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Thread: is 95% real pewter actual pewter?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy



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    is 95% real pewter actual pewter?

    My brother in law brought me two candlesticks that are heavy and stamped 95% real pewter and have a sticker that says made in Thailand. It makes a ting sound instead of a thump when hit with a fingernail. It is fairly thick and I am unable to bend like most pewter. Dont want to take a torch to it cuz if it is not actual usable pewter, then will keep and use around the house. Can anyone tell me what it is? I have searched all the pewter postings but have not found anything about 95% real pewter.
    TIA
    rdwarrior

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    It means 95% tin, the balance antimony and probably a smidge of copper.

    Pewter can be any number of alloys with tin. 95% tin is as good as it gets

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Actually, I saw what sounds like exactly the same item in a Goodwill store just a couple days ago and was wondering the same thing. Heavy for its size, shiny, thick and hard. High pitched tone on being tapped. Exactly the same stamped description and sticker, even!

    My item I could scratch easily under the base with a brass key and barely with a piece of typical pewter (MOHs hardness of 3 to 4 and 1.5 to 1.8 respectively, versus, say, aluminum at 2 to 3, pure lead at 1.5 and steel at 5 to 8)

    I haven't bought this item yet (waiting for a sale day), but I have bought one or two other items that had similar characteristics, of which a sample of one melted in a lighter flame. No chemical analyses, sorry. If these items are pewter, different construction (most pewter I've encountered is pretty thin unless cast, and the latter is often marked as such) or possibly a high content of other metals (antimony and copper have MOHs numbers between 2.5 and 3) may account for the different characteristics.

    Sounds like you have these candlesticks already. If I buy the one out my way, I'll let you know how it melts.

    Oh, and thank you for your service to our country.

  4. #4
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    Based on Don1357 comments, I did more research and saw where Thai pewter is as he said 95% tin with the remaining 5% being a mix of antimony and copper. Could not find the percentage of each listed anywhere. kevin c - these candlesticks weighed in at just over 1.5 pounds each. Looks like got almost pure tin with a smattering of antimony and copper. Just wish I knew how much antimony so I could plug it into the lead alloy spreadsheet.

  5. #5
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    Well, as advertised, it could be up to 5% Sb, and figuring on adding a total of 2% pewter to your casting alloy, that'd be tin at 95% of 2%, or 1.9% final concentration, and antimony at 5% of 2%, or 0.1% final concentration. It'd be half that at 1% pewter. Either way, I don't think most casters would worry much about not being exactly 95-3-2 or whatever. In other words, many would treat the pewter as pure tin and ignore the small amount of antimony.

    If your goal is to have a dead certainty on composition, you could make one large batch of 150 to 300# from the three pounds of pewter the candlesticks represent, rather than several small batches.
    Last edited by kevin c; 09-03-2019 at 01:27 PM.

  6. #6
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    The amount of antimony is insignificant. If you are adding 2% of tin to a pot the amount of added antimony would be 0.1%, a rounding error. Heck for calculation purposesI would just consider it pure tin. Again, you would be off by 0.1%, the amount antimony is displacing.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Most of the time copper is added instead of antimony to harden the pewter alloy. You'll hit a max saturation level with the copper and if you need it harder antimony is the next choice but costs more and is harder to get into solution then copper.

    Used to be you could get Salinger pewter from Indonesia that ran 95% tin but was real soft.

  8. #8
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    Ive found a few 97% tin pewter bits and pieces in my local thrift stores.

  9. #9
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    That extra high tin pewter often is the Royal Selangor brand from Malaysia that jsizemore mentioned. Much of the pewter from that part of the world seems to be similar in tin content, though not all, and that includes Royal Selangor production. Their own website describes their pewter as containing 92 to 97% tin. The first figure is close to the US and European standard for food service pewter.
    Last edited by kevin c; 09-04-2019 at 11:26 AM.

  10. #10
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    I sure messed up spelling Selangor. Happens a bunch nowadays.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have even found a weird hand made tin sculpture. It just said tin on it. It was easily bendable and creaked and groaned like pewter does. I bought it and put it in the 4-20 and it melted very quickly. Very happy as it only cost 6 bucks and weighed about a kilo and a half. Pure tin from the foundry for reference is 50bucks a kg..

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Most of the "weight" in weighted candlesticks is not pewter. The bulk of the weight is a heavy clay-like material that is in the base. You will want to get that stuff out of there before smelting.

  13. #13
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    There is no filler in these candlesticks

  14. #14
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    Attachment 247889Click image for larger version. 

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    Is this what your BiL gave you? This one is 10.5" tall, weighs 28 ounces has a made in Thailand sticker and the center of the hollow base is stamped "95% real pewter.

    No time to flame test tonite. Will report back.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by kevin c; 09-06-2019 at 03:15 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    Attachment 247889Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	4 
Size:	33.5 KB 
ID:	247891

    Is this what your BiL gave you? This one is 10.5" tall, weighs 28 ounces has a made in Thailand sticker and the center of the hollow base is stamped "95% real pewter.

    No time to flame test tonite. Will report back.
    Yes that is it - got 2 of them and weight for 2 on a kitchen scale (not real accurate) was approx 3 1/4 pounds

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ha! I have 3 of those in small, medium and large. My score ended up being about $4.50 a pound.

  17. #17
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    Good scores, Gatch and Don. But I think rdwarrior has you beat there at free ;^).

    ETA: the candlestick I bought melted right. Granted I used a propane torch, but it was a low flame setting, and what happened was exactly what I've seen with other heavy and thick pieces of pewter that I confirmed with XRF: no red glow from heating, just a very short interval from initial heat application to a slump and then liquid, with the drop making a large, thin splatter on hitting a metal sheet (I guess that shows the low surface tension of molten tin that makes it so useful for improving fill out). I'm sold.
    Last edited by kevin c; 09-06-2019 at 08:30 PM.

  18. #18
    You mentioned that you would rather use it around your house if it were not pewter. If it's usable around your house as is, why not just keep it and find another source of tin? There is plenty of ugly craptastic-looking pewter out there where you would be doing humanity a favor by melting it down and shooting out of a gun.

  19. #19
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    Kinda depends on how available pewter is in your area, and how badly you need tin. Some parts of the country seem awash in the stuff and of course, with the better supply, the cost is usually low. Other areas seem to have none, and any score at almost any price is gladly welcomed. Rdwarrior's three pounds of pewter came free (except for whatever family obligation he may now owe his BiL). If there's no cheap pewter in his area and he has to buy in the S&S forum for 9 to 10 bucks a pound, it might be hard to do nothing to those candlesticks but put them up on the mantle.
    Last edited by kevin c; 09-08-2019 at 02:34 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zouaveherb View Post
    You mentioned that you would rather use it around your house if it were not pewter. If it's usable around your house as is, why not just keep it and find another source of tin? There is plenty of ugly craptastic-looking pewter out there where you would be doing humanity a favor by melting it down and shooting out of a gun.
    There's plenty of stainless imitations out there to use instead and they don't alloy worth a darn.

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