Bit of an update, since I haven't posted anything here in a while...
The house number plaque I made for my sister is now installed on the front of her house and she seems satisfied with it:
Also, I have completed another aluminum bronze choppy thing project. A pipe-tomahawk this time. Chose to make the rear-facaing bit a smoking pipe instead of a spike or something because new laws here in Canada had everyone talking about legalized wacky tobaccy up here constantly for a few weeks and months there. I was hoping to maybe try my hand at making some stuff to sell sometime down the line and that's the idea I came up with.
The pipe-hawk casting needs 2 cores; one for the eye where the handle fits in. And one for the pipe bowl. Cores are made in molds called core boxes, so I had to make 2 core boxes. I think I showed a bunch ch of pictures of how I made the core box for another one of my bronze axes somewhere above, so here's just one, of the new corebox for the bowl core:
I also made a little video demonstrating how I make these coreboxes using Lego, plasticine (cheese wax works in a pinch too but not as nice) and hydrostone plaster, if anyone is interested:
The bowl core box was made around a piece of dowel I sanded down the end of I to the shape I wanted for the pipe bowl, but the core for the eye is shaped like a sacrificial tomahawk handle I cut up for this project. I ordered a few of them, they're pretty cheap and I'm no woodworker, but I wanted to be sure the handles that company sells are all roughly similar so they'd fit the same tomahawks well. I used the same chunk of handle that I made the second corebox with to build the actual foundry pattern's core prints, which are projections off a pattern designed for a hardened sand core to fit in so that they are supported by the mold in place when the metal is poured in. I scuplted the eye of the tomahawk pattern onto the core print using a 2-part epoxy putty (an old trick I learned from my gaming miniatures hobby, I told the guys at the casting forums ). And I used scraps of old furniture and terrain basing supplies I found in my scraps bin to use for making the blade and bowl. Here are some pictures of the patternmaking process:
The patternmaking video I made covers it up to this point:
But I had second thoughts and ended up beefing up the blade-to-eye joint with more putty before I cast it:
Couple more coats of paint and it was time to cast this thing! Of course there is video of that too:
And some still pix as well...
The crazy colours faded as the ingots cooled down.
Couple small casting defects...
Bowl drilled through to the eye. I'm still figuring out how I'm gonna drill a long straight hole through a hawk handle to make the pipe functional. I'm more interested in throwing it at targets and chopping down trees with it than that though.
On its handle, loosely.
After grinding out some of the booger holes (actual foundry terminology)
And finally, after a bunch more sanding, sharpening, and peening to work harden the edge:
Here it is next to its older brother, who could use a bit of cleaning and sharpening since I actually use it quite a lot for doing work around the yard.
That's it for now. I'm planning on turning the pattern into a match plate, which means mounting it on a board that will allow me to make pipe-hawk molds much more quickly and easily. Not sure how long that will take but I'll post more when there's something to post. Meanwhile I also have a new (used) small electric kiln that needs to have it's controls updated from an on/off switch to a k-tyoe thermocouple and PID controller etc., which will allow me to program it so that it will be useful for burning out small molds for lost wax casting or.maybe even some winter aluminum casting if I can get a safe place to use it set up in the basement. It did come with a large number of small crucibles that fit inside it, plus another larger #6 clay-graphite crucible that looks brand new and is privately worth more than I paid for the whole bunch. And a bunch of cast aluminum ingots. And here I thought I was.the it person in this region crazy enough to play around with molten metal! Not so; I got to meet French Canadian future me when I picked this thing up... You gotta love Kijiji (aka Canadian Craig's List)!
Pretty sure I'm not gonna get away with keeping it in the living room for much longer, so that is my main concern right now...