Spoon casting day.
Recently Shelley and I got to spend some time with renowned gunsmith, historian, artist and friend Bill Reynolds to learn how to cast pewter spoons.
Bill has a great old shop where he creates flintlock rifles, folk art and whatever else he feels like. You just never know what he is going to show you on a visit.
Bill and I had been talking about making some spoons forever it seems. I finally had gotten around to melting down a pile of oddball Goodwill pewter finds into ingots and Bill had the molds, the propane and the skills.
Spoon casting has been around for hundreds of hears. The molds that we used were originals from the 18th and early 19th centuries. One was the same as in this image from the Yale University Art Collection, and is a Queen Anne style serving spoon. It is a two piece bronze mold. As a lover of history and the trades, it is always a treat to get to produce an item using period correct techniques and actual tools from the period.
So spoon casting. How hard can it be? You melt some metal and pour it in the hole in the end of the mold, right? Wrong. It turns out that The mold has to be in a fairly narrow temperature range. If it is too cold the pewter cools before it fills the mold and leaves you with an incomplete spoon. Too hot and the pewter runs out the cracks between the halves of the mold or some other odd thing that is counterproductive to efficient spoon formation.
Here is me with Bill, trying not to burn each other.
Shelley was wisely standing back taking the pictures.
Since Bill had two molds we were able to work back and forth, allowing the unused mold to cool a little. It didn’t help that it was unmercifully hot that day.
After a couple hours of hot work the three of us had about a dozen and a half spoons cast and ready for finishing.
To finish the spoons we will need to cut of the excess pewter, then file and polish the spoons to the desired finish. That sounds like a rainy day activity at this point.
We would like to thank Bill for his help and expertise on spoon casting. It was a fun afternoon.