Join Date: May 2006
I spoke too soon.
Good stuff Timo, and clearly more advanced than my own knowledge, especially so in your use of terminology, my own terminology is that used by people who actually work with the materials.
For instance, there used to be a gentleman named Mike Peterson who did a smelt once a year. Mike has passed on now but he lived on the South Coast of NSW. In technical terms he probably did not really smelt, what he did was to collect a lot of various kinds of iron and steel, stack with charcoal and produce a bloom. Or maybe Mike did "melt with smelting", as you have noted. I have a piece of one of the blooms he produced, and have worked with this material. It requires quite gentle initial welding, not dissimilar to welding meteorite. It makes very good blades.
My understanding is that limonite comes in various forms and that the solid forms of limonite were forge worked in early times by smiths in sub-Saharan Africa. I actually have a few pieces of limonite, identified as such by a metallurgist, I picked it up at Bungonia and had it for years before I knew what it was. I have not worked with it, but from the look and feel of it, it seems as if it could be worked in a forge.
Yes, I understand that limonite was worked in later times by heating to remove moisture, and then to use smelting, but in early times my understanding was that it was worked in the forge by gradually increasing temperatures, first removing the moisture then welding and folding.
Yes when limonite does carry nickel, the content is quite low, I think something like 1%-2% ?
I know nothing about laterite ores, I've heard the name, but only in connection with soil and with building materials.