Mine exploration, photographs and mining history for mine explorers, industrial archaeologists, researchers and historians Mine explorer and mining history videos on YouTube Connect with other mine explorers on Facebook
Tip: do not include 'mine' or 'quarry', search by name e.g. 'cwmorthin', use 'Sounds like search' if unsure of spelling

Advanced Search
'Sounds like search'
Quick a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Tip: narrow down your search by typing more than one word and selecting 'Search for all words' or 'Exact search'

Search for any word
Search for all words
Exact search
Tip: narrow down your search by typing more than one word and selecting 'Search for all words' or 'Exact search'

Search for any word
Search for all words
Exact search

Mine Exploration Forum

Author Southwest copper and tin
Alex_Dartmoor

Joined: 05/08/2019

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 05/08/2019 13:40:00
Reply |  Quote
Hello!
Just joined and wondering if someone might be able to offer some pointers...
I really want to try and cast some bronze completely from scratch. Perhaps this is a foolish endeavour? Anyway, I want to try!...

So the first thing is finding some copper and tin ore. I'm based in South Devon but more than willing to travel.

So my first thoughts which perhaps someone could kindly help me with:
1. What's the legality of collecting some copper and tin ore from the ground
2. Where should I look
3. What am I looking for more specifically!?
4. Anything else?
5. Has anyone else given this a try?

Thanks so much everyone for your help!
Kind regards,
Alex
IP: 94.197.121.118
The Fresh Prince of Portreath

Joined: 05/08/2015

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 06/08/2019 13:57:30
Reply |  Quote
Copper is a bit of a pain as Chalcopyrite has got iron in it. You could go for chalcocite/etc, but it's difficult to find. Basically, you need to calcine it then enrich it, then convert it. It's a big process. I'd consider what other reactions you could do using acid and then precipitate it. You could make your own precipitate rig using adit water and a pillowcase of steel wool/swarf.

Making tin is pretty straightforward.

I reduced "copper gunge" (blue slime) to a high silica containing copper oxide (red oxide) and obtained a button of copper out of it. It was terrible though.

Cliff at Wheal Jane Lab has some pure chalcopyrite (left over from africa) which he may let you have some to play with. I'd try and get your chemistry right first, then track down some ore afterwards.

At least if you know it works with the real thing, you'll be well set up to try using some "ore"

If you're careful and you know where to look, you can get black tin at cligga. If you go panning heavy sands at the beach, you get a whole mixture of ****.
IP: 194.35.117.245
somersetminer

Avatar of somersetminer

Joined: 19/05/2012
Location: Bristol

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 06/08/2019 22:42:44
Reply |  Quote
Cligga is good for tin and also Wherry, the hard part is going to be reducing it in size sufficiently to smelt lots of tin out, if you dont have access to a labs crusher one option is to blank one end of a short steel pipe off and use a close fitting bit of round bar as a hammer to break stuff up.
Its a shame you werent asking a year ago, there is a new Devon tin producer that is currently on stop.
Alloying to make bronze is tricky too, the tin likes to vaporize at the temperatures copper melts, bear in mind you could lose what you have worked hard to get. I'd suggest getting some copper & tin concentrates online and have a go with those first.
As a side note, you want to be careful with South West copper ores, easy to get a bit of arsenic fume off them...
IP: 79.69.16.105 Edited: 06/08/2019 22:48:00 by somersetminer
The Fresh Prince of Portreath

Joined: 05/08/2015

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 06/08/2019 23:02:43
Reply |  Quote
I did a bit of work a while ago for Tolgus Tin. The idea was to use the processing mill to get some white tin. We had a load of stuff, some heavy sands and a load of unmilled ore from Wheal Concord. Cut a long story short, I got this sand table set up just right and ran the stuff over and over it until I had a really good concentrate. I had problems with the smelt and put it down to water content and decided to dry it out and give it a bloody good roast.

I was not prepared for the biblical arsenic cloud which came off it. Filled the whole place up with thick smoke. Thankfully no-one was there to witness it - mega white cloud

The key to a good yield is lots of sodium carbonate flux

IP: 194.35.117.245 Edited: 06/08/2019 23:06:13 by The Fresh Prince of Portreath
legendrider

Avatar of legendrider

Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 08:43:17
Reply |  Quote
maybe start learning with commercially bought (or otherwisely purloined) metallic copper and tin and do your bronze alloy with those to get that part of the process right. When you're happy, source some ores and experiment with smelting conditions to obtain the metals - which will undoubtedly be much trickier than making the bronze.

However you do things, good luck, it sounds like an interesting project

MARK

--

festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
somersetminer

Avatar of somersetminer

Joined: 19/05/2012
Location: Bristol

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:41:03
Reply |  Quote
The Fresh Prince of Portreath wrote:



I was not prepared for the biblical arsenic cloud which came off it. Filled the whole place up with thick smoke. Thankfully no-one was there to witness it - mega white cloud



Yeah, theres a reason Tolgus didnt sell that stuff Stu Laugh
IP: 79.69.16.105
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:48:43
Reply |  Quote
I heard the early copper mining talks at NAMHO this year, and there is a reason Bronze age (and later) miners didn't go much below the "gossan" in search for ore. They used the easily spotted green carbonates etc, as they are simple to smelt with the crudest of smelting hearths, and little in the way of sulphides and other nasties to cope with. If your available technology is as basic as early miners/smelters, then perhaps that's the best route to take - i.e. forget the sulphide ores. That said, the smelting experiments undertaken in recent times (trying to reproduce ancient methods) seem to have created only small bits of copper (prills?) so you may need quite a bit of ore to achieve anything. Simon Timberlake is perhaps the person to contact. IP: 91.125.156.255
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:52:13
Reply |  Quote
Another alternative for obtaining metallic copper might be the electrolytic route, and again you would probably need oxides and carbonates, together with some acid and old iron - no idea how efficient this is, but at least you wouldn't need to use a hearth to extract the metal from the ore. IP: 91.125.156.255
TheBogieman

