Cuttlefish Bone Molding & Casting Extravaganza

My school has this jewellery casting workshop on Saturday. The jewellery is cast from cuttlefish bones.

Here is how we do it.

DSC09415Cuttlefish bones.

DSC09436Trim off the edges of the bones as they curl inwards.

DSC09448Cuttlefish bone has a contour. Locate the highest point and saw the bone into 2 pieces.

DSC09451Sand the bones in circular motion to achieve a fair bit of flat surface.

DSC09453Flat surface.

DSC09458Find yourself a small object to cast the mold.

DSC09462As cuttlefish bone is really soft, you can pressing your object in. If it doesn’t leave enough impression (depth), do carve a little of the material out. I’ve to slit small lines so that the molten silver can reach the tiny detailed ends.

DSC09466As I am doing a single side casting, I’ll just need to brush the other piece of bone with dry brushes to create air vents. Jewelleries with such wavy patterns  denote that they are cast from cuttlefish bones.

DSC09468Cut openings on both sides to allow molten silver to flow in. Secure the mold with masking tape.

DSC09439The torching equipments.

DSC09471Secure your mold.

DSC09442Torch the silver in ceramic bowl.

DSC09445Pour the molten silver into the mold’s opening. Keep the mold upright.

DSC09485Observe the mold through the red button. The mold is ready to take it apart only when the button turns grey.

DSC09486The button has turned grey but it’s still hot. Remove the mold and cool it in water.

DSC09495My burnt mold. Only for 1 time casting.

DSC09489Saw away the excess and button.

DSC09491My casting before restoring the shines.

DSC09492Casting back, that wavy lines by the air vents.

DSC09490My casting weighs 2.8 grams. And I’ve to pay for the material used.

DSC09496Shiny silver after a water bathe in alum (alkaline).

It isn’t an easy process actually, very much of these are assisted by the instructors who are present. Especially when designing the cast, you’ll need to plan. One of the considerations to make design feasible is to consider if the molten silver can flow into the corners and turns. After all, the molten silver is not like the runny water, it’s much thicker.