Casting Fun

Alice - straw casting is very simple. First find an old broommade of
real straw - not plastic. Cut out a bunch of straws about 6" long.
Find a can like vegetables come in, about 2 1/2" in diameter and 4
inches deep. The straws should loosely fill the can. Put a string or
rubber band around the straws to lightly compress them. Fill the can
about 1/3 full of water, add the straw. Melt the metal in a crucible,
and pour it down the center of the straw. Let it cool, then separate
the straw and find your neat shapes. Pick up the little bits at the
bottom and use for accents. Theway to clean the pieces is first to
pick out the accessable straw. Then heat the shapes and burn out the
rest. After that a session in the ultra sonic will get rid of the
ash. This process can be done with any organic material, beans,
rice, pine needles, even ice cubes. It is a popular project in
beginning metal working classes. Judy Hoch in
Denver, waiting for the Gem show to open today.

For those of you who are experimenting with casting into broom straw,
here’s another you can try.

  1. find a short steel can like an american tuna fish can, or any
    fireproof container a couple inches deep

  2. fill it with coarse rock salt, the kind that is sold for de-icing

  3. melt your metal in a hand-held crucible, or a depression in a
    charcoal block

  4. pour the molten metal into the rock salt

  5. try different ways of pouring, i.e. pour all in one spot, pour
    along a line, pour in a tight circle . . etc.

Hi All,

This is a very tardy THANK YOU to everyone who answered my questions
earlier this fall Re: casting fun and my decision Re: vacuum casting
set up versus centrifugal casting set up. ( Daniel Grandi, David
Hoffman, Dee, Sydney, Judy Hoch, Peter Rowe, those who suggested Don
Norris’ web site, etc. etc.)

I am deep into my first semester teaching a casting class at the
technical college here and have found your help and suggestions

Isn’t there an old saying … “Once taught, twice learned.” ?

Alice, still learning in WI where the gray skies are threatening and
the wind is howling. (November must be here!)