Crispin Sexi (Jaysen Ollerenshaw), September 2006.
Over the past few years I have become interested in obtaining various small metal pieces for SCA use; buckles for shoes, bosses and clasps for books and mounts for belts. I've tried looking for the right thing in leather, hardware and art stores, but often I can't even get close to the medieval item I'm looking for, let alone an exact replica of a 14th Century belt-mount.
One of the common metals that such things were made from is pewter. I've heard people talking about pewter casting, and how 'easy' it is, but my natural instinct is to fear molten metal, so I have not been game to try it for myself.
This year at Canterbury Faire I attended a class on pewter casting run by Sir Sebastion von dem Schwartwald, who showed how to produce a soapstone mould in 2 or 3 pieces, what equipment one needs to cast pewter, and what precautions one needs to take to be safe. He then proceeded to cast several of the event tokens that we'd received on entry to Canterbury Faire.
It was actually quite easy.
And nobody was injured.
I retured home with a few sample trinkets, and over the new few months collected together the necessary items to do pewter casting for myself. There are websites around the place that will tell you what you need to know about casting, but I recommend you talk to people who are experienced before trying it yourself.
Molten pewter is very hot.
Molten pewter turns water into steam with explosive force.
Older style pewter has lead in it, which kills babies, ship captains and Romans. Use modern lead-free pewter.
Soapstone dust is bad for your lungs.
Propane torches produce carbon monoxide, which will kill you if you work in a poorly ventilated area.
Talk to a person who's done pewter casting about the risks involved and how to do it safely before you try it yourself.
Fig 1: Various equipment.
My first project was a complete flop, so we shall never speak of it again. But the rest of them I'll add here as I get to them.
Copyright Jaysen Ollerenshaw 2006. Free use for non-profit.
Joan & Crispin's Homepage: http://aelflaed.homemail.com.au/