Saturday, May 1, 2021
10:00 am - 2:00 pm PDT
Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse
Zoom link and instructions for joining the call will be emailed 1 day prior to class.
The class supply list is below and contains links to buy the supplies you need.
Gravity casting covers a series of casting mold materials like cuttlebone, charcoal, sand, water, and other easy receptacles that can shape the metal using gravity as you pour the melted metal. These techniques have been used since ancient times as molds for casting. Popular mold materials often are items found around the caster in their environment. (Nowadays most reusable molds are made of silicone or rubber.) Cuttlebone, sand, and charcoal continue to be used as mold materials, ingot molds, and for creating unique designs. We will explore other materials that can also be used for gravity casting.
Gravity casting is used because of the ease of the process, availability, and the beautiful textures it can create based on what you pour the metal into.
Most of these molds are easy to shape or are spontaneous, resulting in unique objects. An example is soft charcoal that is easily carved to create forms, texture, or ingot molds.
Supply List for Students
The links below will take you to RioGrande.com or other suppliers. To see prices for precious metal items, you need a free Rio Grande account. Registered Little Metal Foxes students can access the Rio for Schools program for significant savings (discounts and flat-rate shipping). This site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.
Potential mold materials
- Cuttlebones. These can be purchased from bird suppliers and some jewelry suppliers. I get my medium to large bones from Great Companions online. Most cuttlebones are only able to be used once.
- Soft charcoal block. There are different kinds of charcoal blocks. Be sure to use soft charcoals solder blocks for casting. These can generally be used a few times if you are careful. The mold will deteriorate a bit with each use.
- Rock salt. You’ll need a steel pan or bowl.
- Water. You’ll need a deep bucket with a steel bowl or steel pan that fits in the bottom of the bucket.
- Straw sweeping broom. To prep the broom, you will need to cut a big bundle of straw, use binding wire to tie the straw together and soak in water overnight.
- Scrap sterling silver from your studio or buy an ounce (1 oz) sterling casting grain
From your local hardware store
- Thin iron binding wire (20-24g,)
- Dust Mask
- Coarse sandpaper
- Sand, pumice rocks, solder bricks, or clay kitty litter to hold cuttlebones propped up securely while casting
- Carving tools like an X-acto knife or dental tools
- Borax (20 mule team is available from the grocery store near laundry detergent.)
Metal and jewelry tools
- Wire cutters
- Chain nose pliers
- Saw and blades