Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pewter Casting

A couple months ago I carved a mold and cast pewter for the second time in my life to make tokens for the Bears of Northshield. I, having zero artistic skills, managed to produce items that closely resembled Ewoks.

My friend Thuri, who has been a professional jeweler for 13 years carved this.

Gee, I wonder who did which bear....


Anyhow, we used a joint compound for our mold, which worked fine for the one time we used it, but does not have any sort of longevity. Last Saturday we (Thuri) carved a mold out of soapstone, which will last through numerous pourings.

Here is the process:

Thuri drawing out the design

The design ready for carving

The carved mold ready for pouring

Heating the pewter. Pewter has a low melt point so it is perfect project to do on the stove. We melted the pewter in a crucible on her gas burner and transferred the melted pewter using a stainless steel spoon (stainless steel has a much higher melt point so it was not effected by the heat of the liquid pewter).

Pouring the liquid pewter into the mold. The soapstone transfers heat a lot better than the joint compound we used for the earlier molds so thicker gloves were in order when handling the mold.

This is not a perfect pour (still missing the top of the spear) but we are getting closer.

The finished bears.

I honestly think our (Her) first bears turned out better so we (She) may carve a new mold and we will try again. The design was a bit big to get the pewter to flow and I think that our sprew was not quite right. Currently the Crown has enough for 4 more reigns (2 years) so we have plenty of time. I'm going to pick up some more soapstone and pewter at Lilies. It was a fun project and now I want to make other stuff, maybe buttons.

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