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Pewter casting


#1

hello metalsmiths, does anyone know what materials are best for making
a master model for pewter casting. i have worked with jewelers wax
for silver casting using the lost wax method, but pewter is a new
area for me.

thanks for any you might like to share with me on the
subject.


#2

Your lost wax process for doing silver is fine. With luck you might
find a copy of Cast Pewter Jewelry by Jay D Kain someplace. See the
artmetal bramblebush casting forum for current stuff on pewter
casting: http://www.artmetal.com/brambush/ Jesse


#3

hello sharon! i only took a little workshop on pewter casting, and
as far as i remember, soapstone is used for making models–it’s also
easy to carve. hope that helps, erhard.


#4

Here is a search result on the pewter casting book:

Kain, Jay D.: Cast Pewter Jewelry ; Worcester, MA: Davis Publications,
1975. First Edition, 1st Printing, Hard Cover, Good/No Jacket,
0-87192-071-9 Wear, stained covers and title page, B&W photos, 96 p.,
Crafts & Hobbies - Jewelery (UR#:8978) Offered for sale by
Louisville’s Book.Net at US$29.00

Kain, Jay D.: Cast Pewter Jewelry ; Davis Publications, Inc.,
Worcester, Mass. 1975., Very good+ copy has some surface rubbing,
otherwise clean. Illustrated with b/w and blue photos. Instructional,
covers rigid and flexible molds, and finishing procedures. 96pp., Art
Techniques - Metalwork Jewelry making (UR#:2745) Offered for sale by
Abyssbooks at US$30.00

These are from: http://www.Bibliofind.com/ a little steep mine copy
cost $ 7.50 used Jesse


#5
 hello metalsmiths, does anyone know what materials are best for
making a master model for pewter casting. ... 

Have you thought of pewter? A friend of mine uses pewter models for
almost all his work. It is more rugged than wax, and the step of
casting from the wax to produce a master is eliminated. Pewter can
be soldered, fused, etc., just as can any other metals, albeit at a
lower temperature. Just as with wax, if a mistake is made, the area
can be built back up again, and worked down to the desired surface.
This makes it easier to rework the model, if changes are necessary.
I am also a beginner in this area, and have had some success with
this method. It is hard to keep the heat low at first, however!
Good luck, and give pewter a try!

PS. If your pewter contains lead, be sure and use a different set of
files than the ones used on gold and silver.


#6

The best and easiest material to use (with a little experience) for
a mastermodel in Pewter casting would be from pewter sheet or wire.
The best selection for pewter sheet and wire that I know of is from
the contenti co. http://www.contenti.com or 800-343-3364. Their sales
people are helpful and can also inform you of the neccessary solders
and fluxes needed to do multipart assembly. If you require a company
that can mold and cast your items in pewter, Please contact us as we
cast in Pewter, gold, silver, bronze and pure metals for designers
in the jewelry trade.Visit our website to see the whitemetal casting
department and our other work areas in the “workshop” On the
frontpage of our web. Daniel Grandi http://www.racecarjewelry.com


#7

Hi Sharon. If you are going to make RTV rubber molds (such as silastic
K or E) and cast the pewter directly in to them, almost any non porous
material can be used. I have used most clays, most waxes, wood,
plastic, metal, bones, rocks, cardboard, some rubbers, ceramics, even
green ware, china, porcelain, and I have even used hard candy. Of
course you can use a combination of all the above. Check clays and
waxes for any sulfur content. Sulfur will react to the mold rubber and
prohibit it from vulcanizing. Good old fashioned brown sculpting wax
is great. I had some reaction problem with hot glue. When in doubt,
mix up a small about of RTV rubber and put it on the material or the
material in the rubber, wait until it gets hard and see if the
modeling material reacts with the mold rubber. Most items that are
porous, you can spray it with clear acrylic and let it dry, and they
should mold fine. By the way most adhesive on clear plastic tape, such
as Scotch Tape, can react to the RTV rubber. Use masking tape to tape
up the corners of your cardboard mold box.

Have fun today!
Don


#8

I missed the question the first time around . I have casted pewter in
rubber molds. Just barely melted not hot or
it will burn your mold. Don in Idaho


#9
PS. If your pewter contains lead, be sure and use a different set of
files than the ones used on gold and silver.

