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Cuttlebone casting


#1

I am wondering if anyone has any on the origins or
history of cuttlebone / cuttlefish casting, or knows of any
references I can research for this There appears to be
plenty of on lost wax or sand casting but not on the
first uses of cuttlebone. Looking forward to hearing from you,

Jenny Williams
Sydney, Australia


#2

I come from the ocean, cuttlebone is balen (whale), cuttlefish
is squid. I won’t eat whale or use any part of it I bocott stores
that do, but I love my squid/ cuttlefish (because it has a
beak(go figure)… Yeah how do ya cast in squid? RS

Jenny Williams wrote:


#3

Dear Jenny, re the cuttlefish query, ask Graham Farr in Jewellery
Trades at the Design Centre, Enmore where we both teach. Graham’s
got a heap of stuff on the technique. All the best Jenny, hope this
finds you well, from from your colleague and friend in Sydney, Rex
Merten.


#4

Cuttlefish bone is a part of the squid that when dried is a white
long oval pourous material which can be carved orwhich will receive
an impression from a hard object. Casting is done by facing two
pieces flat on one side, making the impression or carving a
depression in one or both sides, then carving a sprue channel and
several vents leading away from the cavity, binding the halves
together and pouring the molten metal into the sprue hole. Creates
an interesting surface texture. Jerry from Kodiak.


#5

Heh heh. You’re one wierd guy, ROY. I call cuttlefishbone
cuttlebone for short. I cast in the bone part.

I just taught it last night at my beginners jewellery class, as it
happens, and if you read up on it in most any jewelry techniques
book, I’ll discuss my impovements on the normal ways.

Brian
B r i a n � A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r �
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND
http://www.adam.co.nz/eyewear/ eyeglasses
http://www.adam.co.nz/jewellery/ jewelry
http://www.adam.co.nz/workshop/ teaching workshops
http://www.adam.co.nz/ruthbaird/ wife, and another fab jeweller


#6

Yeah how do ya cast in squid? RS

Jenny - sorry, I have never seen anything on the origins of this
process, but here is an explanation of the process:

  1. Find some cuttlefish bone. It is the same kind that is used
    for parakeets to sharpen their beaks on and can be bought at a pet
    store. If you ever get really into doing this, some pet stores
    sell them in 25 pieces or more boxes.

  2. File a flat on the chalky side and then cut in half (a
    jeweler’s saw works) so you have the 2 halves of your “mold”. For
    bigger castings you can use 2 pieces. Rubbing the 2 flat sides
    together will grind away a bit from each side to make sure the 2
    pieces fit together with no spaces.

  3. Now you can make your design 2 ways:

  • Carve a design into one half with a sharp/blunt
    pencil-like/knife-like instrument of your choosing. The flat edge
    from sawing the bone in half will be where your sprue is, so try to
    keep the design close to that edge. Carve a funnel for the sprue at
    the top and a channel leading from that to your design. Try to
    make it as wide as possible. Then add some vents (6 or more) by
    dragging a scribe/ pin tip from the outer edge of the design to
    the edge of the bone. This will help the metal flow in better.
    You should especially add vents to the furthest reaches and the tip
    of any part of the design that sticks out. Then put the 2 halves
    together and tie them together using copper wire or binding wire.

  • Take a solid object - can even use wax models - and press it
    half way into one half of your “mold”. Stick 3-4 cut up toothpicks
    or matchsticks in half way around the object, not touching it.
    These will be guides so you match up the 2 halves correctly again
    after pulling them apart. Push the other half down on the sticks
    and model and press gently together until the two halves of the
    mold meet. Pull apart, take out model, and carve in your sprue and
    vents. Put back together and tie together with binding wire or
    copper wire.

  1. Now prop up your mold on a fire proof surface. I bent and
    shaped some brass wire to hold up the mold. Once it is in place
    and won’t fall over, I warm it up by putting my bench lamp directly
    over it. Then get out a crucible and handle and start melting the
    metal ( I have done both sterling and gold). Once it is molten
    pour it quickly into the funnel of your mold. Let sit a few seconds
    to be sure the metal is set, then pull apart mold and take out with
    tweezers and quench and pickle. Hopefully the mold will have filled
    and you will have a casting with a fingerprint-like texture. If it
    didn’t, you might want to work on making the sprue as wide as
    possible and as short to the model cavity as possible. I am going
    to try and draw some steps to go along with this, so maybe it will
    be clearer.

If you are really interested in more casting
Practical Casting by Tim McCreight is a great little book and covers
cuttlefish and making good models and has a whole lot of good
tricks and

Jill
@jandr
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk


#7

Excellent treatise on cuttlefish bone casting.

I never fouund the binding wire to bind tight enough. Masking
tape works really well and binds very tightly.

My .05 worth.
Karen Christians
Fly Fish Design
282 Lexington St.
Woburn, MA 01801

@metalart

Current Artwork:


#8

Nice work, Jill. May I add just a few points here?

    pencil-like/knife-like instrument of your choosing.  The
flat edge from sawing the bone in half will be where your sprue
is, so try to keep the design close to that edge. Carve a funnel
for the sprue at the top and a channel leading from that to your
design.  Try to make it as wide as possible.  

The sprue doesn’t always have to be on the parting line. Anyone
else tried putting the sprue through the back? Try drilling through
the tough skin and carving out a funnel shape with a huge
countersink. I do button or coin shapes that way. After pouring the
casting the sprue is attached to the back and may become a useful
blob to attach the button/coin. Want two blobs to make into a
brooch? then drill two holes al la sand casting, and pour the metal
down one hole til it appears up the other.

    Then add some vents (6 or more) by dragging a scribe/ pin tip
from the outer edge of the design to the edge of the bone.  This
will help the metal flow in better. 

Many people may like the cuttlebone texture, so to get this scrub
hard with a toothbrush to enhance it. In that case, I’ve found you
won’t need to scratch vents.

    together and tie them together using copper wire or binding
wire.

Rubber bands? Use several. I do use binding wire, and I need to
twist small sections into a Z shape to get it tight, just like
you’d do when binding a piece for soldering.

Another tip: cast first in pewter to check the flow in your
sprue/design. Repeat castings are possible if you don’t superheat
the pewter. When you’re satisfied, then pour with your choice of
metal, silver, gold, etc etc.

Brian
B r i a n � A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r �
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND
http://www.adam.co.nz/eyewear/ eyeglasses
http://www.adam.co.nz/jewellery/ jewelry
http://www.adam.co.nz/workshop/ teaching workshops
http://www.adam.co.nz/ruthbaird/ wife, and another fab jeweller