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Casting Buddies


#1

Hi Tammi, Thank you for your response. I want to know, what is the
weirdest thing you have cast? I have a list as long as my arm, but
I think the tops has to be the time someone sent a baby’s
umbilical stump…you know…that black bit that fall off the
baby’s belly button. She wanted it cast in sterling to make into a
tie tack for a fathers day present. Certainly a unique gift idea!
I’ve cast flowers, bugs, sticks and many other things. I have
returned several items I considered to be rather raunchy. I have
also returned many copyrighted & signed pieces. On another note…
I think it would be interesting to have a gathering of casters for
discussion. I believe a free exchange of ideas and techniques is
good for the field. I have helped many new casters with some
problem or other. I also teach workshops at my shop on a variety
of topics such as Moldmaking, Designing for Production,
Finishing(hand and mech) and Casting. Such a gathering wouldn’t
have to be a powerful high tech enclave like the Santa Fe
Symposium (which is great, have you been?) But I think it could be
very fruitful. Do you think this idea is feasable? J.A. Status: U


#2
 I want to know, what is the weirdest thing you have cast? I have
a list as long as my arm, but I think the tops has to be the time
someone sent a baby's umbilical stump...you know...that black bit
that fall off the baby's belly button. She wanted it cast in
sterling to make into a tie tack for a fathers day present.
Certainly a unique gift idea!

LOL! I’m not sure that I can top that, but we got crawfish…LIVE
crawfish to cast…we just invested the little guys, (after they
passed away) smelled horrible but worked…no, I’m sorry, but I
can’t top the tie tack umbilical cord. Oh, man. Did you mold it
or do a burn out? (gag).

   I've cast flowers, bugs, sticks and many other things. I have
returned several items I considered to be rather raunchy. 

I don’t wanna know what you’ve returned…actually, we returned a
foreskin (yes, human, so we think) once so I couldn’t list it in
the stuff we’ve cast area… Yes, yes, flowers, sticks, bugs,
and a kidney stone…

  I have also returned many copyrighted & signed pieces. On
another note...

Oh, me too, so many times, they come with requests for an
exclusive, or with a note that says “My girlfriend made this by
hand…” Yeah right.

   I think it would be interesting to have a gathering of
casters for discussion. I believe a free exchange of ideas and
techniques is good for the field. I have helped many new casters
with some problem or other. I also teach workshops at my shop on
a variety of topics such as Moldmaking, Designing for Production,
Finishing(hand and mech) and Casting. Such a gathering wouldn?)
But I think it could be very fruitful. Do you think this idea is
feasable?  

Never been to the Santa Fe Symposium. But I do think that the
more we communicate, the more we all learn. So many caster treat
you like you have the plague when you say you cast too. Example:
I was at a show where I had what I thought was a wonderful
conversation with another caster in our booth. I went to return the
visit at his booth and he started shrieking at me about knocking
him off and get the f**k out. I mean YELLING! I as just
*standing there, not even looking at anything! Security came, it
was horrible. So now I know, only be friendly to casters who are
proven to be friendly two times, not once. So be friendly again,
c’mon! LOL!

You let people come in to learn? Great idea, but oh dear god,
doesn’t it get in the way of production? I have a friend who buys
from us for his retail store, he came in one day to “help out” we
gave him really easy molds, and he shot 80% bad. Told me that our
molds were defective. So cute. No, hon, your wax work is
defective.

JA, glad to know ya. What’s status: U?

Tammi @ TanZyr


#3

Hi Tammi, Friendly again :slight_smile: I have no idea what “status:U” is, I
think it’s an Orchid thing. So many people think it’s so easy to
cast until they come for a visit. “I didn’t know it took so much
work!”. Take a casting job times 100 pcs time 100 customers, yes
it is involved. More later. J.A.


#4

John, I think the idea of combinine our info sounds very fruitful.
Count me in. I’ve been casting for over 20 years for myself, and
also worked in a number of production and retail custom stores. I
would like to share all I’ve learned. Where to from here? One of my
early castings was using a shop vac though I clearly don’t
reccomend this- too dangerious! I prefer the old fashioned
centrifugal casting. By the way,in case you were wondering, the
strangest piece I made was a silver ring for a neighbor that asked
me to sand and polish here gal-stone and set it in a custom made
ring. Don Wollwage in sunny sunny (finally) Northern Ca where it
reached 88 and now I can’t contain my roses.


#5

I sure would be interested. I mostly do large bronze castings
using ceramic shell, but we still do some smaller jewelry via
investment. There is ALWAYS something to learn, no matter
what the subject or how proficient a person is in the area of
discussion.

John

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

The playfulness of the Universe
is reflected in the dance of the stars!


#6
     I want to know, what is the weirdest thing you have cast?

