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Question about pitch

I got rid of my old black, noxious pitch and am planning on getting
some that is not toxic, and is easy to work with for repousse. I
won’t be doing much chasing, just repousse.

Reo has some German red pitch, which I am considering getting. I
used to heat the black pitch with my heat gun which worked just fine.
However, I understand that the red pitch is heated by putting it and
the iron bowl in an oven heated to around 300 degrees.

My studio is downstairs, and my oven is upstairs, and I don’t relish
carrying the pitch pot up and then, once heated, carrying the hot pot
and pitch downstairs.

My question is: will it be possible to heat the red pitch with my
heat gun, or is it necessary to get the iron pot heated as well,
which of course would require oven heating.

life gets complicated. I thought I had the problem of noxious black
pitch all solved, only to learn that the red pitch requires special

Thanks for your help. Alma

My question is: will it be possible to heat the red pitch with my
heat gun, or is it necessary to get the iron pot heated as well,
which of course would require oven heating. 

The oven will get the whole mass of pitch soft, which is useful if
you need to reshape the whole working area to fit some shape that
differs a lot from what you last used the pitch for. Other than that,
though, your heat gun should work just fine, or at least, has done so
for me. Be careful not to overheat it. Some heat guns get a lot
hotter than 300 degrees, and some of the red pitches melt lower than
the old black junk. Work it up to temp somewhat gradually so you’re
heating to a greater depth, but not as hot right at the surface. Try
not to get it bubbling…

Alma, I use the German red pitch, and I heat it with a heat gun no
problem. It is much less messy and smelly than the traditional black


I like Northwest Pitchworks medium pitch. It is a more natural
recipe, and Ihave had no trouble using it. I replaced that nasty
black stuff, but I did reserve a bit in an old iron skillet. The
Northwest pitch works beautifully with a heat gun. I did the initial
melt in a little countertop oven, and let it cool outside before
taking it into the studio.

Melissa Veres, engraver and goldsmith

You can use a candle warmer to heat your pitch in an iron pitch pot.
You may want to look at green pitch from

Janice Lea Mobley

Thank you Peter for your helpful reply to my question about pitch. I
will be careful not to get the pitch too hot with the heat gun. Glad
to know that I will not have to lug the heavy 8" diameter, pot up
anddown the stairs to the oven each time the pitch needed warming.

Several people have recommended the green pitch from Northwest
Pitch. That trigged my memory, so I rummaged around my studio, and
hidden away on one of the shelves, I found a two quart milk
container from Northwest pitch, filled with brown pitch. I weighed
it and found it is a little over 5 lbs. No as to whether
it is hard, medium or soft. I must have gotten it almost 15 years

I had forgotten all about it, as I had just gotten my new hydraulic
press, at that time and was busy making things with it, and was not
doing any repousse work.

I sent Northwest Pitch an email to see if they could tell me if the
brown pitch is hard, soft, or medium, but so far no reply.

So many people have recommended Northwest pitch, that I may use what
I haveinstead of getting the red pitch. However, I do hope that the
brown is medium, because if it is hard, I don’t think I will be able
to use it.

I asked a friend, and she said she thought that 15 years ago
Northwest pitch only made brown, and that it was medium.

I might melt some of it in a tuna fish can, and see if it is good
for the types of repousse I plan on doing. In the meantime, does
anyone have any clues? Thanks for all your help. Alma

I use red pitch which I purchased years ago, but assume is the same
as what Rio offers.

I use a torch or heat gun with it. When I originally purchased it, I
was told to break it in pieces and put it in the oven to melt it
into the pitch bowl. I think that was more for the convenience of
melting a large amount of pitch at one time without burning it with
the torch. Otherwise, it works fine with a torch or heat gun.

Marcie Rae

My North west pitch is a medium tan color, and medium. I purchased it
about 5years ago. They are a small family business, and emails may
take a few days…

Melissa Veres, engraver and goldsmith

I used a heat gun to start melting the chunks, then parked my car at
work on a flat place and left the pitch bowl on the flat area behind
the back seat on a nice day.

Came out from work to find a perfectly flat surface!

(Though I would recommend putting something under it in case you put
too much in and it overflows or isn’t as level as you thought it

Hi Alma,

The pitch from northwest varies in color, independent of hardness.

Some batches I’ve seen have been brown, some are best described as
’snot green’. It’s a fairly ‘natural’ product, so it does vary from
batch to batch, at least in the things that don’t matter. It’s
always been absolutely first class stuff for working though.

She didn’t do really hard pitch back then as far as I remember. Soft
& medium were unobtainable anywhere else, so that’s what she
concentrated on.

(Whatever else one has to say about the black ‘death pitch’, it’s
hard as hell. Great for planishing, and easily obtained.)


Thank you David for your wonderful idea to let the heat of the car on
a hot day melt the chunks.

I got a nice email from Northwest Pitchworks telling me that the
color of the pitch was no indication as to whether it was soft,
medium or hard. However, as 98% of what they sell is medium, most
likely that is what mine is. Alma

Thanks to all who helped answer my question about using a pitch bowl
to hold a bezel setting while applying pressure.

I ordered the Jett set from Otto just this morning. I hope it works
for me because my bezels sure could look nicer!

Jean Menden

I love my chaser’s Pitch bought it through It is
the medium green pitch that is so versatile, and smells like pine not
tar. She makes her own pitch to sell.


The Green Chasers Pitch from is my absolute
favorite! It has a low melting point, which helps avoids burns. It
has great adhesion without making a mess, and holds heat really
well. It gives better resistance when working from the front but is
never brittle. Using this pitch has significantly cut my clean
up/planishing time.

My second favorite is the German Red pitch from Rio.

Best wishes,
Victoria Lansford