Off the wall alloy mix

#1
I need a suggestion from the experts here. I got a guy that is making a knife. He wants to use pewter to pour a bolster for the handle on the knife. But I feel it will be too soft. I want to tell him something to add to his pewter to make it hard but not too brittle. Pretty sure he is still going to pin it to the blank. I at least hope he is. Or epoxy it it anyway.

So what would you add to the pewter? I know it is not gun related. But it is outdoor related.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Pewter was often used for poured forend tips on some muzzleloaders. In a thick solid mass it is pretty durable really. We think of it as soft because we can easily dent or squish a pewter mug but they are thin walled.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
#3
tin has a pretty good BHN to it.
35 airc.
as a solid 1/2" or so piece it would be pretty tough.
he could use a roll of that 95-5 solder which is tin and antimony it usually has a smidgen of copper.

I have tried bending 63/37 solder bars before and they take more than just pulling them around your knee to make more than just a bend in them.
you have to actually stretch tin nodules far enough apart to break to get the bars to flex, which is the popping/creaking noise you hear when you do bend the stuff.
 
#4
My experience parallels Brad's and Fiver's comments, but another possibility, without going to the trouble of making a special alloy, is a metal which is highly popular in knife materials and made to do what you desire - nickle-silver. Your knife-maker is likely very aware of this material and may have already had a reason to use pewter instead. I don't think nickle-silver melts nearly as easily as pewter and he may have it in his heart to incorporate that method skill for the sake of his art or historical purposes. I believe nickle silver only became really popular as a knife bolster material in the Western World a hundred years ago or so, after the age of most being made one-off.

In my personal experience, nickle-silver seems to tarnish much less easily than pewter and in working it, it seems as hard or harder than most common brass I've used which has not been annealed. It's not terribly expensive either, only slightly more than brass. I have sulfur in my well water - not enough to smell after going through a plain old softener, but my wife has some pewter jewelry which will tarnish in open air quickly while the nickle-silver on my knives is not at all affected. It works almost like brass but "feels" a little harder when filing. Rods, tubes, bars and blocks are readily available as well. My opinion on this is prejudiced toward nickle silver because I also like look the look of it and it makes a great front sight on a muzzle-loader. Your preferences and your knife-maker's experience may differ for whatever reason but it's a material to look at.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#5
I see forends on Sharps rifles regularly done this way. Apparently temps are low enough
not to harm the wood, so they carve a fleur de lis or other shape in the wood, fill it with pewter
as a "handle" to hold the foreend on and you wonder.....how'd they do that and get that perfect fit?

Take a look at this example.

https://www.carolinashootersclub.com/attachments/img_2280-jpg.122794/

I think it may be OK in thick sections.

Bill
 
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#6
Pistolero,
Years ago, pre-Internet, I researched this and the suggested method that seemed to make the most sense to me was to use a playing card taped around the fore-end as a "form". I can't remember if I saw this in the Dixie Gunworks Catalog or some other printed resource. I don't play cards so I have no idea if the quality of playing cards has been degraded as so many other things have, so I can't promise it'll work.

I have to figure out how to quote on this site. Doesn't look like that worked.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
#7
I have to figure out how to quote on this site. Doesn't look like that worked.
Very simple to post quotes . . . . Don't use the quote "link" cause that will make ya cross eyed.

DO use the "Reply" link from the post you wish to quote. That will make ya happy.:)

Yes that does sound strange to me also but it is what it is.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#8
Pewter melts at about 450F, and that is about the ignition point of paper....may work, but expect
the possibility of it catching fire. I'd use tin foil on cardboard as a rough form, maybe, and
make it plenty big enough to file to shape.

Bill
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
#10
I dont think its exactly pewter, but an alloy that melts at a little lower temperature than that. One could use cerrosafe or cerrobend and then iwould melt off in the sun on a warm day....so there's a happy medium there somewhere.
 
#11
I dont think its exactly pewter, but an alloy that melts at a little lower temperature than that. One could use cerrosafe or cerrobend and then iwould melt off in the sun on a warm day....so there's a happy medium there somewhere.
What I've read says this stuff melts at 400 F.
https://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categories/PartDetail.aspx/801/1/PEWTER
Note in the description that they put quotation marks around the word pewter and refer to it as "nose cap alloy. At $7 a pound,....