Dirt and brick "furnace"

A future lesson for me... Next time I introduce a new burner design make sure I have a furnace to test it in. I was getting so many questions about how the Oliver burner 1 and propane in general, compares to charcoal that I didnít have time to build a new furnace (I donít have a furnace at this time believe it or not) so I had to improvise. And improvise I did...

The dirt and brick furnace

The quickest thing I could think of was to melt some metal within a chamber of bricks. These arenít even firebricks! I surrounded the chamber with dirt to help insulate it. The white pieces inside the chamber are some flat marble slabs I found.

The dirt and brick furnace

Here is just a look at the ďdirt furnaceĒ from behind.

The dirt and brick furnace

In this pic you can see the crucible inside with the burner in position. Now I need to add the remaining bricks and some more dirt.

The burner is on the job

Here the burner is sending ripping heat into the chamber. At first the burner was sputtering and hesitating like it was about to cut off. I had the burner to far into the chamber and simply pulling it out some solved the problem. It works best with the tip of the flare just barely inside the chamber.

A look into the heart of the dirt furnace

It's really blazing now.

A peek at the molten aluminum

Here we get a little peek into the hot chamber. The aluminum is molten in the crucible. It took about 20 to 25 minutes with this poorly insulated setup (heat and steam escaping all through the loose, porous soil). In a real furnace I think itíd be molten in about 10 to 15.

The  hot crucible in the chamber

Here's a look at the hot crucible still in the chamber. There's about 1 1/2 pounds of aluminum in the crucible.

The dirt and brick furnace after use

Here is the furnace after the carnage. Still hot of course, even though it doesn't look like it..


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This site was created Sept. 28, 2000