Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Day Off

They're not crop circles on my end table.  It's a rock.

I needed a break for a day and decided to drag out the pewter casting stuff.  I don't have any silicone mold compound, or even any RTV cement and buying it is out of the question at the moment, especially on a holiday weekend.  I've got lots of soapstone.  Time to go all bronze age.  I cheated and used a dremel tool to start the lines, but it tends to bite too deep and too erratically in the stone, which is generally very soft, almost soft enough to scratch with a fingernail.  It does have grains of harder material suspended in it, and if the tool kicks one up it leaves a hole, which can be larger than you would think, and skips, which can be a huge problem.  So, most of the carving was done the old fashioned way, with small chisels.  At least they only take out a small bit at a time and are less likely to bite in.

I still need to work on the sprue, which needs to be a bit bigger to allow gravity to feed the pewter quickly before it sets up.  It's always a bit of a balancing act, making a large enough sprue to feed the mold and keeping it small enough to make a reasonable sized pour.  Another drawback of a large sprue is more to cut off the finished piece at the end.  Excess metal can be (and is) remelted and reused, but trimming and polishing is a drag.

Tomorrow I'll pour the pewter for this and post pictures of the completed findings.  I also have a household repair project I need to pour, having made the mold with the last of my compound months ago.  Note to self:  Never ask Joe to hang a ceiling fixture when he's not in the mood,  that powdered metal they use doesn't bend.


  1. oh very cool, I didn't know you did that!

  2. Got into it with my historic group. Very hot for this weather. I cast a few findings from this mold and am now doing all the bench work. I like using silicone so much better! This is all trimming and filing. I had much better success with repairing the light fixture Joe broke. When the paint dries I'm posting that.


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