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White Metal


#1

Hi all

Have been sort of working on a line of belt buckles and been
debating what metal to use. Bronze and Silver have been choices so
far but am considering something lower melt and less expensive to
cast so my question is: What is ‘white metal’ and does it have the
strength to stand up to use as a buckle, how does one cast it,
where does one get it, how is it coloured, etc., etc…

Thanks for any assistance
Lorne on Vancouver Island


#2

White metal is usualy pewter or mazak (a zink aluminum alloy used
in the auto industry for things like carburators for cars) it will
do fine for what you want to do. you can gold plate them also if
you like at little expense. I have a pewter casting shop myself and
do all my protypes of my jewelry out of pewter. cheaper then gold
or silver and quicker to work, excelent detail and holds up to
molding just as well.


#3

Pewter (tin and other alloying metals) is oftem used but it is not
nearly as strong as silver or bronze, it is also much softer thus
it will ware out much faster. Can be patinated with (I think ???)
a solution of Alum and Sulfuric acid mixed together, very diluted.
If you contact a pewter supplier, I am sure they could tell you
what can be used for coloration. Some pewter shops use a sprayable
graphite in a shellac/laques carrier that they spray on and buff
off to a point that they like. This process colors (consistantly)
is stable and seals the piece all in one process. With the
chemical process, the color varies, it can keep on coloring past
the place you would like it to stop and you should seal the colored
piece.

Other processes for the buckles is aluminum (haey, it’s
white!!) and zinc based metals (these are the “true” white cast
metals). I personally don’t like either for buckles but I am just
one person.

Roto Metals in San Francisco carries Pewter (415-392-3285),
they have MANY types.

Hope this is helpful.

John

John and Cynthia/MidLife Crisis Enterprises
Maiden Metals/C. T. Designs/ Bloomin’ Wax Works. etc.

PO Bx 44, Philo
CA 95466
Ph 707-895-2635 FAX 707-895-9332

The playfulness of the Universe
is reflected in the dance of the stars!


#4
   Have been sort of working on a line of belt buckles and been
debating what metal to use. Bronze and Silver have been choices
so far but am considering something lower melt and less expensive
to cast so my question is: What is 'white metal'

Lorne,

White metal is basically the same as pewter. It could have the
strength to be used in a belt buckle, but it is much softer and
more brittle than bronze or silver. The model of the buckle would
have to be made thicker than if using bronze/silver and you would
have to be especially careful in creating your clasping mechanism.
Using white metal for the traditional wire to be inserted in the
belt holes would not work. It is much too soft and you would need
to use a more durable metal for that part. Using a peg on the back
of the buckle to be inserted into the belt hole would work if you
make it good and thick. But even then it is not as durable as one
casted in bronze/silver.

White metal is usually colored by plating, but can also be left
raw. “Antiquing” (oxidizing) can be achieved by using an acrylic,
nail polish like substance in the recesses of the piece.

All in all, white metal would be cheaper to cast, but would make a
cheap product that would not last as long or as well as bronze or
silver. It is used mostly for inexpensive costume jewelry and
other cheap stuff and is not used on anything made to last. So if
you want to make something mass produced for department/chain
stores, then that would be the way to go. But if you want to make
a quality belt then you would be better off using something else.

Jill
@jandr
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk


#5

“nickel silver” is another non-precious white alloy which is
particularly common here in the southwest, where alot of the cheap
tourist stuff is nickel silver rather than sterling. “nickel silver” is
actually a misnomer, as it is an alloy of nickel, copper and zinc, and
contains no silver. It is also known as “German Silver,” and, in Mexico,
as “alpaca.” The stuff does take a good polish, is harder than silver
and almost looks like silver when polished, which is why it’s so popular
out here. Worth checking out if you are wanting to do belt buckles, etc.

Lee
Phoenix, AZ