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Choosing my first crucible or salamander

Happy Easter All!

I am going to have my first attempt at cuttle fish casting, some
rings and small pendants and therefore need to buy a
crucible/salamander and some tongs.

what size cruicble should i start with, some of the sizes i have seen
dont really mean that much to me!

anything else i need to be considering? I have some fluctuating
dexterity issues due to MS, so was wondering if a crucible with the
wider top than bottom would help me keep it in the tongs more easily
Any advice and/or links to recommended tongs and crucibles would be
much appreciated. I am in the Uk.

Kind regards

Hi Nikky,

any specific reason to go for cuttle fish casting? Have you checked
out Delft Clay casting? Delft clay is a form of sand casting capable
of reproducing very fine details. You can find a lot of tutorials
on-line (a google search turned up
as a site also including tutorial videos - no I’m not connected :slight_smile:

It has some of the limitations of other sand casting i.e. no
undercuts but is really easy to learn. Not very expensive either -
the clay can be reused for long - it is just the surface closest to
the object (that was melted silver) that has to be scrapped…

The hardest bit to learn is to make the vent holes so your pour is
successful and finishing afterwards is as easy as possible.

You need the clay, two aluminium rings (explained in the tutorials)
to pack the clay into, talcum powder to prevent the two half’s to
stick together (you need to get the master out), a steel ruler to
even out the delft clay in the ring, a hammer (medium size) to pack
the clay with, a sharp knife to make the sprue with and a 1-1,5 mm
drill (or piece of wire) to make the went holes with

And the cubicle you asked about of course - I use “std” type with a
tong that the cubicle is screwed tight in place in - i.e. no risk for
accidently loosing your grip - don’t know what’s available in the UK

Check it out - it’s a great technique…

Lars Dahlberg

Hi Nicky,

don’t get one too small just because you are only melting a small
amount of metal, they cool down very quickly and your metal will
also cool. I recommend a salamander 1/0. It will hold abot 40gm brim
full and is wide enough for you to see the metal as you pour. If you
can find them get longer tongs, about 18". you hold them part way up
and rest the back end underneath your forearm, this will help
stabilise them.

Tim Blades

Hello Nikki, It sounds as though you are planning to use tongs you
must squeeze to hold onto the crucible. If so, wrap a heavy piece of
wire around the tongs and give the wire a twist to lock the crucible
into place. You don’t need to be worrying about dropping the crucible
full of hot metal. If you buy a 200 dwt. crucible, you can melt about
50 dwt in it. Have fun.

Tom Arnold

Nikky, If you can find them, there are clay crucibles made in
Colombia that are fabulous. They are crudely made but the shape and
size would fit your situation perfectly. The handle is also clay and
is only about 6 inches long…it never gets hot…not even warm. But
the crucible itself will get red hot. They normally come in two
sizes…small for about 15gm or large for about 45 gms.

The only place I have ever seen them is The Mine Shaft in Pompano
Beach, FL but the owner tells me they are no longer available because
US customs breaks the handles of every other one to see if there are
drugs in them!!! If you can find them they are great!

Nonetheless, Mine Shaft tells me that carries a dish
type crucible that is very light with a wide opening. They have also
recently come out with an ultra-light handle for them, item
CAS-250.02 on their web site.

Good luck. Cheers, Don in SOFL.

Hey nikki the first time I used cuttlefish casting I taped a shallow
crucible to an old pair of tongs using masking tape! I concentrated
the heat on the underside, then the metal, then when it started
rolling, onto the lip of the crucible and a little on the cuttlefish
and then poured.

I was just making basic silver models and wasn’t interested in the
lovely pattern of the bone but it worked fine for me!

I just hope you have been warned a out the smell!

All the best
Laura in Brighton, the gulls just don’t stop crying!

I also have to put in a plug for the WHIP ( Wire Handled Ingot
Pourer) stainless steel handle made for the shallow ceramic melting
dishes (which come in about 4 different sizes). With this
spring-loaded handle, you can easily switch the melting dish’s
pouring lip from right-hand to left- hand pour, or swap out a new
dish easily and quickly. With the WHIP, your melting dish can be held
quite close to your ingot mold ( or cuttlefish mold) with great
control, as you pour. The handle, being stainless steel, doesn’t
transmit heat, so it won’t get hot near your fingers. The set is
pretty cheap, too.

Just about all the supply houses carry the WHIP and assorted dishes,
manufactured by Eurotool.

Jay Whaley

Can we all be clear that taping a crucible to a pair of tongs with
masking tape is NOT safe workshop practice.

Jamie Hall