Year of hedgehogs (a few are missing and will have to be added)

Pewter Spoons!

This is what happens when you get impatient and try to pour too often (the mold didn’t cool enough) and take the spoon out before it has fully hardened.

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Perfect bowl!

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the vinning on the back came out pretty well. I’m going to sand them up a little to make the surfaces more regular.

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about 4/5ths of the spoons I cast, had pits like this from the pewter not going in smoothly.

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Tiny shavings from drilling the holes:

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Finally made the pewter spoon that started this odyssey

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Little fox for size comparison. It still needs to be filed down and sanded, but in comparison to the first 4 pours, this one is nearly perfect. The bowl is so smooth and thin! I think I’m going to fill in the knob on the end though as it’s really heavy. I had originally  made it with the knob so it would sit better on the table, but it’s pretty strange looking and feels wrong.

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And on the backside you can still see the leaf pattern, though not as distinctly as I had hoped. I may try to carve in the spine a little more to give it more definition.

Here’s the original wooden version, it sadly did not make it out of the mold in one piece. But it’s neat to see how close they are to each other. Its come so far from its first day. I can’t believe it has only been six weeks in the making. I feel like I’ve been obsessed with spoons for much longer!

Wooden spoon

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after much sanding and carving and then covering in beeswax and burnishing

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spoons

So last week in pewter class I tried to make a sculpy spoon, but it broke in a few places when it came out of the oven. So this week I started to whittle a spoon from a piece of basswood. It’s coming along, it really needs a lot of sanding currently, then perhaps some more carving. I also need a gouge of a slightly different shape, but I think I have one in my kit.

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I can’t decide if I want to use sandpaper or my dremel to sand it.. I like the control of the sand paper, but it is hard to get round shapes to come out right.

Once my spoon is done, we are going to cover it in Vaseline and put it in a little Lego box and pour bondo around it to make a mold for the pewter spoon.

Back of wooden Spoon Front of wooden spoon

Pewter class, wherein I learn to carve wood.

So tonight I was introduced to using wood as a mold for pewter and got to try my hand at carving some cedar, which had a very prominent and pretty grain that added a lot of character to the piece I was making. 

The first suggestion was, make a feather, so I started sketching feathers but they all just looked wrong with the grain, so I decided to go with a leaf, my old standby… 

However the wood was significantly harder than expected and so carving was a much less detailed process than I am used to (which is to be expected with wood, I just didn’t expect quite this much lack of detail). I finally made some progress using a dremel to essentially burn out the wood, first with a round tip, but that gouged more than I wanted, then with a large burr like tip, which worked pretty well but I was having trouble controlling it. I went to the sanding tip, and that allowed for a lot more control, but made it very slow going. Finally I had a general shape of a leaf cut so I went to pour some pewter into it, and it looked really rough, mostly from air bubbles, so it was suggested I make a channel to pour the pewter in (like we’ve been doing with the soap stone) and that was when I finally figured out how to use the dremel with control! So with that newly gained knowledge I smoothed out the mold and tried again. 

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I then went to work trying to make the sprue larger, and accidentally caught the paper towel in the dremel, sending my mold flying across the room, and the dremel wrapped tightly in the towel. I was kind of amazed I had the good sense to hold it away from me, and then turn it off within a second of it happening instead of panicking at all. 

Now with a larger sprue, and with the mold clamped together in two places, we poured again

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It kinda looks like a whale to me! or maybe a fish.. I’m going to take some of this upcoming long weekend to try carving with my own dremel and wood working tools on some bass wood and see how that works instead. (Purely by coincidence, I had interlibraryloan send me 2 books on beginning wood carving that I picked up today, so I should be good for a little bit) 

What I’ve been up to this week

Monday night I made the rough base of Caitrin’s costume for Shadows of Amun, which is basically a large black underdress. The linen was bought at pennsic from Carolina Cottons, and is so soft and drapes wonderfully. I’m very jealous of her costume.

Tuesday night I went to Alex and Joy’s for dinner and worked on my tiny populous badge, which should be done by tonight. I am so eager for that to be done with!

Wednesday night I went to Rozi’s for pewter class. Last week’s class was pretty much a disaster of soapstone breakage. This week Rozi made a back for my mold before I got there, so I only had to finish the backside of my chicken tokens. Image

You can see which ones came before the others by the styling of the wings and the speckledness. I haven’t had a chance to clean them up yet, perhaps on Sunday if the weather is nice.

Once those were at a point where I liked them I decided to quickly make a button for Caitrin based on the crequier that is on her device:

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The one on the left was the first one, which is why it has more texture – the mold wasn’t hot enough yet for a nice smooth finish. The one on the right shows much more of the detail. I hope to clean it up a little and make the leaves more distinct this weekend, but not too bad for about 30 minutes of work.

And by pure luck I happened to cast two perfect leaf buttons that were on the same mold. I wasn’t trying to get these, but they came out so well I decided to keep them:

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Tonight I’m going to see Great Big Sea in Lowell, and I’m going early to try to get a good blanket space, so I’ll have plenty of time to finish my populace badge and perhaps start on the drawn/cut work pincushion I am planning on making.

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