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Kathy Sykes' Diary

Day 33: Melting Gold

Gorgeous day. Really sunny weather. Very, very lucky. Rain would have made all the fire-making near impossible.

Photo: Kathy and EllenArrived in the morning to find the furnace hadn't exploded, or cracked too much. So Mike, Mike and Jonathan got on with finishing off the furnace. It looked magnificent - 2 huge bellows - and the chimney spurting smoke with each puff of a bellow.
Ellen and I took half the chunk of the gold Jonathan and Ellen found in the Treasure Box, then split it between us and started bashing it. We wanted to get gold leaf. We had to hit it really hard to make any difference. But hitting it hard fractured it too. Decided we had to be a lot more gentle. Just before the boys put all the remaining gold into the furnace - it occurred to me that we needed to start again - but with one nugget. Managed to persuade the boys to swap our bashed gold (easy to melt) for the remaining half nugget. Easily done.

Photo: Kathry and Ellen tapping the goldSo, we started really gently. And this time we heated it first. It made all the difference. We tapped it with a steel mallet; heated it; tapped it; heated it; tapped it. Not very exciting stuff. But delightful to see it working. Also went to help do some bellowing. Amazing heat haze coming out of chimney. It's doing really well. Towards the end of the day - we realised that we'd need to keep hitting it for days to get gold leaf. I'd been keen to make a gold leaf electroscope (which detects electric charge). But the leaf has to be thinner than tin foil for an electroscope. Ellen wanted to coat something in gold leaf, and she would need really thin leaf too.

Photo: making earringsSo we decided to just make something out of what we had. We considered making a circular thing for a necklace. But I'd never wear anything like that and I wanted to like whatever it was we made. So I suggested making earrings. Ellen was delighted with the idea. We would make two and keep one each. We cut the metal bit into a kind of yin-yang shape, decided who would have which and did some more bashing.

Over dinner, we talked about highlights. It was a delight. Really nice time.

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Photo: Kathy Sykes
Metal Detector Interactive