Sand Casting a Sterling Silver Tarot Card Pendant

Sand Casting a Sterling Silver Tarot Card Pendant

So, I have this really nice tarot card die called "The Lover". I press silver into a steel die using a hydraulic press and create a really detailed impression. I thought it might be worth trying to sand cast the finished piece to see if it would be more efficient to make copies using this method. This is what I discovered.....

In the picture you can see the original press using sheet silver. This is the finished piece that I used to press into the clay to get the impression. In the background you can see the impression in the clay. Here is a closer look at what that looks like.

The impressions are really nicely detailed, you can even see my initials from the backside. Next I will create vent holes for the hot air. This will help the silver to flow. I will then melt my scrap silver and pour it into the mold. The initial design used ~0.16oz of silver so I made sure to at least double that for melting. The extra molten metal helps push the molten metal through the cast. Let's see how it goes.....

It flowed perfect for the first try and I was super happy with how well it filled the mold. The detail is there but unfortunately the sand casting leaves a grainy look. This normally wouldn't be an issue if I could sand and polish the surface, but I cannot do that in this case without losing the fine detail in the design. This is a realization that not everything can be cast. Sand casting is great for basic rings and things, but let's not leave out the possibility that I just suck at casting and I am not packing the sand enough. On to try a few other things.

Original hydraulic press on the right and the sand casting copy on the left.

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