Pewter is a soft metal alloy, whose primary metal is tin. It also contains bismuth, antimony and copper or silver. Historically, pewter has been used for making dishes, goblets and other eating utensils. Pewter items can be made by hand forging, machining or casting. It is well-suited for a variety of decorative castings, from collectable figurines to jewellery or larger, often functional castings, and pewter supplies are readily available for hobbyists and professionals alike.
Ladles and Crucibles
Pewter must be melted before it is cast into a mould to cool and harden. It can be melted in non-speciality containers such as a very small steel pot. A steel pot would have to be modified for pouring, however, so it's preferable to have a melting container specifically designed for casting. A crucible of the right shape and size for your project will be much safer and easier to work with. A casting ladle is essentially a small crucible with pouring spouts, which provides the necessary accuracy when pouring molten pewter.
You can make your own moulds or buy them, depending on the complexity of your pewter projects. Jewellers, for example, usually make their own, while hobbyists who collect figurines of the Civil War may buy moulds but pour the castings themselves. Molds of a variety of figures, decorative objects and functional items are readily available.
Mold Material: RVT
RVT is a type of silicon rubber with a number of unique properties for mould-making and casting. RVT can capture fine detail in a mould, and has many advantages over plaster moulds, as it dries quickly with almost no shrinkage or distortion. It also flexes without tearing during cast removal, which allows for more intricate castings. Care must be taken in this process, however, because pewter, once liquefied, should not be heated excessively when cast in RVT.
Some moulds can be used without a funnel. Other mould designs either need a funnel or greatly benefit from the use of a funnel when pouring. Pewter-casting funnels are made from a several materials, including metal. Very often they are made of ceramic or silicon. Remember, especially if this is a hobby for you, that any pewter that doesn't flow into the mould is going to burn through just about anything it touches. So the use of well-designed professional casting supplies is advisable.