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Casting fun

Hi everyone,

I’m looking for some very old info. I believe an article appeared in
the June 1977 issue of “Rock and Gem Magazine” explaining “broom
castings”. I think the process was to pour drippings of melted metal
into a container holding wet straw from a broom. Anyone remember it?
Or tried it? Can you give me any more details about it?

Alice. - in muggy WI.

Hi. I don’t know about the article, but I have recenly done this. I
used an asparagus can, cut a broom apart, tied it with binding wire
and put it in the can. Fill the can with water so your broom won’t
catch fire. Then pour molten metal into the broom. It makes great
pieces to work with. Have fun. I know I did. Jay

How about Potato casting, any one tried it. after you take your flask
out of the oven, you melt your metal in the button cavity and when it
is ready, you put 1/2 of a potato cut side down on the button hole
with the metal and the steam produced will force the metal into your
mold. I did it once as a kid before I had a centrifuge machine.
worked pretty good


Try using the “accidental” method. Fill a bucket ( preferably metal)
with cool water. Place it on the floor . Using a crucible with a
good handle, melt the metal. When melted, slowly pour the molten
metal a little at a time into the bucket. You will get a myriad of
shapes. My favorites are sort of cup shaped and these work well as
settings for pearls…

Rob Ringold
Ringold’s Jewelers Since 1908.
Huntingdon Valley, PA

Hello Alice, I used this technique before. I used an old metal tub,
though the new plastic ones may work for awhile. Cut off the broom
and leave a little of the handle. You can hold the broom up in the
pan with a vise grip on the end of the handle stub. Or you can place
the broom between two bricks. Fill the tub with water. Make sure
that almost all the broom is under water. The parts above will burn
and smell. Melt the silver in a crucible and clean with a little
borax. Pour the silver over the broom (bristle end). Different
speeds and different amounts of flow will affect the results. I used
to combine small parts with interesting textures. I also had a few
large enough to mount small stones on. It is a great project for those
days where everything goes wrong. You can redo as many times as you
like. Steve Ramsdell

Hi, Alice;

I do not hae the article, but have done broom casting. It’s pretty
simple. You need a broom (with real, not plastic straws!!). But the
straws off the broom and bundle them up and tie them at the bottom. A
bunch about 3 inches diameter is plenty big. Find a container as tall
(or almost as tall) as the bundle. (I use an old plastic gallon milk
bottle, but off to the proper height. Stand the straw bundle up in the
container. You’ll probably want to use a few rocks to prop it up.
Fill with water up to about 1.5-2" below the top of the straws. Splash
water on the part above the waterline to wet the straws thoroughly.
(so they don’t catch fire). Heat the metal in a crucible until molten,
then pour on the top of the straws. You can experiment with different
amounts of the metal, and the height you pour it from, and just how
you pour it, to get different effects.

Splash more water on it to cool off the metal; then remove the metal.
(You’ll probably need to remove the bundle and turn it over and shake

If you don’t like what you got, you can always remelt it and try

margaret, in So Utah, where we sure wish we had a bit of your rain!

Rob Ringold, RE fun casting: Do you find you get different shapes if
you use a shallow pan of water vs. a pail? I have done the same thing
for years but I have always used my shallow Pyrex dish.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

To all,

My Uncle, who taught me the casting business, also developed quite a
personal collection of oddities made of gold and silver, all cast from
small plastic children’s toys. Anything made in plastic can be burned
out directly and cast in metal. He has a sterling chess set (one side
plated yellow), a collection of all the Presidents in a bust form, and
many little cars and trucks in yellow gold with white gold accents.
He would save the rubber wheels and re-install them after the body was

Today the toy manufacturers cannot make anything very small (children
can swallow them), but I have made a very impressive Christmas
nativity set in sterling, which we get out for display during the
season. Take a trip in a toy department some time and let your
imagination take over. You may be surprised.


Questions on more casting fun. I’ve decided to try pouring some
silver in the metal bucket of water. The only crucible I have is the
one that fits in my centrifugal caster. I’m thinking I could hold it
in my tongs and melt right in there and pour out the little hole.
Would there be any reason this wouldn’t work? Also I’ve got scrap that
has a liver of sulfer oxidation in deep grooves. Should I attempt to
get that all off before melting or might it work without bothering
with that? If I were casting with it I’d of course have clean silver
and use half new grain, but for this I want to do it the
easy way since it is an experiment any way. Your thoughts? Annette

Annette, just a thought: if you intend to hold and manipulate your
casting style crucible with a pair of tongs to pour your gold into
water, it might be a good idea to clamp or wire the tongs closed so it
isn’t necessary to ‘hold them’ closed manually. This will make the
operation slightly less dangerous, as the crucible will not be able
to come loose or twist in place, which could result in spilling
the molten metal prematurely.

Jon Michaels wrote about casting plastic toys. I have tried to
electroform plastic toys and after electroforming I have tried to
burn out the plastic. The goal is to enamel the electrformed toy. I
have found the plastic very troublesome to burn out. It stinks. It
makes a mess of the burn out kiln and does not completely burn out.
What has been your experience and how did you do it? What temp and
how long a burn out? Hannah in Seattle

I’ve only cast using plastic once and you’re right. It stinks and it
makes a mess of the kiln floor.

The only thing I could do was ventilate really well, some plastics
produce highly toxic fumes as they burn, and use a kiln floor liner.

Hi Hannah,

I used a six hour cycle with the top temp at about 1250 F. Usually
the only problem I ran into was a little ash left in the flask, which
ended up not to be a problem as I used large, multiple sprues, and I
lightly tapped the flask upside down to shake them out. No noticeable
mess in the oven, and the smell doesn’t come into play as I burn out
overnight, so everything is ready to go in the morning. When I made
the last pieces, I was using a small Jelrus casting machine with a 100
DWT capacity, so larger pieces had to be cast in sections and
assembled later. Otherwise no problems. Hope I answered all your
questions. Mike

Why not try to dip the item into a rubber type liquid that would get
solid. Then careful split the rubber covering – it would probably be
quite thin. The next step might be to fill the rubber mold with a wax
that would burn out better. Strip off the rubber covering and you
would have a wax that you would cast in the regular way. You could
add spues or whatever else needed. You could also do any recarving
that you might want to do.


Hannah in Seattle, One possible solution would be to only use
polystyrene toys. Polystyrene can be melted and dissolved using
acetone. I guess a person could keep several solvents and test each
toy to see if any dissolve it but polystyrene and acetone is the only
combo I know about. Geo

Hello Ringdoc,

… I’ve don it with some wet coton.Not totally wet but wet
enough to produce the steam.The old way of casting !!You should try
the methode of the flask hanging on a cord and then turn it by
yourself to create the centrifugale force.Keep everybody away around
your area,at least everybody you like and take some precautions for
yourself.Be careful and have fun

Regards Pedro from the sunny and warm germany (after all!!!)

Find a blacksmith near you, and ask about “tong rings”. These are
either a “ring” that looks like a link of chain, or a “c” shaped
piece that slip over the reins of the tongs holding them under
tension, and thus clamp the object being held in the jaws very
tightly indeed. Any blacksmith will use some variation of these.