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.