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Yet another pressie

Pewter Pen

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Alan T.27/10/2011 19:28:39
1033 forum posts
98 photos

Hi Guys, Spent this wet afternoon casting and turning this pen. A departure from wood or resin but still turned using the normal tools.Any ideas about a finish that would prevent it tarnishing would be well received. I sourced the material from 2 old tankards at a charity shop and melted them down on the kitchen stove in an equally old saucepan. This created a bit of a smell as the glass bottom of one was sealed with linseed oil based putty. How people used these on a regular basis and stayed healthy is hard to understand. That apart no problems at all.
Cheers Alan T.


Edited By Alan T. on 27/10/2011 19:30:38

Simon Reeves27/10/2011 20:14:18
622 forum posts
227 photos
Brilliant bit of work Alan. A lovely pen with a superb finish. I would love to know how the casting itself went, and what you used as a mould.
Ref the finish, a micro-crystalline wax such as Renaissance might work (although I would probably have applied it as the final finish before assembling the pen). As I'm sure you know, it's already used to prevent fingerprints on restoration projects, and in other protective coatings.
You used to be able to buy a kit for coating brass and copper to prevent tarnish that I think was mainly a hard lacquer. Not sure I would use it now though, especially now after it's been assembled.
BillW28/10/2011 20:32:20
711 forum posts
21 photos
This is absolutely fantastic Alan, particularly the process to get to the finished pen.

I knew basically what pewter was composed of but had to have a read to refresh my mind, pewter not intended for contact with food had a high lead content (I should imagine before the dangers of lead were known food containers had a high level anyway) today's pewter has no lead.
All metals will react to oxygen, some more than others and I think Simon's suggestion of wax is your best bet, I don't think lacquer would be very good, we've all seen the cheap brass ware with the lacquer pealing off.
I'd be interested to know:-
did you cast the brass tubes in,
did you drill the castings and glue the tubes in,
Or drill the castings ,, no tubes.

Derek Lane28/10/2011 21:03:07
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
Well done Alan what a scorcher of a pen. I would use micro-crystalline wax as suggested that is what I use on all my pens as a last coat to help protection.
Ralph Harvey28/10/2011 21:21:16
3274 forum posts
315 photos
2 articles
Very Nice Indeed Alan
How do you cast the blanks, is it done with the brass barrels in position or do you glue them in after as you would do with wood ?
Alan T.29/10/2011 19:47:38
1033 forum posts
98 photos
Hello Guys, Thank you for your comments and the advice to use crystalline wax finish. I will have to source that. To answer your questions I have put some pics in my album.
The mould is tapered slightly outwards from bottom to top to aid release of the casting. It must be made of dry wood or problems with steam will result. The brass tubes are cast in with the ends blocked with turned plugs. These came out easily and will be reused. No pewter got into the tubes. After sanding the ends off square the process was the same as any other pen. There is no waste as the swarf can be remelted time and again. Have fun. Cheers Alan T.
Simon Reeves30/10/2011 17:23:23
622 forum posts
227 photos
Funny how you get preconceived ideas! I imagined the moulds would be holes drilled in the join between something like some MDF clamped together, and you would/could cast a solid blank, ready for drilling. You could just release the clamps and the ingots would fall out. Nothing could be further from the reality.
I think the mould you used is so simple, and saves all the bother of drilling (and collecting the swarf). What an excellent idea the whole thing was .
You can get Renaissance wax from various places, including Amazon, ebay, and Yandles. Chestnut have also just started their own version. Be wary of the size when you buy Renaissance though. Some places are selling a 65g tin for around a tenner, but you can buy 200g for about £14. The Chestnut version is also around a tenner for 225g.
Another question - which mechanism did you use, as you mention that it's copper?
BillW30/10/2011 17:50:14
711 forum posts
21 photos
Again really well executed Alan, I would have done them in similar way to Simon.
If this gets out I can see the price of pewter going up , the wife has her orders to look out for cheap tankards.

I've been hankering after a mini metal lathe, just think, I could make matching pen parts.
Alan T.30/10/2011 19:32:11
1033 forum posts
98 photos
Hello Bill and Simon, Thanks for looking. The mechanisms I use are just normal slimline versions plated with differing finishes. They are available from fun-e-turnz. at a cost of £18.75 for 10 inc P&P. Good service too. Often thought about a small metal lathe myself Bill, but without your skill and experience it would probably be under used. Cheers Alan T.

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