Workshop Report – Casting for beginners Glenbuchat Group March 2016
Laura Selway invited me to do a casting workshop at the Aberdeenshire Group that meets regularly in Glenbuchat. Do get in touch with Laura if you want to go along. I was pleased to have been invited because casting is ‘my thing’, because I’m impressed by the activities of this group and to try out the casting workshop that I’ll be offering in the Algarve this November http://www.endlesssummersurfretreat.com/events-groups/julia-cowei/
Fig 1: Cuttlefish mould ready to pour
In the morning we tried out cuttle fish casting, a slightly hit and miss affair, but lovely when it works. Cuttlefish are available from www.cooksongold.comor your local pet shop. If you collect them from a beach do make sure that they are dry before you pour in molten metal.
Fig 2: Cuttlefish mould poured with silver (hence the burning)
We used pewter as this melts readily and pours well. Unfortunately it can’t be enameled because it melts at a lower temperature than the enamel. (If you Google you can find ways to paint it to look enameled, which I haven’t tried.) It is a really good practice metal for silver casting, as the technique is the same.
Fig3a and 3b: Finished cuttlefish casting
Pewter now is lead free and can be used for any silver-coloured project. Pewter can be bought from www.britishtinandpewtermills.com and melts with a standard d-i-y gas torch.
Fig 4a and 4b: pewter castings
In the afternoon we did oil sand casting, which gives finer detail and is more reliable as a method. It has less character if you like more organic pieces, but is good if you want accuracy.
Fig 5: Oil sand mould just after metal pour
A kit is available from Cookson Gold or a search on eBay will give you more economic options. I also got the handled crucible from eBay. It is really good for pewter pours.
Fig 6: Opening the two-part sand mould
In my work I use a local beach sand and local clay mix that I make up. The sand is re-useable, unlike the cuttlefish moulds, which tend to burn.
Fig 7: Pewter bowl cast in beach sand mix
Fig 8: Silver bowl cast in beach sand.