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Topic: Pewter Cast Pendants -- Pewter Casting Tutorial  (Read 48246 times)
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« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2008 09:44:32 PM »

Can I just say how incredibly generous you were, in taking the time to put together that amazingly detailed tute??  I, for one, am totally inspired, and plan to embark on this before the end of the year - it's actually perfect for what I'm trying to achieve w/other media.

If you don't mind, I have a few more questions, just for clarification.  I want to make sure I'm understanding everything when I start!

1)  What purpose does the melted wax serve?  To clean?  As a sample cast?  If you need to clean the just-carved stone, can you use say a used toothbrush and water, then super-dry it (like w/a hairdryer, to ensure no molten drops spatter when vaporizing water)?  I can see using polymer clay to check if the carving's coming along, although one would have to clean the stone to make sure none of that oily residue lingered.

2)  I have some of that 2 part RTV silicone putty - is that what you're talking about ("vulcanizing" mold)?  If so, will it really stand up to that amount of heat?  I'm amazed!  But it sounds like the pewter would have to be heated super hot to get fine detail - which is what I'm after.  Do you know how high the molten pewter would need to be?  Wonder if a candy thermometer would be good to get an accurate temp - maybe just a regular digital probe?  Would the molten pewter stick to those things?

3)  How could you get that oxidized look on pewter?  Can you use liver of sulfur, or Win-Ox?

4)  Have you noticed shrinkage, and if so how much?

Make sure that you post a link to what you make!!
1) The wax is indeed for testing the mold, as once it has set, it pops out quite easily. I would avoid using the polymer clay, because it tends to "stick" to things that should be easy release. It can't be removed with really hot water like wax can be, and the wax has a surface tension similar to the pewter, and you don't have to worry about any oily residue that might affect the soapstone's own release feature. Also, although it's mainly intended to test the mold, the first two or three casts do catch dust from the carving, so I usually throw them out. Wax from tealights is a lot cheaper than polymer clay, and my paranoia would prevent me from baking them with the dust in them. Of course, I haven't tried it with the clay, those are just the reasons why I didn't use the clay. Experiment and see how it works for you!

3)I've never tried to oxidize them, honestly. One  of the festival participants has worn his pendant since the spring, and the sheen has definitely diminished, it looks like tarnished silver, darkened more around the outcropping bits, etc. I'll try to get a photo of it when I see him next weekend.  I'd suggest experimenting, and posting your results!!

4) Not sure what you mean by shrinkage. Like, it gets smaller as it cools? None that's noticeable to my naked eye.

lemme know if you still want input on #2, it seemed like your last post indicated you'd found the answers....

Yay for more people pewter casting!

I'm a sewer, and artist, and generally all-around creative person with more fabric in my stash than I know what to do with!
« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2008 01:20:13 PM »

andi, you're awesome Wink  It really helps to get live input from someone who's doing the craft, you know? 

For sure, when I get the studio all set up, I'll post some pics.  And I agree w/you on all your points re: wax vs polymer clay for sample casts - it's just easier and cleaner. 

From what I've read re: using RTV silicone putty to make molds, you have to make sure you get one that can sustain high temps, otherwise the putty can soften too much.  I'd like to try it, b/c I can impress the original piece into it, and it can take really good detail.  I can't find the site where I originally read also that besides temp tolerance, you can choose putties such that one will be more durable, but won't be as flexible if you're casting something with undercuts (such that you need to peel the mold off/around the cast) - or vice versa.

Interesting about the darkened pewter!  Naturally oxidized - I'm betting it's the copper, unless someone can correct me?

Thanks again for your input, andi!
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