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Jonahan Hare's Diary

Day 32: Smelting Gold

Feel really rotten today, have a cold and a very sore throat and feel horrible. Beechams and throat sweets keep me going.

Steve E (the Producer) and Martin and Sophie (the Directors) have told us that this last programme is really up to us what happens. We need to do something with the gold we have produced so what should we do?

Photo: Making the furnaceWe get together and discuss a little what we could do. We decide to try and make a few things with the gold, but in the meantime we all agree to help out making a furnace to smelt the gold into an ingot. We start on what will be one of the best Rough Science team efforts.

Discussing such a big project tends to bring up all sorts of stresses and strains, partly because it is the end of a long shoot, partly because everyone thinks slightly differently and also because we all know that time is ticking by and that we can't sit around too long and talk, we need to get moving. As a result I think I would say that perhaps we didn't talk/discuss the science of the furnace enough as a group. However, what materialised was a great team effort and a rather good furnace.

Photo: Jonathan mixing cementWe started by clearing the grass away from a patch of soil and laying down some clay. On top of this we put a foundation of bricks and I started to mix up some cement to bind them together. We started to build a brick-lined chimney inside of which we were to cover in a clay layer as insulation. This all came together well. Mike B made up some bellows so that air could be blown into the furnace to raise the temp as much as possible. We had to make sure there were holes in the brick structure to take the bellow tubes. By the end of the day we had constructed a brick walled furnace lined with clay with a tapered chimney. Hot coal/charcoal was placed into the furnace overnight to try and dry it out a little.

My contribution was not very dynamic today. I did mix up some cement and also helped Kate lay the bricks out but that was about as much as I could do, I was feeling so grotty. By the end of the day I was feeling horrible. I went straight to bed and slept till the next day.

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Photo: Jonathan Hare
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