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Casting question

Hi, I’m about to send out a couple of wax carvings to a casting
company for the first time and I am curious as to how to make sure
that my designs are kept private. Do you ask for the molds from the
casting company, or do you ask the casting company to sign a privacy
agreement? What is normally done?


Dear Catrina, If you are sending waxes, they will generally invest
them and cast without making a mold. Investment is plaster-like
material, and breaks away from the model after casting is done. You
may be able to pay them to make a rubber or silicone mold for you and
cast multiples, but they will charge you for mold-making. It cost
$25-30 last time I checked, which was years ago. So you will receive
original castings from them from your models, and no molds will
exist. Of course, any unscrupulous jeweler can make a mold of
something that they have their hands on. That is why you have the
right to ask a casting company about their policy concerning privacy
of your materials. They should be very willing to assure you that
they keep your designs safe. This is not an uncommon question to ask,
so go ahead and discuss it with them. If you choose to have a mold
made, you will have to get the metal original casting back from them,
finish it the way you want it, and then send it out again to have the
mold and multiples made. I hope this helps. You might want to consult
a book on casting, such a Tim McCreight’s. It is available from Rio
Grande in Albuquerque.

– M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler

    Hi, I'm about to send out a couple of wax carvings to a
casting company for the first time and I am curious as to how to
make sure that my designs are kept private. Do you ask for the
molds from the casting company, or do you ask the casting company
to sign a privacy agreement?  What is normally done? 

Hi Catrina, We do a lot of casting and finished products for
designers and stores… Normally, Once we have made molds for the
item, it is not neccessary for us to keep the model in our
possession… It is easier for everyone concerned if the caster keeps
the mold as all you would have to do with us is email us the quantity
you need and we can go right into production … faster than waiting
to receive the mold by snail mail… Now, some designers ask to sign
a contract , which we would do… with us, you have no fear of us
copying your design … Our reputation is very good in that respect
as well as our quality. I do know that some other casters are not so
scrupulous which is why this question always pops up on orchid. Hope
this helps answer your questions. Daniel Grandi

We do casting, finishing, cnc , in gold,silver, bronze,pewter for
people in the trade

Catrina, You may want to consider doing your own castings in the
future, to eliminate any doubts in your mind. I suggest enrolling
into a school in your area that teaches casting, it really is not
that difficult.

Sincerely, Richard Lucas…

Catrina, Actually you can do both if you desire. A reputable casting
company will be glad to sign an agreement that will keep your design
confidential. On the other hand, most will also agree to return the
master model and mold if you with…after all, you paid for them. If
they hedge or refuse to do either or both, look for another caster!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry. @coralnut.

Actually, this is very true… In our case, we always return master
models /production models upon request. Molds… it makes far more
sense for the caster to have them in their posession , this way, you
simply need to email an order or call it in … this saves a lot of
time ( mailing molds back and forth) and saves shipping costs…
particularly in silver when you are only ordering 1 to a few dozen
pieces… you don’t want to be adding more to your costs than you
already are ??? When we have a new customer, the first thing we do
is assign them a customer designation Example: my company is Racecar
Jewelry Co. …My designation is RJC then , all molds made have a
number assigned to them such as RJC 1 ---- through 1000+ .

You might be customer CBS for Charles Belle Studio and each item you
send a model to us for mold making , it will have CNS + number
assigned and permanently embossed with a special machine we
developed for doing exactly this process. Now, the number can never
be removed … Most casters are no where near as sophisticated…
usually, when you get a mold back from a casting company, it’s got
all kinds of writting on it , Rarely an identification number and
this is why many people have problems dealing with casting
companies… they have to fax pictures of their items to casters so
they can try to identify the design by searching through tons of
molds either in a customers box if you are lucky …or they are
scattered throughout there shop haphazardly. I have personally seen
this when I was on the road as a consultant . You know this is
happening when you call your caster and he says he has to call you
back once he finds the molds you are looking for !!! We have
successfully eliminated this problem with our number/tracking
system. We have many customers with over 300 items that are done by
us, so this is a very important part of any operation. We spend No
time looking for molds As every customer has a storage area for
their molds with a numbering system on the storage area as well
.Many customers leave their models with us also and these are locked
in a safe area in a box with their numbers and name assigned to
that box. We return models and molds to customers anytime they
request it… However, with the customers who tend to run large
orders through us, they usually prefer for us to keep the
molds/models as we may have up to 10 molds of 1 style… Usually the
customer starts with a small order,then they start ordering hundreds
… in this case, we need to make additonal molds very quickly as
large runs through us are completed within 3 weeks . The more molds
you have of a particular style, the quicker the order can be
produced.This becomes even more critical if the item is thick / heavy
or difficult to wax… once the injection sytems are set up for that
mold, you don’t want to have to adjust your waxpot injection
pressures as this will slow you down considerably… so more molds
will produce more and better waxes per hour… In this case, it is
important for a caster to keep models until all molds are made. So,
yes, a reliable , good caster should return your models and molds
when the customer asks for them to be returned either with their
order or at anytime that they are requested… But sometimes a good
caster may need to keep them for a while due to the above mentioned
process or may need to ask to have the models back for more molds to
be made. This, Should not be considered " hedging" ( or , in better
words … not willing to return them).

We have also seen the case where a customer does want all molds
models returned which we do immediately and the next time they want
to order something, they can’t find it in their own studio because
they are not used to organizing and tracking things like this. We
have also been in a situation where a mold wore out and we requested
the models back and the customer told us that he did not have it
anymore because he sold it as a finished piece !!!

So my advice is … find a good caster you can trust, who is also
organized and responsive to your needs as a jeweler or designer.

We do casting, finishing, mold making, model making,cnc/cadcam
stamping, badges, emblematic jewelry , enameling,soldering fusion, in
gold, silver, bronze/brass, and pewter for people in the trade.
Please contact us off list at

We are an orchid advertiser and I believe it is important that all
businesses that offer a service contact Dr Hanuman for advertising
rates… this will help the orchid funds greatly and it will improve
your business and reputation as it has done to our company. Thank you
Dr Hanuman and all my orchid customers. Best wishes to all Daniel

Barbara, waiting to post on list, as I’m only receiveing the Digest
format and there’s a lagtime, would never get your question
answered. We need more

  1. What type torch and fuel are you using ?
  2. How much metal are you trying to melt at one time ?
  3. Did you pre-heat the crucible to a glowing red, then pour in the
    casting grain ? Silver ?

I’d be happy to help you if you’ll send me back those answers.
Somehow, you aren’t getting the heat necessary to do the job - it
takes a lot !

Pat Hicks
Instructor of Lost Wax Casting in Virginia

When one is casting using a customer’s white gold ring, what will
happen if the ring has previously been rhodium plated? Does the
rhodium disappear, or will it form harder spots in the finished

-BK in BWA