Hi John, among the weirdest would have to have been the little
horned toads(before they became endangered species). Once made a
ring to accomodate 3 baby teeth…But the strangest ever, was I
fabricated a pendant for a gall stone! A man brought the stone in
that had been removed from his wife’s gall bladder and said he had
to pay ten thousand dollars for her operation and was going to make
her wear it around her neck…Needless to say, I wore gloves and
gagged the whole time. I made a killing on that one. :slight_smile: Ken


#7

Don,

Would be great sharing as Cynthia used to cast cintrifically, we
then bought a vacuum caster and now cast exclusively with it.
She is the one with vastly more casting experience than I but I
am sure I can get her to put in her 10 cents worth now and then.
As I stated, (I think) I cast mostly ceramic shell art bronzes
(did about 300 lbs yesterday, all turned out great!!). It is
amazing what folks want cast… isn’t it??? Where in N CA
are you? We are due west of Ukiah 1/2 between the towm of Ukiah
and the coast.

As to where do we go from here I am not sure. Got any ideas? I
am sure there are lots of questions, ideas and techniques that
different folks have, think and use. Just don’t know how to
motiviate the start.

John

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

The playfulness of the Universe
is reflected in the dance of the stars!


#8
 So many people think it's so easy to cast until they come for
a visit. "I didn't know it took so much work!". Take a casting
job times 100 pcs time 100 customers, yes it is involved. More
later.

I encourage my customers so come watch the process, and they go
away with alot more respect for it. And as far as volume goes, I
have a customer hopping up and down over a piece that we talked
about in January, she dinked about and tried to have it done
elsewhere, found out we were her best deal and how wants it
tomorrow. A lack of planning on her part does not constitute an
emergency on my part. We currently have 182 molds to be made
in house ahead of hers, she’ll have to get in line!

I talked to a friend about the strangest job he ever got, and an
old biker who had had his toes severed in a bike wreck wanted the
toes set into a necklace…yuck!

Tammi


#9

Hi Tammi, It’s surprising how many people (regular and art type)
think casters are something akin to a Xerox machine or a McDonalds
drive up window! I endeavor to treat each piece as my own. That
includes offering suggestions in the planning stage. Some folks
don’t know the time and expence they can save by consulting their
caster before making their production model. Granted, a lot of my
customers have done their own casting before coming to me and
their knowledge makes it easier to discuss their needs, but I
often find that beginers and novices are more open to tech
suggestions. The two most difficult aspects of our business are;

  1. Getting great wax injections! and 2. Conversing with
    customers. These are the two areas that are most satisfying to me
    when I get them right. (Yes there is such a thing as right and
    wrong) All our skills and years of experience are very important
    to the customers, but after all… it’s about people. When I see
    another great casting go out the door I know there will be more
    than one happy person on the other end (although one is enough)
    When I see production waxes falling out of the mold and casting
    with apparent ease I almost don’t mind being taken for granted. I
    know it took failure, experimentation, study and more study. All
    the people that went on ahead made a lot of this possible. Thank
    you. Is there enough time? Speaking of that…it’s time for me to
    make some molds! J.A.

#10

Hi Ken,

We had the same situation with a gentleman’s mechanical heart
valve. He had it replaced and the fact that it had kept him alive
had endeared it to him. Now he wears it as a pendant.

Mark P.
Wisconsin


#11
  It's surprising how many people (regular and art type) think
casters are something akin to a Xerox machine or a McDonalds
drive up window! 

A quick funny story…we’ve done work recently for a miniatures
guy, so he’s been referring people to us. The other day we got a
call from a miniaturist who wanted us to cast and assemble an
overhead projector. At about 1" by 1". First we explained that we
weren’t going to quote or do the teeny little electronic parts, and
when we asked if he had a sample or a master he cheerfully offered
to bring his overhead down as a master. LOL! My husband had to
put him on hold till he stopped laughing. He was thinking that a
full size projector would do as a master. Yep, we’ll just pop that
into our trusty shrinking machine (patent pending) and shrink it
down to miniature size!

 I endeavor to treat each piece as my own. That includes offering
suggestions in the planning stage. Some folks don't know the time
and expence they can save by consulting their caster before
making their production model. Granted, a lot of my customers
have done their own casting before coming to me and their
knowledge makes it easier to discuss their needs, but I often
find that beginers and novices are more open to tech suggestions.
The two most difficult aspects of our business are;

We’re lucky if we get any input in the planning stage at all! We
try but don’t always succeed. Customer who have done castings are
a dream, fabricators are fine if they’ll talk to us and listen to
us before hand (before fabricating).

   1. Getting great wax injections! and  2. Conversing with
customers. These are the two areas that are most satisfying to
me when I get them right. (Yes there is such a thing as right and
wrong) All our skills and years of experience are very important
to the customers, but after all... it's about people. When I see
another great casting go out the door I know there will be more
than one happy person on the other end (although one is enough)

Hoo boy, I can tell you horror stories about wax injection in
Florida! Our factory has a zillion fans, but is un
air-conditioned, and molds that inject at one pressure and
temperature in the morning temp/humidity inject at an entirely
different pressure and temperature in the afternoon during the
summer. I actually love talking to customers, getting their
feedback and ideas and goals. Communications are critical to
everyone involved’s satisfaction.

