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My pitch always wants to crack or withdraw from the piece. Should I be spending more time heating the entire pitch basin? And what do other people use for heating? I often come close to catching my pitch on fire when heating with a torch.


Also... what is best way to avoid pitch stuck to the work piece when retrieving?

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The cracks may be due to the composition of the pitch. Adding a little bit of oil might help.

I use a heat gun instead of a torch but you can also overheat the pitch with the gun. Keep some distance and go slow.

Enjoy life!

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Okay... I was just playing with it and it helped to heat up all the pitch in the bowl... but it still seems like I have a short window between too soft to work and then the pitch receding from the work piece or cracking. So I wonder if it's a composition issue as Jesus mentions..

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Some more information on the "pitch" might help. what kind is it? Receding from the piece sound very strange, is it like shrinkage or is it just slumping away like melting icecream?

The matsuyani I use can catch on fire it does not really hurt it so I use a large torch head or if I am out I use a heat gun.

The pieces I generally remove cold by sending a punch into the pitch near the item. The shock wave dislodges the piece most of the time with very little pitch attached. otherwise on more delicate items the pitch is gently heated until the piece can be plucked from the pitch and then it is washed in solvent to remove the residue.

Matsuyani always work best when the entire bowl is at comfortable room temp or warmer. Warming up the pitch all the way through is a must for doing work that requires a softer pitch and it also give the best long term hold for something like a tsuba. Think of it as annealing the pitch. It removes stresses and allows everything to come to an equilibrium as it slow cools. If you just heat the spot where you want to attach the object you have areas that are not expanding or contracting as much as the heated area.


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Patrick has some great points. Often in the winter or cold environments I keep a heatgun handy to warm the piece periodically. Obviously pitch reacts differently at different temperatures, and different recipes have different optimum working temps. Typically for fine detail you'll want a harder pitch, because you'll be using lighter blows, for heavier blows, you'll want a softer pitch


Did you check out my videos? I have a few on setting metal in pitch http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=26875





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Patrick... Yeah I meant to give some idea of the my pitch. I got it from Northwest Pitchworks.. but I can't recall if it was considered medium, hard, etc.


When I say withdraw.. I just mean that when it hardens it loosens up and moves around in the set.


Since my last post I've done a 'deep heat' again.. and it now seems to be working pretty well...


Saign... I'm aware of your videos and I very much want to find the time to go through them. I'm sure there will be many enlightening moments for me. You should make them into a DVD.

Edited by Scott A. Roush
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Acetone works well for removing pitch from anything.
Other then that, what Patrick said.

Mark Green


I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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