[Spit-project] Pug's pictures

Saint Phlip phlip at 99main.com
Wed Apr 18 13:33:32 PDT 2007

On 4/18/07, Helen Schultz <meisterin02 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I agree that the height would be to allow slow cooking at first  (at 5'1/5" tall, I can walk under mine if the legs are fairly close together) and then getting the meat closer to the  hot coals as you want it to begin to get hot on the inside.  Keep a modern thermometer handy, so you can check to make sure your meat is the right temps... pork should be no less than 160 degrees before you eat it.
> My spit is made from straight wrought iron stock... no twists in it.  I suppose a really good blacksmith could make one really pretty though with some, if you wanted it (Phlip, don't you do blacksmithing, too?).

Yes, I do, and I think right now, I'd better define wrought iron the
material, which you guys seem to not understand.

Most stuff you get today that is called wrought iron isn't actually
wrought iron- it's (usually) mild steel, which is defined as a mixture
of carbon and steel. Please understand, that often there are other
elements in it, depending on where it was mined, but the modern
Bessemer process which is why we have some much steel today, in
comparison to in period, tends to minimize the natural inclusions.
But, I call it twisted steel, because that's what it is- it's steel
which is twisted and bent.

Wrought iron the material is NOT steel. It may or may not have some
carbon in it, depending on the processes used to make it (and the ore
it is gotten from). What it is is what you get when you roast ore, and
it clumps at the bottom. Throughout the mass, which is called a bloom,
rather than pure iron, is a mix of silica and iron. In period, and
today, those who are into doing their own smelting, take this mass,
heat it again, and hammer on it, attempting to remove and reduce the
size of the silica inclusions, and to incorporate them (where they
can't be removed) into the iron matrix. It's a process rather like
mixing onions into hamburger- if you recall, you'll usually have bits
of onion fall out, but most stays inside the loaf or the patty. In
this case, however, the silica "onions" are reduced in size by the
mixing and pounding, so instead of have small dice "onions" of silica,
you wind up with powdered "onions" of silica.

To digress a bit, in period, and even in modern times up until steel
became so common and cheap, wrought iron was graded by the number of
times it had been worked, and thus how fine the silica inclusions had
become- once was a bit rough, and most of what you see when you see
real wrought iron today, and 3 times was very fine, and takes a bit of
testing to differentiate it from steel.

Anyway, real wrought iron has a grain to it, rather reminiscent of
wood grain, and, when you break it, it tends to be rather fibrous.
It's also very hard to come by, and, unless you spent at least a
couple thousand dollars on your spit set up, it's extremely unlikely
it's made of wrought iron ;-) I have 40 lbs of it that a friend gave
me, and I guarantee it isn't going to go out my door very easily ;-)

Anyway, one of the characteristics of wrought iron is that after its
initial light coating of rust, it stops rusting. The reason is that
the silica inclusions block the oxygen. That's basicly why that pillar
over in India hasn't rusted in the last millenium or so, and that's
wht I have some chain links that came from a lock here in Connecticut
(they aren't going out the door any time soon either) which are just
as strong as they were, 75 years ago when they were first put under
water ;-)

So, in order to answer G's question, I was making a _specific_
materials suggestion, rather than referring to common steel. And, once
the initial rusting had done its thing, the spit would NOT continue to
rust, with or without any treatment. The most I'd do with a real
wrought iron spit is wipe it down with bees wax now and then so it
looked pretty, but there would be no reason to worry about rust past a
certain point.

So, in conclusion, you need to decide how far you want to go with this
spit. Not only do you need to be able to shape it as you would like
to, but you need to determine which iron alloy you want to use. In
period, they did have steel, and knew what it was, but it was reserved
for very special projects, like the cutting edge of expensive blades
(usually swords).

> Perhaps keeping it well oiled with olive oil would keep it from rusting, but, then, you would need to have a way to transport or store it so it wouldn't affect other objects right next to it.  I was thining of making a thin plywood box for mine.  Or else buying a cheap king sized sheet to wrap it up in.
> ~~ Meisterin Katarina Helene

Saint Phlip

Heat it up
Hit it hard
Repent as necessary.


It's the smith who makes the tools, not the tools which make the smith.

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