Since the forge is down, I don’t have a place to smelt metal, which has put a big crimp in my silver casting projects.
But I can still noodle around:
I made a little viking-style ax head out of resin-soaked bog oak. Then, I made a silicone mold from that (far left, the purple thing) and you can see the detail that the silicone captures in the wax; it’s basically molecule-level accurate.
The blobby thing at the bottom of the wax is the pouring inlet. A while into doing this sort of thing, I realized that I need to hold the item still in the silicone and I may as well dual-purpose that part of the process. I use a bit of modeling clay to build a base that simultaneously holds the item and forms the eventual pouring inlet.
When you figure out the pour of an item, you have to do some thinking to imagine how the air is going to move in the mold (since I am not yet using vacuum molding on my pours) also, how you are going to finish/machine the thing. When I cast silver, it’ll be stronger than the bog oak, so I may drill a hole large enough to fit an axe handle (of bog oak, naturally!) into the metal. Or not, I don’t know. So some of the dimensions that look thick will thin down as I sand and shape the final version.
The great thing about the lost wax process is that you can alter the wax easily enough, and if you screw it up you just re-melt the wax and re-pour. You can see at the end of the axe edge, there is a small bubble; I re-poured the wax and was a bit more careful to tilt the mold to let the bubbles out. Molten hot silver is heavier and it’ll fill that area just fine, but I may tip the mold by putting something under that side when I pour it.
Another thing I think I’ll do is carve some runes in the wax along the side of the axehead. Why not? If I screw up, I can just do it again.
Resin-soaked bog oak is delightful stuff to work with. It’s strong, light, grinds and files cleanly, and polishes right up. If any of you have a project that you think would be set off nicely with a small chunk of resin-soaked bog oak, contact me and I’ll send you some. It’s embarrassing how much material I have to cut away to make a bowl, so I have a pile of weird cut-offs of burl wood and bog oak that are too small for knife handles or bowls, but too big to throw away. It’s super easy to work with a coping saw or a pin jigsaw, so I can throw together stuff like the axe head pretty quickly – about 10 minutes.