Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

cast-cutlefsh-msg - 8/26/08


Casting pewter using cuttlefish molds.


NOTE: See also these files: casting-msg, casting-lnks, metals-msg, metalworking-msg, metalworking-FAQ, tokens-msg, belts-msg, fasteners-msg, soapstone-msg, pewter-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 05:09:37 -0400

From: "Peter B. Steiner" <petersdiner at yahoo.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Aquamanilia - info sought


Another casting technique which has been used since ancient times is Cuttlebone

casting.  The desired pattern is carved into cuttlebone (the calcium carbonate

endoskeleton of an aquatic creature known as a cuttlefish) - and then metal is

poured directly into the relief carving.  The valuable points of this technique

are that 1) anyone willing to exercise reasonable care (hot metal is always

dangerous unless it is properly handled) can produce good results, and 2)

cuttlebone is available in every pet store on the planet. (Cuttlebones are those

oblong white things people hang in bird cages to allow their birds to keep their

bills naturally abraded.)

This method of casting is easier than lost-wax, though like soapstone casting it

isn't as versatile for the production of 3-dimensional objects.  Cuttlebone has

the virtues of being softer, easier to carve, and more widely available than


I don't want to discourage you from trying soapstone, which is an excellent

choice.....this is simply another Period alternative I thought might interest






From: Fvigil at aol.com

Date: August 24, 2007 10:00:50 AM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: what about cuttlebone? was RE: [pewterersguild] Opinions: Using both side...


While we're talking about cuttlebone casting, new casters should be warned of the smell.

Pewter casting into cuttlefish bone stinks - specifically a sort of dead fish stink. One casting seems to leave an unpleasant but not overwhelming stink in my small shop. Doing more than that and the smell is pretty vile and spreads through the house before too long.

My one experience casting silver into a cuttlefish mold instantly created a thicker vile stench that I thought just needed the visible cartoon cloud to go with it. I'm damn glad that was not done in my basement shop or my wife would have been "less than pleased" to have that odor fill the house.

Casting in cuttlefish is easy and really sort of fun in the quick gratification sense. But make sure you have a well ventilated area or just do it outside.

Final note: I've been told that there are different kinds of cuttlefish bone and that they have differing degrees of stench, but I can't speak to that personally as my experience is all with the stuff I can find at my local pet stores (700 miles from the nearest ocean).




From: Chris Fuhr <instructorhasgonedigital at yahoo.com>

Date: August 24, 2007 2:35:45 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: what about cuttlebone? was RE: [pewterersguild] Opinions: Using both side...


I think my prof. said that the Squid can get a parasite/mold something during the drying process one batch can have it the next not that stinks.  It's harmless for the birds doesn't affect casting and too much a pain to get rid of.

The other theory was the bone wasn't dry enough.

And the theory that some species smell more than others.


----- Original Message ----

From: Anne-Marie Rousseau <dailleurs at liripipe.com>


Mark de Gaulkler has told me its stinky but he didn't tell me HOW stinky. Typical of Mark, if you know him J.

I know in my research I've seen a lot of treated cuttlebone (they flavor it for the birds, I guess?). I wonder if that makes a difference? I'm betting it does, but which way? More stinky? Less stinky? Different stinky?

Thanks for the heads-up, though! J

--AM, who doesn't mind stinky but would rather not have all her work clothes smell like squidÉ



From: Crystal Smithwick <crystal_smithwick at hotmail.com>

Date: August 24, 2007 12:44:19 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: RE: what about cuttlebone? was RE: [pewterersguild] Opinions: Using both side...


Found this article online about cuttlebone casting


I also found several sites on line that sell  "large" cuttlebone, the largest seems to be from 5-8 inches,



Though I did find one site that purported to have 10" long cuttlebones


I wonder how big a cuttlebone would be in one of those giant squids they keep catching off Japan? I did look, but not reported.



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org