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Large pewter ingot - how to use?


#1

Hi all,

Ok. I am baffled. This is the first time I have used pewter.

The story is that I got me a nice pewter ingot to use from Rio
Grange and it did not even faze me that the ingot weighed in at 6.5
lbs at the time of purchase.

Well, now that I have the large brick I am having issues figuring
out how to only use a portion of it.

I had expected to find some casting grain-type delivery mechanism,
but instead a large ingot is what I found and purchased.

When I purchased it I thought there would be an easy, obvious
solution. Now I am not sure and rather baffled.

So, the issue is… how do I use this 6.5 lb. ingot? 4"x4.5"x10"

It is too big for my crucible. Duh!

Saw it?

Chisel it?

Melt a little off the end?

All of these seem messy. And, my attempts have shown that chisel and
saw are not the best answers from what I can see.

Is there another way? There must be.

Or, is my band-saw the best idea?

Thoughts? Help?

Thanks in advance!
Christopher


#2

Get a bigger crucible!!! (joke) You can met it in most anything
(low melting temp) and make shot some other "smaller storage form"
via “ingot mold”, sand casting, cupcake molds, etc. I can be melted
from an end if you have a heat source that will allow that (flame).
I wouldn’t “sacrifice” a crucible to melt a bit of pewter. Crucibles
are expensive. Really a tin can will “work” but a steel (not
aluminum) pot (NO Teflon coatings) or cast iron skillet/pot from the
thrift store would work fine as it should be melting in the 330’s to
440 degrees F, depending on what is alloyed with the tin. A bit of
internet “homework” should get you all sorts of ideas and info.

John Dach


#3

Hi Christopher;

Ok. I am baffled. This is the first time I have used pewter. 

You could try melting some off the end with a torch, but you’d
probably need a pretty big torch for that, and it’s a heck of a heat
sink, so it could take a while. If it were mine, I’d get a wide cold
chisel from a hardware store and using a heavy hammer, chisel off
lengths to suit your needs. Pewter was one of the first metals I ever
worked with, about 40 years ago. I had a couple slabs of kiln
shelving, about 8 X 10 inches. I’d coat them with a wash of plaster
of Paris, drape a piece of cotton clothes line in a “U” shape on one
piece of the kiln shelving, put the other piece on top of it to make
a rope sandwich. Then I’d melt scrap pewter in a tuna fish can with a
propane torch, pour it into my “mold” and voila!.. a flat sheet,
rather thick, of pewter. Then, using a ball peen hammer, forge it
out thinner on a section of rail road iron. This I would cut up into
pieces and, using a blow pipe and alcohol lamp, make little boxes and
bracelets, etc. I simply fused the seams. Required a light touch.
Later, I got some pure tin and used that for solder. I decorated the
pieces with punches I’d made from concrete nails. I sold the
bracelets in bars to local rock musicians to buy beer. That was the
start of my metalsmithing career.

David L. Huffman


#4

Christopher–

I asked a similar question about a year ago. You can find the thread
online heRe:

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/how-to-cut-up-a-5-pound-ingot

I ended up cutting some of my ingot up with a horizontal bandsaw,
and later with a Sawzall. The Sawzall was fairly wasteful (but the
ingot was pretty cheap). Once I had cut up some 3/16" slices, I could
put that slice into a vice and break off smaller pieces with a large
pair of pliers.

Whit


#5

Melt a little off the end. Hold it securely with tongs or vicegrips,
over a steel crucible such as is used by fishermen making lead
weights, everything on a steel tray to catch any wayward drops. Aim
your gas torch at a corner and be patient, eventually it’ll drip
molten pewter.

A useful ‘crucible’ for tin-based alloys is an old stainless steel
soup ladle, or saucepan.

Brian

Auckland
New Zealand
www.adam.co.nz


#6

Why not just get a hack saw & cut off a piece the size you need.

Since the ingot’s shape is regular, it’s easy to figure out how much
to cut off. All you need to know is the volume of the piece you want
to cast plus the button &

Dave.


#7

Another thought.

I use beeswax to clean the molten pewter just before pouring, and
wipe it on the warmed-up steel mold (if making sheet/wire ingots).

Bri
Auckland
New Zealand
www.adam.co.nz


#8

Place the ingot on a heavy anvil, place the edge of an old/cheap axe
(a blacksmith’s hot set is better) where you want to cut, and drive
the axe through the ingot with a sledge hammer. A thick sheet of
copper or masonite under the ingot will save the edge of the axe and
the anvil face when cutting through the last bit.

An axe is better than a chisel because it has a wide cutting edge,
the edge is sharpened about right for cutting pewter, and the handle
allows your hands to be far away from danger, but don’t do this with
your good/expensive wood cutting axe!

Alastair


#9

I melted my ingot in a small, approximately 5", cast iron skillet,
and poured it into a bucket of water to create shot. I had first
tried sawing, and thought that was quite nearsighted of me when I hit
upon the very great ease with which shot could be made of it. I
heated the cast iron skillet on a hot plate. I coated the pan with a
light film of vegetable oil just to make sure that there would be no
issues with sticking. It is EASY! I think the 4-sectioned ingot was a
bit big for the pan, and I suspended it on the pan’s rims and cut
through it with a torch to solve that problem. Try this, you’ll like
it!!

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA
http://www.craftswomen.com/M’louBrubaker/