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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Southwest copper and tin
Alex_Dartmoor

Joined: 05/08/2019

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 05/08/2019 13:40:00
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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
somersetminer

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Joined: 19/05/2012
Location: Bristol

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 06/08/2019 22:42:44
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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
legendrider

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Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 08:43:17
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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

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festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
somersetminer

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Joined: 19/05/2012
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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:41:03
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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 ...... ?

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:48:43
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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 ...... ?

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 09:52:13
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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

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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 07/08/2019 17:04:53
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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!

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Explorans ad inferos
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AR

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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 08:57:55
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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.

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

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Joined: 27/12/2008
Location: Birmingham

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 15:03:52
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Making a copper smelting furnace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdTcmK9YlRE

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DEO VINDICE
IP: 92.239.141.148
neutronix

Joined: 04/03/2008

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:14:33
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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.

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“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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:15:53
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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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 08/08/2019 16:41:45
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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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 09:32:13
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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

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Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 09:56:20
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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

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festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
Boy Engineer

Joined: 20/06/2008
Location: Derby

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 12:45:51
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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

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Southwest copper and tin
Posted: 09/08/2019 15:36:27
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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

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festina lente IP: 82.25.240.225
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