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"Extremely valuable antique carving casts with zero harm." Topic

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OldyMoldy01 Jan 2018 3:08 a.m. PST

Please help this newbie. My late uncle left his collection of Japanese Netsuke behind, and the family would like to make castings of them so that we may each have a set. Most of them are carved in Ivory, some wood, some amber and I believe that one of them was carved from a mammoth tusk. They are obviously very valuable and I'd like to make molds without damaging them or leaving any residue on them. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Green Tiger01 Jan 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

I REALLY wouldn't do that.

Royal Air Force01 Jan 2018 5:50 a.m. PST

Safest would be 3-D scanning and printing, I would not put any kind of mold material on such delicate objects

Striker01 Jan 2018 5:51 a.m. PST

I personally woulnd't do it since I only cast infrequently.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 6:24 a.m. PST

Roysl Air Force has a good idea. 3-D scan, then
use a 3-D printer to create plastic figures from
the scans, then use those to make molds and case
the figures in whatever medium you wish.

Doesn't expose the originals to harm.

Might harm the wallet, of course….

Lucius01 Jan 2018 10:46 a.m. PST

One well-known high quality minis manufacturer(who will remain nameless) uses these guys. I actually got a quote from them for some scans as well, and they were reasonable.

I'd guess a couple hundred bucks per piece for a great digital scan, then you can print as many copies as you want. For the kind of pieces you are talking about, that's the only way I'd go. If it is too pricey, wait a decade.

Bashytubits01 Jan 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Photogrammetry is what museums and researchers use for replicating fragile valuable items. If you have a good digital camera you can take the photos yourself. There are quite a few articles on it and there are software packages that will do this for free. Be prepared to take many photos to get the best results. The photos are analyzed and turned into digital images that can then be 3d printed.

Mick the Metalsmith01 Jan 2018 9:04 p.m. PST

There are some RTV (self vulcanizing) molds that won't leave any residues but the trick is not scratching the surface with a scalpel when cutting the mold apart.

GonerGonerGoner02 Jan 2018 1:28 p.m. PST

Better asking on antique/museum forums. The netsuke aren't made from anything most of us have any experience in casting and a bodged job will cost hundreds in damage done to original artifacts.

OldyMoldy03 Jan 2018 12:41 p.m. PST

Thank you so much to everyone who responded. As I am new to this forum, I was waiting for an email notification to see if anyone had responded to my thread.I decided to check the site again and was surprised at the response, so I thank you all again. I might try scanning them myself (obviously only one at first) then see how I go with the rest. My local silicon/resin supplier insisted there would be no residue left behind,if I used the two part silicone, but I can't really see how that's possible. If I used wax spray as a releasing agent, how do I get the wax off. (No Mr Miyagi jokes please). BTW I live in Australia, so I think 3d scanning and printing is gonna cost a lot more than in the States.

OldyMoldy03 Jan 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

Oh, I forgot to mention that there are more than 80 of them, so at a couple of hundred per scan, I'm looking at $16,000 USD+

Master Caster03 Jan 2018 6:53 p.m. PST

If you decide to use RTV you should need no release agent on the ivory, the amber or the tusk/bone material. If the wooden items are made from an oily wood such as holly or Rose wood, you might have oil seeping out and inhibiting the 'vulcanizing' of the RTV. If that happens it won't hurt the original but any non-vulcanized rubber next to the wood could be messy to clean off the object.

Zephyr111 Jan 2018 3:58 p.m. PST

And if you mix your RTV wrong, you'll get a sloppy, sticky mess you'll never get completely off of the original. And for wood-grain, even when the RTV sets properly, you'll risk both leaving RTV behind and pulling up wood…

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