Building your own Furnace

If you are an Artist using metal for graphics or sculpture, a designer looking for new materials or a ethically concerned professional using metals in your work ore.e refineries is a flexible partner for you needs.

ore.e - Ore Refinery provides its customers with custom solutions in metal refining, uniqe products and technical assistance to your metal related work. We use traditional handcraft and cost affective methods in our work. The technology we uses is ethical and we use only recycled or independently mined materials.

We work internationaly at any given site, with our using mobile and modifiable equipment. Many of the devices we use can be built cost affectively and ecologically in any location.

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This pictorial includes information on how to produce your own copper goods and how a copper-plate suitable for fine Graphic printing was produced in Lomé, Togo. Items needed for a transportable furnace. Jesse is checking the equipment
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To protect the casing you need heat resistant material. In this case we used sand and bricks. Workers need their ecologically crown coffee. In the background there is Jesses Volvo Ducati. A general picture of the casing of our furnace. The raw construct of the Forge Blowers stand.
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The case is constructed from extra pieces of laminated wood. But any solid firm wood material will do. The case is 50x50x50 in size, but smaller would work as well. We filled the box with ordinary soil and some leftover oil-sand used in metal casting. The size of the hole we dug in the sand is around 15 litres. The hole is shaped like a bulled.
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The hole is lined with a sand-clay mixture. Sand is added to the clay as to make it more bearable for heat. Add sand as much as possible with out spoiling the structure of the clay. Notice the hole on the side of the box. The is a 30 cm metal tube (O/ 4,5cm) which ends in the edge of the "sand-clay pot". The tube is used to blow air into the furnace.
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The Forge Blower is a readymade object from a local junkyard. For the project we mounted it on a stand which can be connected to the side of the furnace box. The clay furnace fractured as it dried, due to the oil sand which did not evaporate the moisture trough it. Do prevent this we recommend to use horse manure in the clay sand mixture.
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As a improvised solution we bought four scruple-stone bricks from which we could construct a new smaller furnace. For the heating we bought wood coals. Every penny counts!
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We chopped the copper collected from a local junkyard into spaghetti sized bits and placed it on top of the fireplace.
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Taking turns in the pump of the blower we super heated the copper for 15 min, during which we could se the copper melt towards the bottom.

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After the this we left the furnace to cool and begun to work with out back up plan. The construction is really simple. A brick like this costs 1,70 €.
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During the construction of the "ghetto furnace" the clay one cooled enough for us to remove the coals from the top. The interior was covered with a thick substance which we at first believed to be the melted copper. As you will later discover it turned out to be a glass like mixture, formed by the sand. Since we did not find any metal from the bottom we mistakably believed the experiment with the clay furnace to be a failure.
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And so we turned our ambitions to the "ghetto furnace". The chimney of this furnace was longer which meant that that heat would be higher in the bottom of the tube. We placed the copper in very rough spaghetti type block on the bottom of the furnace, filled it up with coal and begun to pump.
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We kept the heat going longer and in 25 min we lifted the chimney away.
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From the bottom we found a piece of melded copper.
As such this copper could not be reworked into any product we could think of. The metal block we needed should be solid with little if any bubbles or other forms around it.
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So the only option was to re-melt it. In hopes that it would develop into a more easily refillable shape. As the bricks where damaged the only option was to use the clay furnace. pot, which we at this stage believed to be copper.
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We begun the process in hopes to also re-melt the material on the sides of the After and intensive 45 min super heating it was time for well deserved pause.
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The clay-sand mixture pot is very dense. Under the surface we where able to find not one but two separate blocks of copper.
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The material on the sides of the pot turned out to be ceramic glass from the melted sand. The piece on the bottom of the pot was more formed and we where able to test it behaviour by forcing it. A rawly melted block of copper under development in to a product.
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The following images are video stills of Togoise Artisans producing a Copper-Plate suitable for Fine-Graphic Art production. The ore.e crew would like to thank Boris "The Wacher" Azianou for assistance in the production of the item. Copper was collected from a junkyard. The pot were the copper was meltet was made of a cheramic substance. Unfortenately we could not determine how it was manufactured. Luckyly Pertti Kukkonen bought one pot for testing at TAIK, Finland. Contact him in regards of that.
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The furnace was a car tire filled with a material which would not bur. A cheramic cup was used in the melting. The Togoise crew heated the metal for one hour. Way longer then we in Turku. The production crew included 4 men. A master of gold-smithing and three assistants. The liquid metal was poured into a metal can which forced it into semi-plate like form. After the pouring the copper was pounded into a thin platte.
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The block was fragile as some bubbles had formed into it in the pouring. Making the platte suitable for Graphics took a consiterable amount of labour. The metal needed to be heated between hammering. Finalisation of the plate was made semi industrially with a device dating to early 1900 France.
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The following images are from the production of early test prints from the plate. Even as we used a considerable amout of effort in making the plate thin enough it was still too fat to be used in printing. A simple design was drawn for the early test prints.
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The press-machine had to be adjusted with temporary solutions to enable the printing. The forms of the hammers and other sighns of labour could be seen in the print. No images where drawn to the plate so that the marks of labor would be seen in the outcome. The produced pictures are awaiting shipment to an exhibition. The exhitition with the objects and original olade is chedualledfor early 2009 in Voipaala, Finland.

This project relates to ore.e refineries which is a non-registared company producing refined ore at any location. using traditional methods. So far the project has produced one copper-plate usable for fine Graphic Printmaking. The plate was produced in Lomé, Togo with support of Boris "The Watcher" Azianou and other local artisans using recycled materials. Plate was given to a selected (unnamed) Academic Professor of Contemporary Grafic Artist in Finland. The crew would like to thank the residency program of Villa Karo in Grand Popo, Benin for their support to the project. Hope the forge blower we buildet with Boris is in good use!

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