Several people suggested that carving pewter would give better
detail and finer lines than wax. I am fascinated by the idea and
eager to try it. However--I know nothing about Pewter and need some
help. I looked at a brick of Pewter and it seemed too hard to
carve. I also spoke with Rio Grande's tech person and he assured me
that Pewter is too hard to Carve. So here are my questions:
1. Can it be carved as is, or does it need to be melted down, or
Pewter is a lead/tin alloy; modern pewter (britannia metal, american
pewter, and other names) is mostly tin and antimony. It’s soft
enough to work and carve with something like a sharp handtool, but for
removing large amounts of stock, power tools will be better. I do
detail work on it with x-acto knives.
Either version is a sticky metal that will clog bits and files, and
you do not want the tools contaminated with the tin alloys anywhere
near anything that will be hard soldered later (it will bugger up
silver and gold at proper soldering temps). I use the el-cheapo flea
market files to work the stuff.
2. Is it toxic to handle?
Traditional pewter is a lead alloy; use common caution and wash your
hands and don’t breathe the dust. The new version is still a heavy
metal, so, again, use common metal handling precautions.
3. What kind of tools used to carve it--can hand tools be used?
Wax carving tools?
Anything that will cut wood will work these alloys. Again, buy
cheap, disposable tools for the roughing out process at least.
4. What else is there to know that I don't know I need to know?
You can melt it to do a basic casting on a propane stove. You can
use plaster of paris for mold material as long as you bake it to drive
out residual moisture.
Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
email@example.com OR @Ron_Charlotte1