Just before COVID-19 really took hold, Steve and I had a wonderful date day at Red Top Mountain state park. We went to one of their iron pours to test our scratch block carving skills.
You purchase a scratch block from the visitor’s center and settle down to design and carve the block that will later be filled with molten iron.
The blocks themselves were rather soft and we found that the best tools to carve were nails and even a paper clip for detailed work.
We turned in our blocks, and then waited for dark and the real excitement — the firing of the furnace and pouring of the iron.
Steve’s carved block He traced the shape of the leaf and then filled the veins and details.
Anne sketched her design out and then began carving her block.
The volunteers stoked the furnace and melted iron.
Volunteers transferred the molten iron from the furnace into a smaller container that two people could manage.
Two people pour the molten iron into blocks.
Notice how the color changes as the iron cools in the molds that were filled just seconds ago.
The volunteer who was stoking the furnace wore a helmet with a protective face shield. The glow in the background is the furnace.
Park volunteers used shovels to move the hot blocks to a pile of sand to cool.
Other park workers file off sharp edges once the blocks have been cooled in a bucket of water. These young artists are looking for their artwork among the finished pieces.