Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Casting Pewter, and 'Carry on Screaming'

If you can't buy it, make it! Well, that's my motto, with the added proviso that if you can't buy quite what you need or what you buy is rubbish quality then see if you do better!

With a bit more time after the chaos that the lead up to xmas brings, I decided to try my hand again at pewter casting. I'd not done it for a while, put off by the cost of the special rubber resin that's needed to make the moulds. I wanted to make my own custom shaving brush parts, so at the same time thought it would be nice to add some extra flourish to them too, as well as making them more suitable for fitting glass parts to.

Here are my first efforts which, sadly, are disappointing but I knew the first ones wouldn't go to plan. I'd forgotten how hard the rubber was to work with, it's very thick and sticky, and my original sunk to the bottom making the mould too deep! Mind you, an old 'Moo card' box made a very handy mould former!

The first one (bottom left corner) has half the top missing where the metal didn't flow down properly. I tweaked the mould and it worked a little better, but the bottom was only half filled producing a half ring. I guess this was from the air not escaping quickly enough, or the sections being too thin for the metal to happily flow into it. I'd like to re-tweak the mould (thus saving some expensive rubber) but I think I might thicken up the sections of the prototype and start a fresh. The easiest way would be to split the mould to make two 'D' shaped sections, but I don't want too many mould lines so am trying to work with the natural dips in the prototype.

I found a little time for some glass, I've never managed to make eye's before (except very tiny, tiny ones) so when I saw in the latest 'Glassline' magazine a different way of making them I had to have a go! I think catching a bit of 'Carry on Screaming' before I made the first one might have influenced me a bit, with it's blood shot eye and trailing bloody optic nerve! The second was a bit more 'fish eye,' and when I got to the third I wondered what on earth I was going to do with all these wonky eyes!? I guess I'll end up popping them in a nice old laboratory jar and leave it in the kitchen spice rack! Yes, around here everyday is Halloween!


  1. Hi there, I love the eyeballs. If they need a home send them this way - such fun! I was really interested to see you casting in pewter. Have you tried cuttle fish casting? We recently did it at our silversmithing class and it was so much easier that delft casting. I made some really cool pieces including cuff links for my hubbie! I am looking forward to also giving him the fab razor I bought from you. Merry Christmas, Jane x

  2. Yes, I've tried cuttlefish casts, they are great as they are so immediate, I even made a funky one by pressing my fingers into them to carve out a shape. Unfortunetly this has a lot of undercuts and detail so I've got to use rubber. Hope your Hubbie likes the razor on xmas morning! :)

  3. Hi There,
    I do a bit of pewter casting and I think your problem is the lack of air vents to allow the trapped air to escape. If you push a thick medical needle( the ones they use to inject cows with) from the top surface down to the cavity where your lip has not formed, your cast should be better.
    I dont think you need to make the lip any thicker the vents should solve your problem.
    Cheers Jez