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Preparing cast iron pan for chasing repousse


#1

I was going to buy a small shallow pitch bowl from Contenti.

(shallow bowl in foreground of photo, 6.25 inches wide) A friend
looked at it and noted that it looked like a cast iron frying pan
with no handle. A few days later he gave me a small 6" wide cast
iron frying pan that he’d found in a cupboard when he moved into his
current house. It has never been used or seasoned, so it is bare
dirty cast iron with a few spots of rust here and there.

What do I need to do to this pan before I put pitch into it? Should
I season it with fat and fire as I would with other cast iron
cookware, or paint it, or…

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
www.featheredgems.com


#2

Kathy -

I used a deep aluminum mixing bowl found at Goodwill. So, I don’t
think it’s necessary to season it…you are not going to make
cornbread, LOL!

My personal experience was to fill the bowl with plaster of paris,
leaving about 1" depth available for the pitch (AFTER the p-o-p had
dried.) Once dried, I lined the oven with aluminum foil, put broken
bits & pieces of pitch into the bowl, and let it heat in teh oven.
As the pitch melted & filled, I added some more bits as I judged they
would fill the volume. finally I had a level that was just slightly
below the rim. Didn’t want more as it would ‘slush’ over the edge
when embedding something in the pitch.

You won’t need so much filler as I needed, since the cast iron will
have its own mass to help stabilze the work in progress. I had the
curvature of the bowl to assist me in addressing the work. You will
have a greater challenge because of the flat bottom of the skillet.

You will have greater street cred than I, when people see us at our
work. For me, viewers will smirk and say, “Wow, isn’t that an
aluminum mixing bowl?” For you, people will say, “Wow, look at that
fine skillet!”

May you chase your repoussage with great skill,
Kelley Dragon


#3

This cuts down on the amount of pitch required and also adds
stability.

I have been using Northwest Pitch Works
(http://www.northwestpitchworks.com/pitch) or the red German pitch
from Allcraft or Otto Frie. I sort of prefer the red stuff. don’t use
the Nasty black petrolium based pitch! For heating a cheap electric
heat gun from Harbor freight works better than a flamed torch

Old mens leather belts make good up to 8 " bowl supports. A very nice
new book is :

Otto Frei should have it too. The newer books are much better
illustrated than older ones and this is a fine one.

jesse


#4

You don’t have to do anything to the pan. Drop the pitch in and
slowly melt it, making sure it won’t get too hot. Slow is the way to
go. If possible, do not use a torch. Melt the thing on a stove or a
burner, really slowly.You can save pitch by putting some pebbles in
the pan first. Remember, sometimes you will have to build up the
pitch, so do not make the mistake of putting all of it in the pan.

Leach


#5
Old mens leather belts make good up to 8" bowl supports. 

I’m an old man but I ain’t givin’ up my belt!!

John
Indiana


#6
I used a deep aluminum mixing bowl found at Goodwill. So, I don't
think it's necessary to season it...you are not going to make
cornbread, LOL! You will have greater street cred than I, when
people see us at our work. For me, viewers will smirk and say,
"Wow, isn't that an aluminum mixing bowl?" For you, people will
say, "Wow, look at that fine skillet!" 

LOL! My fine skillet says “Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Country
Store” on the bottom!

I had the curvature of the bowl to assist me in addressing the
work. You will have a greater challenge because of the flat bottom
of the skillet. 

The one and only chasing/repousse’ project I’ve done so far was a
class project.

It was attached with a huge glob of nasty black pitch to a piece of
pine board about 8 inches square.

I clamped it to a table with big C clamps so I could work. Awkward,
awkward, awkward.

ANYTHING will be an improvement over that arrangement. Plus, as I
told someone else, this frying pan is temporary until I decide whether
I’ll be going enough chasing/repousse’ to warrant buying a larger
"real" pitch bowl & ring.

Good to know I don’t need to season the pan. I wasn’t sure if that
would help or hinder keeping the pitch in the skillet after it’s
hardened.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
www.featheredgems.com


#7

If you have the choice, I would recommend getting the bowl in the
Contenti picture that has more steeply curved sides and less of a
flat bottom than the frying pan.

The larger bowl is more versatile, though it will obviously take
more pitch. You’ll need enough metal for the size of the design you
want to chase, plus at least 1/2" or more of a border around the
design. That is to allow you to sink the metal into the pitch and
secure it by making a ridge of pitch around the border of the metal.
You have to have enough space beyond that pitch edge to move your
tools easily as you chase the outside edge of the design.

Another reason for choosing a larger, deeper bowl is that as you
chase and move your punch on the metal, it helps a great deal to be
able to tilt the bowl. You can’t tilt the bowl at much of an angle at
all with a flat bottomed surface.

Chasing and repousse isn’t just about holding a punch perpendicular
to a flat surface embedded in pitch. How you angle the punch makes a
difference in the outlines or depth you create in your piece. For
example, if you are using a wide liner to make a circle as a border
around your design, you will create a different edge by holding the
punch straight up and down or holding the punch at an angle. Imagine
the edge of the liner as a “V”. If you hold it at an angle, you can
channel a line that creates more of a flat edge on the outside of
the circle. This can be a beautiful finish for the outside of the
design. You have to tilt the bowl while you angle the liner punch to
get this.

I would also have much greater depth of pitch than 1" - - use 3" if
you can. If you are doing much repousse, 1" of pitch depth is very
limiting. If the repousse is deep, you will need to embed the metal
into the pitch. And the slight resilience of the pitch as you hit it
with your punches is what allows the metal to stretch. You need more
depth than 1" before you hit the plaster of paris.

The 1" pitch depth should be fine if you’re just doing chasing.

I like the red pitch that Allcraft offers; I don’t know who the
other suppliers are.

Marcie
Marcia Rae Design