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Advice on casting services

Hello all,

I admire the expertise of the folks on this list, and therefore
am asking for your adivise. I am a hobbyist jeweler in the San
Fransico bay area; friend has comissioned a piece from me which
requires 20 or so identical pieces. With my current set up I
could only cast one piece at a time so I would like to contract
the casting out. The final dimensions are about 21/2 inches by 2
inches by 1/4 inch. Can anyone recommend a reliable casting
service? Also, what is the usual proceedure when you need
multiple identical pieces? Do I send the origional wax and have
the casting service run the duplicates, or should I cast the
origional, make a mold and send them the waxes? What can I
expect of pay for these serivces? What quality of castings can I
reasonably expect?

Thank you in advance for your input.


Nikki Hull-Campbell

hi nikki,

if you don’t care about local, why don’t you try ja henckel on
our list?

if you do care about local, there are at least two casters in
the phelan building on 760 market st. i’ve never used either
one, but a person i respect highly does. if you want someone to
reccmd one of those casters, talk to someone at revere,( in the
same building ) i imagine they would tell you something you’d
like to know.

best regards,

geo fox

Hi Nikki,

The usual procedure I follow when making multiples is to give
the caster a metal model to make the mold from. That usually
costs about $15. Then there is a per shot charge of about $1-6,
depending on how large the pieces are and then I am charged for
the metal. The quality of the castings for me is very good -
barely noticeable seams (my crummy castings topic refers to the
last 2 castings I had done which were both 1 piece from wax).
Hope this helps.



Would it make sense, after you have polled those you know about
who is a good caster, to have the one you choose do a silver
piece or two for you. I know at least one caster in my area who
is a “buck a gram” or less on silver. Some go as low as
sixty-five cents a gram selling silver castings, so it shouldn’t
cost more than three dollars or so to try a small ring. If
they’ll let you do that cheerfully, at least you’ll know that
they won’t be a big hassle to deal with.

I am not a great craftsman, I do some distinctly low brow stuff,
but I’m learning. I got a few silver rings at a show because I
had some 8mm pink ice hearts (they still buy them in Tennessee
— Jellico, Maynardville — you have to visit us, I will take
you to the Union County Coon Club) I had picked up cheap that I
wanted to set and get rid of. I didn’t look hard at the castings
when I got them, but I paid the price in finishing. Lots of
uneven spots inside the basket to deal with which I had to thrum
with cord and bobbing compound (I haven’t heard a thread on
thrumming yet) — no other way to get to them. Also found pits
I finally had to fill with solder because they wouldn’t polish
out without thinning the shank down unacceptably. So, find a
caster who does it right and your finishing will be minimized.
Must have spent an hour each minimum on those four dollar rings!
“Pricing one of a kind work” — these are one of a kind, I
guarantee! Probably I have $100 in each one!

Good luck with finding the caster. Let us know how you make


We are about 3 hours north of San Francisco and we do some
casting for others. We can make a rubber (RTV) from the original
wax or if you insist a vulcanized mold from a metal “master”. We
guarantee either mold but for this we charge more ($40.00 or so
for what you have described). We cast silver, gold and bronze
(usually for the larger pieces up to about 85 lbs). We can either
supply the metal or use yours but if yours is not new casting
shot the castings cannot be guaranteed otherwise we guarantee
the castings (as long as they are not one of original waxes with
no backup mold). We charge on a per can basis, the larger the
can the more it costs, multiples in the can are not a problem (we
will fit as many in as is reasonably possible). Small cans are
about $15.00 (2-4 rings) large cans up to $30.00 and up depending
on the number of pieces (if you wanted 100 rings in one large can
we have a lot more wax time than if we have 5 or 6 larger pieces
in the can). Bronze castings are an intirely different process
and if one is interested contact us directly so as to not clutter
this list with larger art casting talk.

Our prices are higher than others on this list have stated they
pay, but we offer personal service and we guarantee our work.
You should, however, be able to find sombody doing casting work
for others in the greater San Jose area, try asking at the
local colleges in the jewelry departments. The Falen blgd. in SF
is good too. Also try Tom Heater Company (jewelry supplies) in
SF and ask who they might know of doing this sort of work.

Best of luck. Ever thought about learning to make your own
molds?? I do give instruction on this and it is pretty cheap to
get into especially if you have a vacuum unit. Just a

John and Cynthia/MidLife Crisis Enterprises
Maiden Metals/C. T. Designs/ Bloomin’ Wax Works. etc.

PO Bx 44, Philo
CA 95466
Ph 707-895-2635 FAX 707-895-9332

If your’re headed in the right direction,
each step, no matter how small, is getting you closer to your goal.