Model makers generally use a lead free alloy of Tin and 1% antimony
for model work. It is available in sheet and wire from Contenti.

Richard D. Hamilton
A goldsmith on Martha’s Vineyard
Fabricated 14k, 18k, 22k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography,
CAD/CAM…
http://www.rick-hamilton.com


#10

However, this doesn’t provide a permanent master model. Most of the
model materials you suggest are delicate or degradable. This system
is limited by the life of the original mold, unless you get lucky! I
have suggested, as has someone else, that the model itself be
produced from pewter. A friend is a proponent of the pewter model,
which can be reused, and is helping me on a project using that
material. The “immediate” nature of the RTV is intriguing, though…


#11

When I first learned pewtersmithing in Conn. in '77 lead was already
outlawed for the making of pewter in the US. Ours came from Allcraft.
Whether or not it has lead in it, you should always use separate files
and work with it away from where you are doing other metals. Louise
@lgillin1


#12

After you have made the first mold, using any or all the materials
that I suggested, it is very easy to take one of the castings in
pewter and make that a permanent model. I would suggest that if you
really wish to have a permanent master for jewelry, is to make a wax
pattern from your RTV rubber mold, that you made for pewter, and cast
it in sterling silver or brass. As you make new molds you will not
accidentally scratch your pattern with these metals as you may with a
very soft pewter mold. I make all my jewelry patterns with sterling
silver. It is cheap, I cast 200 or 300 casting of silver a week now,
so I can just “throw” it in a flask. Sterling in my opinion is easy to
to cast, clean and polish than brass.

However, I have cast well over 2,000 fine pewter castings in to one
Silastic K mold and it is still producing castings as good as the
first cast. They do not break down as some would like you to believe,
they will tear apart if not cut correctly. I have never thrown away a
mold because it is “worn out”. Those that have told me over the last
30 years that molds will only last for about 20 to 30 casts have
proved to me they never had a need to cast more than than, or they
have a problem with cutting molds. Just about every mold that I have
made for pewter, even for sculptures weighing 10 to 20 pounds of
pewter have been used to cast 100 to 500 pieces with no problems.


#13

Just a quick note about lead or tin based pewter. Lead based pewter
was outlawed in the USA some time shortly after the turn of the
century, but only for food containers and utensils. The story I read
was that a baby bottle company was still casting pewter baby bottles
out of lead! That was finally the last straw and the USA passed the
law outlawing the use of lead based pewter for any food utensil. Thus
joining about the rest of the world that passed the same laws around
1830.

You can purchase lead based pewter from most large suppliers, and
there is at least one large sculpture company that uses lead based
pewter for nearly all their sculptures even today. I have found even
found some very small sculptures designed to sell to kids, made from
lead based pewter in just the last year. I do believe that there needs
to be a law about this practice.

I only mention this to caution every one working with metal, that may
see some large beat up junk sculpture at garage sale or flea market.
Being that it is a sculpture of Mickey Mantle, or any other famous
sport figure, one may believe, that since lead based pewter was
outlawed, that this hunk of pewter must be the lead free “American
Fine Pewter”. Buy it for $1.00, and cast your self a pewter beer mug.
One that keeps your beer really cold, and attacks your central nervous
system at the same time, because it was about 97% lead.

Have fun today!
Don


#14

I am finding this discussion on pewter very interesting. I wrote a
proposal for a grant at my university. The focus and out come of my
this work, if i do receive the grant would be to inform the general
public that pewter is a viable and safe material which can be used in
funcional ways. By reading the info here it seems that some are not
aware about pewters uses and the quality etc…

Thanks for listening…
I’ll tell you if i get the grant this April.


#15
         I have even found some very small sculptures designed to
sell to kids, made from lead based pewter in just the last year. I
do believe that there needs to be a law about this practice. 

It is possible to test for the presence of lead in pewter. Simply
dissolve a few filings in nitric acid (beware fumes) and then add a
drop or two of a solution of potassium chromate or dichromate. A
bright yellow precipitate will denote the presence of lead as lead
chromate. Cheers, John Burgess