Friday, October 17, 2008

Failures and Successes

Well, yesterday I learned that I can't always do things perfectly the first time I try them. I know, I should know by now, but still, I tend to think everything I do should work the first time, just because I'm me. Fr. POS assures me that's too much to ask.

Specifically, I tried to make a Pentagonal Figure of Solomon. I carved a beautiful one out of beeswax, no easy task I assure you. I measured the angles of the star, had each at a nearly-perfect 72 degrees, had all the names in and the symbols, and the Tetragrammaton... It was nice, it was really really nice.

I poured plaster over it to make a mold for the silver. That sort of worked, well enough, but there were some bubbles because I poured it too thick too fast, and just did it ... wrong. But when the plaster had dried, I put it in the oven for a couple of hours upside down over a pie pan to catch the wax, which melted out. The mold was close enough to let me get a decent seal and then have a little clean up to do with the dremel tool.

I melted the silver, and poured it into the mold. I don't have a smelter, so I used a MAP gas torch to melt it. It wasn't a good, even melt, and I ended up oxidizing a lot of the silver (it turns to powder). Then when I tried to pour it into the mold, it solidified on the way, so I got lumps of silver drops in the mold. It sucked royally.The places where the silver actually landed on the mold didn't even get a decent impression of the symbols. It really sucked.

Lessons learned: I need more heat, a crucible, and a centrifuge. I need to do the stupid lost-wax thing the right way. And I need to not think I can do everything perfect the first time.

Today, things went much better. I made a talisman for Haniel out of copper. In the hour of Venus, on the Day of Venus, I cut a copper tube, opened it up, and hit it with the MAP torch until it had begun to melt. I like to melt it a bit so that it's actually solidifying in the appropriate planetary hour, and freezing the "energies" of the moment into the metals.

I put a patina on it using the MAP torch and a quenching process, and then sanded the back of it using a dremel tool flap-sander bit. that was so it would rest on the electrodes of my Conjure Box and make a solid circuit.

I engraved it with the Venus seal from the Magical Calendar (I figure Haniel and Anael are different spellings from different sources, but the same general spirit). I also wrote "his" name in Celestial Script on the seal. I conjured him using the Box and had a good experience. I'll post about that next.


  1. Nice work, even failures are learning experiences and that's the important thing. If it's any consolation I have the same issue with thinking I can do everything perfect the first time lol

    There are plans for a decent and easy to build forced air furnace that should melt everything except for iron here (scroll past the adds for stuff):

    I've got a spot set aside in some landscaping I'm doing that will be an open patch of sand where I plan to sit mine once I build it ;)

    Also to the best of my knowledge it is possible to get decent casting results without using a centrifuge. Guess I'll find out when I start doing some work in that area in the spring. In the meantime I'll be grabbing a book or two on subject and doing some reading.

  2. Yeah, watch out with a centrifuge and molten metal...
    Yoou know how "centrifuge" describes feeing from the center? Right. If the thing lets go, you've got a projectile of molten metal flying off in some random direction. About the best outcome there is having to do some magical work to avert lawsuits. It goes downhill from there.
    Try making your mold soemwhat hot, too. It doesn't have to be hot enough to melt the metal (it can't be, that'd break down the plaster), but sticking it in a hot oven for a while might help keep down the thermal transfer (cooling) when you pour.


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