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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2 Comments:

Anonymous Sveinn said...

Nice work! I was very impressed with the quality of the carving on the coin, and looking at the soapstone you have obtained I can see why it was so good. I'm honoured to own one and have added it to my collection of period hand made pewter work.

9 October 2009 at 12:58 pm  
Anonymous Sveinn said...

Hey there, I should have read your blog a while a go, then I could have helped you by giving you the link below or discussed mould preparation with you. ;)

http://syridian.com/freezer/pewter/Basic_Pewter_Casting_web.pdf

9 October 2009 at 4:24 pm  

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