Day 33: Melting
I smell of smoke.
I taste smoke in my mouth. We sat very comfortably for hours heating
the gold and pounding it gently, all without noticing the smoke
from the fire. Then, when removed from the immediate situation,
the lingering effects of the fire hit my senses full force.
And the gold.
I will probably dream in gold this evening.
day started off with gold as a brittle, impure substance. Luckily
we started with only half of the gold nugget that Jonathan and I
found in our treasure box. Kathy and I split the half into fourths
and each pounded. We pounded the gold hard, fast and furiously only
to find jagged edges, holes, and chunks of silver impurities. With
a goal of gold leaf, this would not do. It quickly became clear
as well that our tools were too bulky and crude. The surfaces of
our hammers were nicked and pocked, as was the anvil on which we
could beat the gold. What to do?!
had to be made of gold by the end of day 3. We currently had some
gold to work. The rest of it had to be smelted with that which we
collected ourselves. The furnace and its effectiveness were unknown.
A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, so we decided
to start again, trading our banged-up bits of the treasure nugget
for the other half of it. This time Kathy and I exhibited much patience.
We built and maintained a manageable, but roaring, fire to continually
heat the gold. We pounded gently, taking care to set the gold on
as smooth a surface as possible and hit it with a clean, nearly
smooth mallet. Slowly, slowly. By the end of today we had a slightly
misshapen piece of gold thick enough to hold its own weight as pieces
of jewelry, but thin enough to have produced a respectable size
of gold with which to work.
made a good call, let's cut our losses and make something
that has a good chance of succeeding a pair of dangly earrings.
Plus, we can each have one. We designed and cut them out to shape
and will finish tomorrow with Maori and New Zealand symbols: koru,
the fiddlehead of a fern, which indicates life.
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