I have a question! What about metal tools and iron smelting in our primitivist ideology?
It can be done with little more than your bare hands and a few simple tools, if you have the skill, of course. The ore pretty much lays on the ground (bog ore), you can use clay to build the furnace, a hard stone as an anvil and another stone as a hammer + some kind of tongs, maybe wooden. If you do the math, you can get enough natural draft, wind or water-powered bellows to do the appropriate amount of blowing for you. If not, you have to blow yourself.
It’s a hard, long and unforgiving task, requiring quite a bit of luck and experience (took a few smelts to even get the bloom to form). Every little detail counts and you can ruin the entire smelt by just a few minutes of carelessness. But theoretically, if you dropped me in the middle of a wilderness, I could make steel from scratch. I’ve done it before and I enjoy very much seeing the dirt and then a molten blob turn into a hard, forgeable material.
There are some problems though if hunter-gatherers were to do it. First, the earliest recorded cases of smelting are AFTER the agricultural revolution (or am I wrong?). Second, blacksmithing requires quite a bit of hard work, something HGs wouldn’t like.
Third, it eats into natural resources considerably (look at the forests in Scotland. Not seeing any? Hmmm…) I had to make some 20kg of charcoal for a smelt of 15kg of ore, which should have given me some 2kg of iron, but due to my incompetence, it only yielded 300g. I used quite a bit of wood for that but I have no idea how it relates to, for instance, staying alive in -40C… Probably the amount of wood I’ve used is nothing vs the Alaskan winter.
So, my question to you is whether smelting is feasable and non-destructive enough to be practiced on a very small scale (personal needs) by hunter-gatherer bands/communities. Why? Why not?