I guess I'm not really sure what to expect from a caster. I have
always used one source, and they will mold my pieces if necessary and
cast in any of the metals I ever need. I found them a number of
years ago, and I don't even remember how. Up until recently, all of
the work I sent them was one or 2 of a piece. Sometimes molding
something to duplicate, most often carving a wax and sending it off.
They always send back the pieces simply cut off the tree, with a
piece of sprue remaining. Because of the limited number of pieces,
finishing was never a major factor for me.
Recently, though, I have started producing the items in my line in
larger numbers. It sure would be nice to have the sprues cut off
closer, perhaps ground smooth, and perhaps tumbled to some degree of
finishing. All of this would cost extra, I'm sure. I guess I need
to hunt around both with my current company and others to find out
just how much, and whether I can more easily absorb the extra cost or
the extra labor of doing it myself. At retail, I could certainly
afford a bit higher cost without having to drastically adjust my
prices, but for the large runs of wholesale pieces, I am working
awfully close now.
I have also seen the differences made by the wax. The degree of
mold lines varies frequently, usually from one batch to another
rather than within a batch. There are sometimes small bubbles of
metal, and these will often be the same size and position from piece
to piece. Time to do some research, I guess. Jim