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Re: [Orchid] Repousse pitch and alternatives
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R.E.Rourke Sunday, April 05, 2009
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    In addition to pitch and shellac I also use thermoplastic for some
    things.. it is sold as jett-sett or other trade names and holds work
    quite stable. It is great if the piece is rectangular or long and
    the work- say a border or repetitive pattern is to be raised as the
    jett-sett forms to the piece and the flexible and not-as flexible
    types both have enough give so as not to shatter when raising your
    design (If you are copying a pattern to raise it also works
    adequately for a rigid mould) I have a couple of chunky leather
    circles about 2 inches thick and 6 inches in diameter that are great
    for repousse - mine came off of old window weights, and I have a
    square one I removed from a mallet. they work quite well as is. I
    have attached fine silver and gold sheet to the circular one by
    creating a rim of setters cement (a combination of flake shellac,
    plaster and wax- much like the green sealing wax blocks that can be
    found at jewelers suppliers, stationers and hardware stores) all
    around the edge. It bonds enough to hold anything in place for work-
    then if too large an area to hold smaller discs it will come off in
    a ring by placing it in the freezer for a few minutes and removing
    with a sharp rap on the bench edge-I can then remelt it and pour it
    where i need it to hold any smaller disc as opposed to covering the
    entire top with cement which is an option but I use a pitch bowl for
    that very reason as sometimes I like the give of the leather when
    doing finer work than, for instance, a bunch of peined depressions
    like grapes or all over hammering before pressing a piece of
    holloware. As for lead- I have a few cakes of it around, but they are
    best for casting anthill sculptures (each one is unique-though the
    killing of the ants is a karmicly questionable practise) as opposed
    to using it in jewelry making !! Pitch or setters cement is far safer
    to use for raising/repousse. If using lead to make a mould for
    customised stakes, hammers, tools, etc, I melt and pour it
    outdoors..If you do use it for operations in the shop wrapping and
    storing the cakes in glove or kid leather is is dangerous
    stuff left over from earlier times when we did not know what we know
    today about how easily it is absorbed through the skin..rer

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