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Thread: Pewter

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Pewter

    Is anyone here by chance familiar with working with pewter?
    I saw some lovely jewellery at a gift shop the other day that had been cast in pewter and as usual I started contemplating some new ideas.... At first glance they look like silver but of course they must cost considerably less for materials.
    I know pewter is very soft and wouldn't be soldered with a torch, instead a soldering iron and a soft solder of some sort. I'm wondering whether it could be used in a polishing tumbler with stainless steel shot and whether usual oxidising chemicals can be used on it.

    Are there any other major drawbacks using pewter?

  2. #2
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    The only draw back Sandra is that being mostly tin, with some antimony and bismuth, it will contaminate your work area and tools, so most be kept strictly separate from precious metals. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 04-05-2017 at 11:22 AM.

  3. #3
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    Ok thanks, of course there had to be a downside! I don't really have enough tools or extra work area to keep everything seperate so perhaps this isn't a possibility after all.

  4. #4
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    Hi Sandra
    It comes out lovely when tumble polished with stainless shot.
    I never tried the oxidising chemicals - so I can't answer that.
    It's lovely to saw and form - no need to anneal - ever. It can be fused and in theory soldered with a torch - but I never had many sucesses - it must take more practice that I was willing to put in.
    On the downside, you can't work harden it - so it's often too soft for many applications, and although you can get hold of it - it's not as readily available nor in as many formats as other metals.
    Sally

  5. #5
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    Thanks Sally, that's interesting. if I used pewter it would be only be for casting, probably. Would I need to use a dedicated seperate tumbler barrel for pewter that will never be used for precious metals? I don't quite understand the issue of contamination but it doesn't sound nice

  6. #6
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    I've never had any problems tumbling pewter, silver and copper all together.
    I think the cross contamination is more of an issue when it comes to soldering, as bits of pewter on your silver - perhaps passed on from a 'contaminated' file are said to cause pitting in the silver - but I have not experienced this myself.
    Sally

  7. #7
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    Would anyone know about having pewter hallmarked? I've done a bit of searching on the internet and from what I gather it doesn't have to be. However I purchased a brooch recently and it had the word 'pewter' stamped on the back. I think it's probably good to have that even if it isn't mandatory, but will the Assay office do that or is it something you do on your own?

  8. #8
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    It's not a precious metal so I think you'd have to stamp it yourself. It's probably just marked as a selling tool and not for any other reason. You could just as easily have pewter printed on your packaging or cards

  9. #9
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    Thanks Caroline! If I make a wax model specifically to be cast in pewter I think I'll stamp 'pewter' on the model itself in that case.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandra View Post
    Thanks Caroline! If I make a wax model specifically to be cast in pewter I think I'll stamp 'pewter' on the model itself in that case.
    That seems like a good idea if it's as soft as everyone says.

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