   When I see production waxes falling out of the mold and
casting with apparent ease I almost don't mind being taken for
granted. I know it took failure, experimentation, study and more
study. All the people that went on ahead made a lot of this
possible. Thank you.  Is there enough time? Speaking of
that...it's time for me to make some molds! 

Happy molding!


#12

Hi Mr. Henkel,

I have a question for you. If you cast an item for a customer
(their wax) and you have an imperfection in the casting, who fixes
it? I do my own casting in house, except for platinum. We do about
20-30 pieces a week, almost all 14K or 18K gold. I am not as expert
as you but really have very few pits or problems. I on occasion
cast the waxes for other local shops. My policy is that if your
casting comes back with any imperfections, I will feel bad, but
you will carve the new wax, or repair the casting. I do this
because I am not charging enough to take responsibility. To just
cast your wax I charge 15% over the cost of the metal plus labor,
maybe $10.00. If we carve and cast the item we charge considerably
more, and they are guaranteed a perfect piece. I am not in the
business of just casting and this stuff is usually almost a favor
for friendly competitors. I have noticed that if Quality Casting in
NY screws up a platinum piece for us that they call an ask for a
new wax, they never would recarve or repair it. They will make a
rtv mold of the wax first, but not for free. So what is your policy
if all is not perfect? They has to happen to you once in a while,
at least I hope it does.

Mark P.
Went camping and it was so cold and windy we had to bug out early.


#13

Wondered if you, or anyone on line would be interested in making
a mold and casting in 14K, a copy of the Pincess Diana ring. I
have a very fine illustration of it, it contains an emerald cut
center with four trillions and balance pave style, I would supply
all stones. Anxious to hear.


#14

Hi Mark, Yes I am human, and so make an occasional mistake.
Sometimes the wax is so convoluted with a miriad of "hot spots"
that even with extensive spruing there are problems. I usually
talk these things out with the customer before hand. If I simply
mess up and have a mold on hand I simply make another one. If it
is a one-of-a-kind piece I take care how I sprue and cast. I can
count on one hand how many pieces I’ve lost in 22 years.(yes I
have all my fingers) If you think about it, you know if you could
have done better. If there is some grey area I give the customer
the benifit of the doubt. I would rather lose a labor charge than
a customer. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time and expertise.
Thats why they come to you. There are plenty of beginers that will
do it cheap for the experience. J.A.


#15

Hi RickiCo, Have you contacted the copyright holder of the
Princess Di Ring? If you have written permission, signed and
notarized by their lawyer I’d be glad to get your ring into
production J.A.


#16

Hi John: Everyone was making Princess Di rings in the 80’s without
permission from anyone, I made up one for my sister-in-law you know
the Sapphire w/diamonds around it. If it changes after someone is no
longer around in body than excuse my ignorance! Sincerely Chris
http://www.tace.com/glitters


#17

Hi RickiCo, Have you contacted the copyright holder of the
Princess Di Ring? If you have written permission, signed and
notarized by their lawyer …

I’m a little confused. If this is her sapphire and diamond
engagement ring, it is a traditional wire mounting design. Simply a
large sapphire with maybe 14 diamonds surrounding it. Can such a
thing really be copyrighted? There is nothing about this ring that
is innovative or new.

Bruce D. Holmgrain e-mail: @Bruce_Holmgrain
http://www.goldwerx.nu phone:: 703-593-4652


#18

Hi John: That did not cross my mind, but thank you for bringing
it to my attention. The ring my customer wants is slightly
different, in that she wants a princess center stone. We may have
to modify the original, I don’t think it will be necessary to get
an o.k. under those circumstances, give me some feedback. Ricki


#19

I don’t know what U.S. law has to say on the matter (my guess is
you can copyright just about anything, but unless the item is truly
unique, defending the copyright can become ludicrously expensive
and pointless in the majority of cases). But a couple of months
ago I was in London and went to Hatton Garden to look over the
jewelry district. In an hour or so of window-shopping I saw so many
Princess Di-style blue sapphire/diamond rings of the type Bruce
describes my head was swimming. If anyone is prosecuting over
knock-offs, I don’t think the word has reached London. On the
other hand, I was there when the “Titanic diamond” (Ceylon
sapphire/diamond) pendant was announced to the world by a London
jewelry firm. If anyone is planning to sell a “Titanic” line, I’d
give the matter some very careful legal research!

Rick Martin


#20

There have been several posts regarding casting gall stones. This
would be one job I would refuse. Before my major career change, my
education and degree was in bio-chemistry. In Organic Chem lab
experiments we had to use great caution when grinding and using the
contents in gallstones. I will spare the details but this is a
definite health risk. Even the handling of the stones was done
under contaminant conditions. Your health should be the first
consideration.

Just my opinion.
Charlene
CharDen Designs
Monterey Bay - California - USA