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Geoff Keyes

I need some advice on small castings

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I picked up a very cool walrus artifact.  It's a socket for a small spear or harpoon.  My thought is to turn it into the top of a walking stick (read sword cane).  I was holding it, trying to get a feel for it and what it wants, and I got an idea for an applied, cast (silver? Gold?) octopus or tentacled horror.  I want it to wrap all the way around with the head on top.

The problem is, I've never done any casting as fine as this, and I don't know what material to use, plus, I'm sure there are pitfalls that I don't know about, and so I can't even plan to meet them.  I started fiddling with some modeling clay, which gave me some ideas, but it won't hold it's shape enough to make a casting (I don't think).

What should I use to make the form, what should I look out for, is there going to be shrinkage?  Should I consider doing it in several pieces?

I could just farm this out, but it's a place I'd like to go anyway, so maybe this is the time.

Geoff

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It's hard to give advice without pics/dimensions etc, but my inclination would be to leave a thin web between the tentacles which you can remove with a jewellers saw after casting - i think it would give a better chance of getting the metal to flow out to the delicate parts. Depending on your design, I probably wouldn't worry about shrinkage - anneal after casting, bend the tentacles out slightly to get it seated, and adjust with a rawhide or softwood mallet. 

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Here are a couple of pics of the piece and what I think I want to do.

IMG_1624 (Medium).JPG

IMG_1628 (Medium).JPG



 

IMG_1630 (Medium).JPG

 

Geoff

 

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have you looked into lost wax carving and casting ??

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I've only just started fiddling with this.  I've been trying clay, but I'm finding it hard to get small enough to get all of the detail I want.  I need to buy some wax wire and see where that takes me.  I'm starting to think that making this in several pieces, casting the tentacles flat and then bending them into shape might be the way to go.

g

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I have seen some very intricate stuff done with lost wax casting, though I have not done that type myself.

I do some hobby foundry work with sand casting occasionally...............

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Consider Delft silver casting clay; you form your piece then bake it in the oven and the silver is left (or so I hear).

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Just now, SteveShimanek said:

Consider Delft silver casting clay; you form your piece then bake it in the oven and the silver is left (or so I hear).

That's PMC, precious metal clay, and it requires higher temps than a home oven.  It's cool stuff, though!  Seems like Wes Detrick made a Cthulu-themed knife a few years ago, maybe try to find that thread?  I think it was Wes, anyway...

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I found a thread by Vinícius Ferreira Arruda from 2016, but the photo links are broken :(.  I'm thinking that a three piece construction might work, a head, a mantle, and two or three clusters of tentacles .  That would have some interesting complexity.

 

g

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So it wasn't Wes, but here it is.

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