Avatar of TheBogieman

Joined: 12/02/2013
Location: Mold, NE Wales

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 17:04:53
Reply |  Quote
The precipitation method is pretty effective. We've (PUG - Parys Underground Group) deliberately left old steel tools in pools in Parys mine (Anglesey) for a week or two and they come out with a thick red crust. Theoretically we could set up at least one of the old precipitation pits where the Joint Drainage Adit comes out and try and remove some of the estimated 60 tonnes of copper that flows out via the Afon Goch into the Irish Sea at Amlwch Harbour each year!

--

Explorans ad inferos
IP: 51.6.250.41
The Fresh Prince of Portreath

Joined: 05/08/2015

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 17:26:30
Reply |  Quote
Or you could go totally out of the box and thermite it.
IP: 194.35.117.245
AR

Avatar of AR

Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 08:57:55
Reply |  Quote
I've got a dim recollection of reading somewhere the suggestion that to make bronze, cassiterite was mixed with already smelted copper and then heated up, rather like the way brass is made. I could of course be completely wrong about that, I'll try and remember to dig my copy of Tylecote out and see what he says about the process in antiquity.

--

Follow the horses, Johnny my laddie, follow the horses canny lad-oh!
IP: 146.162.240.243
Coggy

Joined: 27/12/2008
Location: Birmingham

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 15:03:52
Reply |  Quote
Making a copper smelting furnace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdTcmK9YlRE

--

DEO VINDICE
IP: 92.239.141.148
neutronix

Joined: 04/03/2008

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:14:33
Reply |  Quote
Maybe check out

H H Coghlan "Notes on the prehistoric metallurgy of copper and bronze in the old world" 1975 (2nd edition) OUP

or

"Archaeometallurgy: The Study of Preindustrial Mining and Metallurgy" David Killick and Thomas Fenn, Annual Review of Anthropology (2012) vol. 41:559–75. Apologies, would upload but this is not an open access journal Sad.

--

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.93.0
neutronix

Joined: 04/03/2008

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:15:53
Reply |  Quote
Maybe check out

H H Coghlan "Notes on the prehistoric metallurgy of copper and bronze in the old world" 1975 (2nd edition) OUP

or

"Archaeometallurgy: The Study of Preindustrial Mining and Metallurgy" David Killick and Thomas Fenn, Annual Review of Anthropology (2012) vol. 41:559–75. Apologies, would upload but this is not an open access journal Sad.

--

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.93.0
Paul W

Joined: 10/09/2013

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:41:45
Reply |  Quote
Have a watch of these videos from the weekend I met James, I'm going to be casting my own sword with him this weekend

https://www.facebook.com/AncientCraftUK/videos/2023494244618851/

https://www.facebook.com/AncientCraftUK/videos/1222983571186744/

https://www.facebook.com/AncientCraftUK/photos/a.556888484332964/2350242934997501/?type=3&theater
IP: 86.160.127.200
Alex_Dartmoor

Joined: 05/08/2019

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 09:32:13
Reply |  Quote
Thank you so much everyone for all of your helpful responses. Lots of interesting stuff here. Also it's making me appreciate how difficult it's going to be!

Starting off with old bronze is probably a good idea!
IP: 92.40.248.32
legendrider

Avatar of legendrider

Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 09:56:20
Reply |  Quote
If anybody needs any casting bronze, I've a massive shell bearing that came out of the engine of a torpedoed WW2 merchant ship. PM if interested and I'll weigh and price up.

MARK

--

festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
The Fresh Prince of Portreath

Joined: 05/08/2015

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 10:28:28
Reply |  Quote
I'd get some chalcopyrite and try and thermite it. See if Cliff has some still and play with it. Tin is quite straightforward IP: 194.35.117.245
Boy Engineer

Joined: 20/06/2008
Location: Derby

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 12:45:51
Reply |  Quote
The Fresh Prince of Portreath wrote:
a pillowcase of steel wool/swarf.

This is also a great tip for anyone with a down allergy, providing they haven’t got a magnetic personality. And if you use spring steel, you don’t need to plump the pillow in the morning.
IP: 31.185.47.152
legendrider

Avatar of legendrider

Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

View Profile
View Posts
View Personal Album
View Personal Files
View all Photos
Send Private Message
Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 15:36:27
Reply |  Quote
Boy Engineer wrote:

The Fresh Prince of Portreath wrote:
a pillowcase of steel wool/swarf.

Off Topic
Steel wool dipped in paraffin, when prodded with the terminals of a 9V battery, makes an amusing, incandescent, eye-brow removing device! Shocked

MARK

--

festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
Safety LED Miners Caplamps Moore Books: Specialist Books I.A. Recordings: Mining and Industrial History DVDs Starless River - Caving Store Explore a Disused Welsh Slate Mine
Disclaimer: Mine exploring can be quite dangerous, but then again it can be alright, it all depends on the weather. Please read the proper disclaimer.
© 2005 to 2015 AditNow.co.uk
Top of Page