complete concentration, dedication and a dose of bravery. Nathan is also a thoroughly decent fellow. I'm hoping to tell you more about the process he's developed called 'eclectromelt' in some subsequent postings. Anyway, it was fascinating working with him and to see the operation of the furnace right alongside. Normally when you work as crew for the pour, your concentration is totally absorbed by the ladles and the molds, so it was a great way to be able to see another side to the process.
Right, I'm going to crack on, as amongst my chore list, I've giot to get some links and photos posted up on the Trails Facebook!!
All the best,