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Bead Furnace Burn Sep 2008

Creator: Neil
Materials: Cobb (Straw, clay, sand), charcoal, glass
Location: SCA Event - Baron's Howe
Notes: Electricity was not available. A blend of first time beaders, and experienced people.

Another bead melt at an SCA event, working the Mark3 furnace with the bellows. In addition to practicing the skills used in previous smelts this provided another opportunity to reach out and teach other people.

Darrell turning three glass rods to create a stringer for later use. A close up of turning three glass rods to create a stringer for later use. Bead removal. This style uses a set of pliers to hold the mandrel and a piece of birchbark to pull the bead. This technique seems to work fairly well, allowing the beads to be placed into the ash on top of the furnace to anneal. A good overview of the working area for the mark3 furnace. As with the Mark2 furnace there are pits for the bellows operator's feet, and the bead maker's feet. In this case Unnr is sitting up on a box to work the bellows. The bellows dynamic for bead work is also interesting. Notice the hand position. All that is necessary with these bellows is to lift the bag and let it go. So long as the second bag starts before the first finishes you get a clean air flow of enough air to keep the temperature up. This makes the bellows worker's job much easier than that needed when smelting iron.
Finished beads the next day. We got a good rate on unbroken beads in this melt. The five beads at the top were done with the stringer created early in the melt. The bottom two dark red beads are a good match for Calmer class A131 beads. Two well formed cylendrical beads with decorative lines. Examples of broken beads. Note again the two main break styles, across the mandrel hole (in front) and along the axis (yellow at the back). More beads from the weekend's work.
      Updated: 19 Nov, 2008
Text © Neil Peterson, 2008
Photographs © Individual artists
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