Full Chisel Blog

October 21, 2013

Casting a Pewter nut into a Wooden Spinning Wheel Whorl

I have had experience with casting pewter into or onto wood; back in 1972 I built a halfstock flintlock rifle and pistol and both had pewter endcaps cast on the end of the maple gunstocks.  So I had every confidence that this would be fairly easy.


The square mortise is undercut on all four edges, so the nut is captured in a dovetail in the maple endgrain of the whorl.


I had to borrow a casting ladle from a friend then melt down some pewter on the stove.  After the pewter was melted I put a rice grain size piece of beeswax into the hot metal to flux out any impurities, then used a wooden stick to remove the dross floating on the surface.



A dam of thick cardboard protects the maple of the whorl and adds thickness to the nut.  I cast the nut onto the shaft [with left hand threads], so the threads are cast into the pewter nut.  I heated up the shaft so as not to shock the hot pewter as it is being poured.



With a hacksaw I removed the excess and smoothed it down with a file, then gave it a bit of burnish.  Spinning Wheel parts available here.



  1. Did you coat the shaft’s threads with anything so the pewter nut would release from the threads? Or is that just not an issue here?

    As always, thanks for the window into your methods.

    Comment by Chuck Nickerson — October 23, 2013 @ 10:35 am

  2. Chuck,

    It is not an issue, first I didn’t really clean off the shaft, although I did taper the threads on the end, there was no soldering flux so it wouldn’t easily form a bond. After it cooled off I was able to easly unscrew the mandrel.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — October 23, 2013 @ 11:09 am

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