Pewter is a beautiful and underrated metal. It is subtle, malleable, pliant, and makes wonderfully crisp castings. Pewter no longer contains lead. It is made from tin, antimony and copper. I cast my pewter into moulds made from small pieces of birch plywood that fit together like a puzzle. The best thing about casting pewter in wood is that no two castings come out the same. Depending on the temperature of the pewter, the temperature of the mould, the temperature in the workshop, the age of the mould, the size of the mould, how large the cup of tea in my hand is, the pewter behaves differently each time. Sometimes when you take a piece out of the mould you have a creamy smooth finish, sometimes you see every last tiny fibre of the wood grain, and sometimes you find you have a lovely feathering like winter frost on a cold window. That’s the one I’m always aiming for. And sometimes it doesn’t work at all and then you just melt it down again. I use very high-tech equipment for casting pewter – a soup ladle and an old camping stove. An old desert spoon and a bit of coat hanger are also essential kit.
A note on caring for pewter: Pewter can be cleaned with liquid soap and warm water, or if very dirty with a little whitening toothpaste and warm water. Dry it and buff it to a shine with a soft cloth.