At 09:13 PM 5/12/2003 EDT, Maximus Argenteus Malleus wrote:
> I just thought I'd post some of my recent experiences in trying to bang
out >some new old coins. First off, I have no financial interest in Harbor
>Freight, just interest in their cheap stuff. Like the lead free solder
(97% >tin, 3% copper) at $5.99 a pound.
My impression is that 97/3 tin/copper is close to the alloy used in pewter
tankards, bowls, platters, &c. It works fine. However, I don't know if
all of the Harbor Freight outlets stock the same materials. When I checked
the local Harbor Freight in Salem, Oregon, the only solder they had was
acid core. I don't know if that would work, but I'd expect it would be
more of a mess than I'd want to try using. I did try some of their cheap
Chinese emery for finishing the faces of die blanks. It's junk. It's
worth it to pay more for the real thing.
>I melted a full pound in an old stainless soup ladle using the H.F.
propane >torch that hooks up to your bar-b-que tank in 45 seconds. The
torch was >$17.95. I cast a one pound ingot in a mold made of scrap
aluminum from work, >put it thru my rolling mill and punched out 110 blanks
with 7 ounces of scrap >to remelt. Not too bad, Eh?
>The pewter is very shiny, even somewhat so after carrying in my pocket a
>couple of weeks. H.F. also has what I would call 'blanking punches' in a
>couple of styles and various sizes that I may try out sometime soon.
Which type of disk punches are these? There are three basic types I've
seen: 1. a solid cylindrical piece with the end hollowed out and an opening
on the side to remove the disks (this is the type of 3/4" punch I use for
penny size blanks), 2. a 'stirrup' punch consisting of a ring connected to
a shaft by a U shaped piece (the type I use for larger blanks, although
they come in all sizes, and I've seen some really tiny ones), and 3. a
jeweler's disk cutter consisting of two parallel plates with holes and a
shaft to be driven through the holes with your sheet metal between the two
plates. The latter are less likely to make 'domed' blanks, but they're
also more expensive.
>Oh yea, I did notice in one of their past catalogs a rolling mill for
under >$200. IT probably isn't the most bautiful! piece of machinery, but
with free >shipping and what we use them for, its not too bad.
I'd be curious to hear about anybody's experience with these mills. A lot
of stuff coming out of China these days is poorly made. You get what you
pay for, but why pay for more than you need? If these are adequate (and,
after all, most SCA moneyers aren't going to be using them for jewelry
work), $200 sure beats $400+ (plus shipping) for a Cavallin mill with
German made rollers.
>...would there be any interest in medieval style letter punches? I'm
working >on making transfer punches that would work kind of like a die for
punches. I >cut the design into a steel blank, harden it, strike a blank
punch into it to >take its detail and then harden that punch. If I can
take it from theory to >reality, I should be able to make sets of punches
at a good price.
I'm curious to hear how well this works. I'm guessing that a punch made
from an impression of a punch 'die' might require some touching up with
file and engraver before hardening, but otherwise the theory seems sound.
I believe that any SCA moneyers making their own dies should at least make
their own basic punches (dots, lines, simple geometric shapes), but making
a late period style letter set for the whole alphabet is a tremendous
investment of labor; being able to buy a custom medieval style set could
make the difference between an SCA moneyer being able to get into
substantial production and just not having time to do it all.
>I have attached a scan of my latest die. It is a copy of a Charles le
Chauve >French Denier. I have always liked the KRLS monogram and finally
decided to >make one. I aged the piece with gun blue and Bon Ami to bring
out the >highlights. Whaddya think?
The toning looks quite natural. I have no experience with toning
techniques because I figure the point is to make a coin that looks like a
new coin a thousand years ago instead of a coin that looks a thousand years
old now. Convincing looking toning can be fun for trying to see if you can
fool a coin dealer, but then when he offers to buy it at a real coin price,
you proudly tell him it's a fake you made yourself - right, guys? :-)
[There had better be figurative heads nodding at this point.]
As for the die work, the letter style is excellent. In fact, the main
strokes of the letters are actually thinner on the denier of Charles the
Bald in my collection, although the letters are thicker on all of the later
immobilized Karolus monograms types I have. The lines that make up the
monogram itself could be a little thicker, as well as the border circles.
I'm always telling the guys in the An Tir guild, 'cut the lines twice as
deep and twice as wide' - and I have to tell myself that as well. It seems
that lines always strike thinner than they look on the die.
One thing that would make it easier to do the lines thicker on the
monogram, as well as correcting the only difference from the original type
that is obvious at a glance, would be to make the inner circle larger. On
all three specimens I have of the Karolus monogram type, the inner circle
is slightly larger than half the diameter of the outer border circle - 11mm
to 19mm versus (on the scan on my screen) 14mm to 34mm - for the correct
proportion, the inner circle on the scan should be 18mm or 19mm.
The moral of the story is that, to copy a period design so that it looks
'right', two things are necessary: 1. to duplicate accurately the punched
and engraved shapes, and then 2. to duplicate the proportions of the
overall composition. It's logical to start out concentrating on the first
step, but if you don't attend to the second step, your punch forms and
punching technique can be perfect, but the end result still won't look right.
My only other critical observation is that my denier of Charles le Chauve
has dentilation on both border circles (although it's hard to see on the
outer circle). Some types of this period just had plain solid border
circles, so I don't know if that might have been the case with Max's model
coin. In any case, the dentilation on the coin I have was made with rather
thin square graver cuts perpendicular to the border circle, with a kind of
'spikey' looking effect.
With the right proportions (and maybe border dentilation), this piece would
be near enough to perfect that, unless the die for the other side has
something obviously anachronistic on it, the word 'COPY' should be stamped
on it to comply with the Federal Hobby Protection Act of 1973.
In nomine Scs. Eligius & Scs. Dunstanus,