Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pewter casting - SUCCESS

Firstly, my thanks to those who have advised me, both in person & online with regards to this.

Today I have succeeded in casting several finished coins - with Traditional Chinese text front & back. On one side I have 2 characters which are the translation of "Purity" (which is the original meaning of Hanbal in Arabic). On the other side, the coins read Eighth Baron.

You'll have to wait for the photos till after our investiture - going to try & limit who sees them beforehand.

Now I just have make a whole heap of them.

Was very chuffed at the end of the day when I finally realised & have learned & succeeded at a craft that Mum hasn't tried (for those that don't know - she has tried & done well at just about any craft you can think of - but (and I checked) she has never tried pewter casting.

Now I'll have to work out what my next pewter token will be - after investiture.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Pewter casting, part 2

Well, I am now most of the way towards having some Ancient Chinese style pewter "rope money" coins.
As you can see, I have started penciling the chinese characters that will be on the coins. At this stage, the plan is to have "Hanbal" on one side and "Eighth Baron" on the other. On the right side above is where I am currently writing the Eighth Baron text (translated off the web - traditional Chinese - probably not perfect but good enough). Below are examples of the progress of my carving. Please note that for all of them, the spru is the top (even if pictured around the wrong way).

The first, which look like a pair of Angels wings, showed that the coin carved area wasn't deep enough.

The second was after more carving, today, and shows more of an idea of what I am aiming for. You will note the square in the middle is still quite large. Still a bit too thin though.

The 3rd coin shows further work on deepening the carved area - complete coin but surface still bearing many tool marks. You can also see that the square in the middle has been reduced in size.

The 4th & 5th pictures are the front & back of the last coin poured today.

You can see that I now have a defined rim around the coin both front & back, as well as around the square in the middle.

I am now going to add chinese characters front & back. Ambitious for my 2nd piece ever, but I think I will succeed. I'm running out of time to do it all over again - as I need to have the coins completed for our Baronial Investiture.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Pewter casting

Ok - a while ago I decided it would be cool to learn a new craft - but I wanted something that was of interest to me. I also wanted something that would be inline with my natural skills - ability to use controlled violence & tools.

Pewter casting in soapstone seemed the right direction.

Recently I obtained some soapstone (thanks to Bryce & Ant). I then spoke with them & Sandy about methods of carving & pouring.

3 weekends ago I set myself a task to make a simple coin with the letter FY (Flying Ypotryll) on one side.
I succeeded.

The front & back of the coin are shown here, you can see that the 2 carved halves didn't quite match and you can also see where I filed back the back of the coin where the spru poured into the mould. The coin's are silver in colour - the gold colouring in the pictures is due to the light where I took the photos.

Unfortunately, I destroyed the mould in the process of getting the coin out, as I created the spru (the tube where you pour the molten pewter down to the mould) through one side of the soapstone, rather than down the join in the soapstone. To get the coin out I broke that side of the mould around the spru & got the pewter out, but the soapstone was damaged beyond usability, as you can see from the picture included.

I did however discover that while you can cut soapstone with a hacksaw - it is much easier to work with it along the grain - so I was spliting the lump of soapstone with a woodsplitter - then sanding the soapstone back to flat (ish).

The next challenge is to make ancienct Chinese rope money (round coins with a square hole) with text on one side.

I started this process on the weekend just gone - taking it slow & steady with my carving. The nature of the pieces meant that I didn't have a lot of room for a long spru - but am working around this issue. Currently doing all my carving in one face only - but will need to thicken the coin - will also enlarge & widen the spru to allow the molten pewter

Partway there - but going well. More to follow...

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