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Re: [Orchid] Preparing pitch bowl
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Alberic Tuesday, November 01, 2005
   
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Donna:

    FInd a cheap old soup pot, melt the pitch in there. (GENTLY!!) Then
    just pour the liquid pitch into the bowl and let it harden.
    (Personally, I don't use plaster, but large blocks of lead about
    half the size of a normal brick.) 

    The big trick is to keep the heat very low so you don't burn the
    pitch. Also, it's incredibly important that when you go to re-melt
    any that's left in there for other uses, start with the pot half off
    the burner such that one side melts first. Keep the temp low. I heard
    of a really horrific accident a few years before me in school where
    someone just tossed the pitch pot onto a burner dead center, then
    went away for a few minutes. The melted pitch on the bottom expanded
    and blew the still solid top off, spraying molten pitch all over the
    place. You *really* want to make sure that one edge of the pot is
    molten all the way to the top as a vent before you start working on
    the middle. Keep that in mind, and it's perfectly safe. I've been
    melting pitch in an old camping pot for years with no problems. (It's
    very much the same concept as drilling a hole in a fully closed
    volume before trying to solder on it.) Needless to say, a face shield
    is *not* optional when doing this. 

    As far as putting it on a 2x4, I'd start with a 2x4 lump, warm it
    with a torch, and just stick it to the end of the 2x4. Use a wet
    metal spatula to 'pat' the pitch into position. You could pour a
    puddle out of the pot, then herd it with the spatula, if that seems
    easier. 

Regards,
Brian.



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