Week 7 Lab Data: Group E

The aim of our week 7 lab was to create nails and roves in accordance with historical practices. That being said, this week’s data was a bit difficult to measure for me as my group ended up with three people and thus we all had tasks to do to keep the process going. I was able to record some temperature readings (although slightly unclear how accurate, see below) and had a timer going the whole lab and thus, thanks to modern technology, was able to collect some data in that manner as well. Our group began with charcoal for the nails and then switched to stone coal for the roves.

General Quantitative Observations 

  • It took approximately 7 minutes to bring the fire to steadily burning coals 
  • The yellow laser thermometer, when pointed at said external coals, read 680 C when using the bellow and 510 C when left to sit for approximately 2 minutes. (Please note that we were getting some wildly varied results with regard to the blue v. yellow thermometer so I am slightly concerned with the validity of these readings.)
  • At one point, a nail that was being formed by a group member did indeed burn off because the rod had been left in the fire for about 4-5 min. The temperature of the interior of our coals appears to have been pushing over 2000 C. 
  • It took, on average, about 2 minutes for the rod to heat up to the glowing red temperature level that allowed adequate malleability. If left in for too long, the rod would begin to spark when taken out of the fire. 

Person-Time Quantitative Observations

ItemPerson~ Time (Approx.)
Nail (EL1) – charcoalElek10 min*
Nail (EM1) – charcoal Emmett25 min**
Nail (H1) – charcoalHope29 min
Nail (EL2) – stone coalElek23 min
Rove (EM1) – stone coalEmmett20 min
Rove (H1) – stone coalHope21 min
Rove (EL1) – stone coalElek19 min
* Incomplete: burned off rod when in fire.
** Martin assisted for last 5 minutes due to bendy aspect.
-> Also note that this data points are a good way to look at that idea of person-time we talked about in class a while back.

Friday pXRF Readings

Although I know other people have attached those graph images sent from Professor Sarah Kennedy, these are the readings from what I think is my rove and possibly something else (granted I did not label these when I took them so I am slightly concerned that they are representative of a different item that we measured in class.)

Our nail/rove results:

Qualitative Observations by Lab Members – Taken at critical moments in the process (slightly paraphrased!)

  • “I am trying to begin rounding the squared rod right now and I am attempting to estimate the thinness of this nail before I try to fit it through the header slot.” – Emmett
  • “The process of making my second second nail went faster and I felt like I had more control when hammering and shaping the body of the nail, even though my first nail burnt off.” – Elek
  • The transformative aspect of this lab, and the potential for mysticism to be associated early on historically, only becomes more pronounced when personally experienced. The process of visually obscuring the rod within intimidating flames in such a repetitive manner invokes a ritualistic element, especially to the passive observer.
  • The shift from charcoal to stone coals was initially difficult for us to adjust to because the stone coals caused increasingly more smoke (less fire-flies though!) and we had to dig deeper to heat up our rod, thus causing a lack of visual color confirmation that we’d earlier been relying upon.
  • We also realized that the best way to ensure that we were not overheating the rod was to build a little pit within the coals that allowed us to see the color of the rod when it was within the fire. As pictured below:
Looks sort of like a dragon lair.

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