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How to cast with Delft Clay
Casting with Delft Clay is an easy and pleasant experience and does not require many tools or prep work. Users of Delft Clay can expect a high-quality result even with little knowledge at a beginners level.
What you need:
1 Aluminum casting ring set
Casting metal in this case pewter
A heat source that can melt your chosen metal (torch).
Straight Edge (metal ruler)
Toothpick and a small knife or similar
Something to cast( a Twig)
A flat faced hammer to compress the clay
Place the bottom ring of your casting ring set on a flat surface, the bottom ring is the one with the rim on the inside (it fits inside the top ring).
Fill the bottom ring to the top with Delft Clay making sure to compress the clay as you go with a hammer.
Use a straight edge to “cut off” the excess, making the clay totally flush with the rim.
Using the straight edge again remove the clay off the outer rim so the rings can be joined flush together. Then clean up all the unused clay and put to the side.
Add talcum powder on top of the delft clay, gently use a light bristle brush or your finger to smooth the talcum powder to cover the whole area of the clay, this is to stop the object from sticking and ruining the cast.
Place the object (twig) you wish to cast in the dead centre and evenly apply pressure down till half of the object is submerged into the clay. Once again dust with talcum powder (including the object) and blow the excess off.
Place the second half (the top) of the aluminum casting rings on top of the bottom half. Making sure the centre line is matched up and both rings are evenly connected (which they should be if you followed step four correctly).
Just like step two we need to fill the empty top ring with Delft Clay too. Remember to compact the clay with a hammer as you fill it up.
Carefully pull the two rings apart and remove the object (twig). Best way to pull apart is to hold a ring in each hand and pull away from each other, under no circumstances twist the rings to loosen them in any way as you will disturb the clay and ruin your “moulds” negative impression(s).
From now on take your time, go slow and be careful not to wreck your “mould”. On the top ring, the one with the outer rim, take a toothpick or similar and make a hole on the clay near the end of the objects imprint like the figure below shows.
Push the toothpick through and pull out the other side (of the top ring).
Using the knife make the hole made by the toothpick into a funnel shape about half way down deep this is what we will be pouring the metal down.
Using the toothpick once more make the hole wide by circling it around the hole, being careful not to damage the negative impression.
Make two holes with the toothpick near the “branches” of the twig and then make tiny paths with the toothpick these will act as air holes so the air has somewhere to escape when pouring.
Double check all the holes are actually holes and haven’t “caved in” and rectify them if they have with the use of the toothpick.
Carefully align the rings and place them back together (bottom ring with the inner rim on the bottom).
Melt how much metal you think you need into a crucible with a torch and then add a bit more. It always pays to have more than less as having too little will ruin your cast. Always wear necessary safety gear: gloves, goggles etc.
Have your crucible and blowtorch as near as you can to the rings. Once the metal has melted and the crucible is warmed to the point it’s not sucking the heat out of the metal and cooling it straight after you remove the flame. Slowly lift the crucible to the pour hole while moving the torch with it, to keep the metal in its molten state and in one quick but very controlled motion pour the metal into the pour hole and remove the torch.
Once you have poured the metal, wait for it to cool down before touching/moving it. A small pewter object like this won’t take very long to cool down maybe 10mins tops.
Once cooled you can pull apart the ring and see what you have got.
You will need to finish off the casting by cutting the sprue off (the funnel which we used to pour the metal) and snipping of the little air hole paths, you may also need to sand, file and polish depending on your cast quality and wanted result.