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I Forge Iron

So I want to melt/smelt some brass...

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Word of advice. Fight the urge to pour large pewter bars. Melt and pour every item separate. Unless they are identical items from the same maker from the same time. Everyone keeps saying there isn't any tin smelters in the us. Technically smelters no, but there is a company called Tin Tech in Pennsylvania who refines tin from industrial producers who make items using tin. All different forms and compounds of tin. They use an xrf gun. It is a 500 pound minimum and took almost 2 months the last time I used them. Any pewter that contains antimony will be charged a penalty. I have personally shot (xrf) many pewter alloys over the years. I have seen so many other elements in them like arsenic and all kinds of other things I never would of thought would be in pewter.

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FMM, since modern pewter is often lead free to avoid contaminating anything ingested do you see much older pewter which is a tin and lead alloy?  IIRC, lead was replaced in the alloy with antimony and copper.

And how do you get 500+ pounds of metal from Florida to Pennsylvania?  Truck freight?  Is is still worth it when transportation costs are inclusded in the equation?

BTW, I've never considered Wyoming winters to be that hard but they can get awfully long.  In April you can drive down to Ft. Collins, CO (about an hour drive south and several thousand feet lower) and the grass is green and the trees are starting to leaf out but when you get back to Laramie (7200' downtown, 7500' at our house) it is still iron winter.


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Lead free pewter is like saying fat free butter. There is almost always some amount of lead in every pewter alloy. Whether it is cross contamination from machinery or handling and storage. For instance, if the source tin came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where they still use leaded gas it becomes contaminated. Lead, tin, and antimony is very hard to separate due to their similar compositions. To truly separate it you have to heat them to their vaporization points and vacuum separate them one at a time. I'm talking super high temperatures 2260°C for tin. 

Lead/tin alloys are still very prevalent today. They are mainly used in items meant for decoration like picture frames and whatnot.

As for food safe. I honestly believe there is no such thing. Antimony is toxic. They say copper dishes leach toxins in your food. Same with cast aluminum.

Profitable? Like I've said it all depends on how you buy and sell. If you buy all your pewter from the thift store you wouldn't nake a dime. I can fit 500 pounds of pewter in a 5 gallon bucket if it is cast in large bars. The alloys need to be sorted with xrf gun to make sure they are alike alloys so you don't get hit with penalties on say a hundred pound bar because you added a pound of Antimony to your  99 pound Britannia bar.

My girl has family in Pennsylvania so I usually bring it up when we visit. The company keeps telling me I can send it up by freight but that's because they want to do more business with me more frequently. I only get paid for the tin content. They really want the free lead I give them. Lead is very useful for a multitude of scientific processes.

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