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Repousse pitch recipes

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I've started playing with repousse, using someone else's shop. He uses red German pitch, but I don't want to spend $50 for a minimum order until I know I'll stick with this. I did find various recipes for pitch on the 'net, the simplest uses beeswax and plaster-of-paris. How does this compare with the red german? And could I substitute paraffin for the beeswax?

Other recipes use all sorts of other ingredients that aren't all that easy to find. Roofers pitch can't be gotten in small quantities, and would smell pretty bad anyway. Anyone know of other home-brew pitch recipes?

For now I'm using copper sheet, some thick gauge flashing, as the medium. I'll probably try steel some day. Anybody ever use aluminum flashing?

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"Metal Working" by Paul N. Hasluck, says "8oz brickdust, 1 oz resin, and 1 table spoon of linseed oil", makes a "softer and more tenacious composition", "more suitable to be beaten up from the back". This book has a fantastic section on Repousse work, along with sections on any other kind of metal working from 1907. An excallant referance book for any metal workers library.

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the pitch is melted and poured into a bowl or pan and allowed to cool, then the "peice " you are working on goes on top of the pitch. The trick is, the stuff is hard enough to support the work while chiseling and whatnot, but soft enough that its held in place with out deforming. Its really just for cold 3-D work in soft / anealed sheet metals like: copper, brass, steel, tin , lead ...

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Not really, more like a 3 rd set of hands to hold a thin or delicate part with out deforming, while you finish the neat details. Here are some links that should help. Some real nice examples of repousse' work and even some tool patterns , in case you want to make some.

Hope this helps


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Thanks for the input. I've got some paraffin and plaster-of-paris and will play with that. If paraffin doesn't work, beeswax is easy enough to get on eBay.

Thanks for those links. There were a couple I didn't have yet.

The pitch is a backing that takes the shape of the indents as you create the shape. Repousse tools, chisels, butchers, fullers, ..., are pretty small, allowing fine detail. The pitch has to be tough enough to not "dent" where you're not denting the metal, but soft enough to take the shape whee you want it.

Wood is good for thick metal, but doesn't allow detail. Lead is similar.

At least this is what I've gotten from my very limited experience so far.

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I have done repousse' using Roma Plastilina(sp?) that I bought from Dick Blick art supply. They make 2 or 3 types and I bought the hardest one. You do not have to heat this, just pound it into a shallow container. I used an old skillet with the handle removed. I have worked annealed 18 and 20 ga. mild steel on it.

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