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Steel ingot mold

I have a new steel ingot mold and no idea how to prep it for
casting. Words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks. Rob

Rob Meixner

1 Like

I use a very light coating of oil like 3 in 1 or sewing machine oil.
Drop it on and wipe with a paper towel. You can also cover it with
soot from a candle or your torch.


Robert- Everyone has thier favorite way to prep an ingot mold.

Mine is to season it like a cast iron frying pan with oil and heat.
I do this every time I pour an ingot.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

High Bob,

I have a new steel ingot mold and no idea how to prep it for
casting. Words of wisdom would be appreciated. 

As one pro to another, tho I rarely do casting now, preheat your new
mould however, pour olive oil over it just before you pour till the
oil is smoking and then pour the melt through a reducing flame
propane is best, tip the mould to 45 deg pouring the melt on the
mould down side.

Should give you at least with sterling a bright clean cast. Fill the
enlarged mould top, let it solidify then open and tip into water.

Cut off the wedge shaped surplus, ie fill the mould plus the
contraction area.

Exclude oxygen at all times. I cast sterling into 2in wide by 3/16th
thick by 4in long.


I think you just oil it. Look at putting inputs online. They oil the
crap out of them. I lightly oil when I pour and I preheat the steel

Hi Rob,

Different folks will give you very different advice. Some will tell
you to oil the mold and heat it until it smokes. Others will tell you
that this is madness. You must carefully clean any trace of oil or
grease from the mold and lubricate it with soot from a flame. I’ve
tried both and find that oil is not only cleaner and easier to deal
with, it works better for me. I use “3-in-One” oil, but any light
machine oil works just fine.

The constants that both camps seem to agree on are that the mold
should be heated to somewhere around 700 degrees F (for silver and
yellow gold, a bit higher for white gold), and the pour should be
one, smooth movement with the metal aimed to the center of the hole
so that it’s not poured down the side.

Another disagreement exists concerning how best to prepare the ingot
for rolling or drawing. Some say that you should forge it first;
others will say this is a waste of time. I have found forging prior
to rolling to be beneficial for silver and yellow gold alloys and
mandatory for rose and white golds. By forging, what I mean is
actually distorting it pretty heavily, not just giving it a few
whacks with a hammer.

This is one of those things that really illustrates the truth about
most things we metalsmiths do: whatever works best for you is the
best way for you to do it.

Hope this is helpful.
Dave Phelps

Oh! I forgot the most important part of pouring an ingot. Never ever
do this in open toed shoes or flip flops.

Trust me on this:-)
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

oil is going to become soot very quickly anyway…

The mold is a new open steel Durston mold. It is well made, although
the machining could have been a little cleaner. I was able to cast
and remove a small ingot with no treatment at all. I then tried
vaseline and then 3 in 1 oil. Both worked well and there was no
smoking problem. The ingot fell out when the mold was turned over
and they did not show what few machine makes were left in the
groove. I guess that my problem is solved and I will move on to the
next one. Thanks for the help. Rob

Rob Meixner

I didn’t like searching for lost metal after casting an uncooperative
ingot. Went to a flea market and bought the largest cast iron skillet
that was there. With the ingot mold sitting inside the skillet
salvage/reclamation efforts are a lot easier. A large enough skillet
will have room for the crucible as well. Sit it on a piece of
firebrick so the skillet isn’t a heat sink during the melting.

All the best,

I was able to cast and remove a small ingot with no treatment at
all. I then tried vaseline and then 3 in 1 oil. Both worked well

My first casting attempt I had purchased a video on casting from a
well established goldsmith who neglected to give any instruction on
mold preparation at all. I was able to cast a few times without any
problem so I suspect the molds are seasoned at the factory. It only
makes sense so the mold doesn’t get rust in the warehouse while in


Great tip! Though I’ve poured more than my fair share of ingots I
still miss on occasion. That’s why I sent my earlier warning about
wearing open toed shoes while pouring ingots.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

ok, I will write this from my experience of casting ingots into
steel molds. I will break it down to steps, and I know Robert
already had said he got the jest of it but I see a lot of
misinterpretation in these posts.- the ingot mold heating: is only
to warm up the mold so when you come to pouring the ingot 1 you dont
hit a cold mold with your hot molten metal and spatter out 2 you
dont loose heat away from your melt and have the molten metal start
cooling down before it is all poured in or worse you get it all in
but the bottom part of the ingot has now hair line fissures because
it started cooling down faster then the top. - I do not warm up the
mold separately, I place the mold right behind whereI am melting the
ingot in the crucible so any residual flame and heat is actually
hitting the mold and warming it up. just warm nothing more.

  • there is such a thing where the mold gets too warm /hot and now
    the oil and soot have burned away and your ingot is stuck to the
    steel mold.-I have never needed to oil or soot up my molds and have
    never had any issues otherthen initially as a student learning all
    the different ways people do it.-if one were to want to completely
    omit this issues one would purchase the graphite molds that are now
    coming in all sizes and shapes and forms. non ofthese issues would
    be a problem.- the oil and soot is just a secondary safety net and
    an old fashioned way since the time where the metal was melted in a
    charcoal oven or furnace where everything got heated with out any
    control. where as now a days the large torches we use are just a as
    controlled in heat dispersion and direction as the mini torches we
    use. you can place the heat where you needed it to how much you need
    to.- some of you may be familiar with Ford Hallam the Japanese sword
    parts maker, I would suggest google him and checking out his Utube
    Vid on him pouring shibuichi/copper ingots, onto canvas stretched in
    a bucket of water, there is a huge amount to be learned from that.
    best of luck

Atelier Hratch

1 Like

From bitter experience I second the motion. NEVER pour hot metal in
open toed shoes.

I poured in open-toed shoes once. The metal all ran out the toe ends
and the danged shoes were ruined to boot!.

Never again!

Happy Labour Day.