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KesslerCraftsman's picture


Does anyone have experience with, or references regarding pewter inlay?  I saw some pictures and want more info!

Thanks in advance!


WillGeorge's picture

(post #74407, reply #1 of 20)

Not sure this helps..

I re-did a puter inlay that fell out.. Just re-heated it and pored back in the inlay.. BUT I was a bit short and had to sand the top of the wood to make it look like it fit!

EDIT:::: puter inlay ?? Geeee

Edited 10/9/2005 10:24 pm ET by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

JerryOak's picture

(post #74407, reply #15 of 20)

I tried your technique once and the molten pewter just beaded up (like Mercury). How thick was your inlay?

Thanks, Jerry

PS any pics?

WillGeorge's picture

(post #74407, reply #16 of 20)

My post was short and no details. No I do not have a picture of it. I did it for a friend some time ago.

If I recall correctly, I removed the metal and cleaned up the wood a bit. I 'think' I used a flux for silver soldering and just brushed a generous amount into the 'hole'. Heated the metal just to melting point and no hotter and carefully poured in a very small amount and used a heavy soldering iron to spread it out to fill the bottom of the void. Applied more flux. Reheated the metal a bit and then slowly poured the rest in. Worked for me.

Yes the metal will bead up without a flux. Just like trying to solder copper without a flux. I'm not sure if I could have done it without the BIG soldering iron to reheat the metal after poring it. It is a big electric soldering iron used for soldering copper gutters and flashing (Nothing fancy like the ones with temperature control.)

If you have access, view this video. The author uses copper foil for a liner (never thought of that) flux and solder. I like the copper foil lining. One of those 'why didn't I think of that' things.

EDIT: I forgot to mention. Wear a face shield! Metal can blow out if moisture is there and the steam created will cause the metal to explode.

Edited 12/11/2007 10:00 am by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

WillGeorge's picture

(post #74407, reply #17 of 20)

I was thinking about my post to you and I had some 'bad vives' about it.

What I posted, I believed to be true. However, today I went out in the shop and tried what I thought I did at the time (what I posted).

You know what? I tried my technique and the silver I used JUST BEADED UP! I did not have any Pewter to try. The same thing happened with Lead..

I apologize for steering you wrong.

The only thing I can think of is that there must have been some metal left in the bottom of the inlay I repaired or at least the wood pores must have been full of the old metal.

What can I say except SORRY!

Edited 12/13/2007 6:06 pm by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

JerryOak's picture

(post #74407, reply #18 of 20)

Thanks for the post, and for trying out you method! I have some pewter and I'll start experimenting after the New Year. I'll post my results here.

mikegagne's picture

(post #74407, reply #2 of 20)

I did one years ago in a koa project. I had a laser engraved koa tree on a panel for a frame and panel door that I filled with pewter. I removed the burn marks from around the laser work with denatured alcohol, heated and poured the pewter and sanded the surface flush. Lacquer on top and it looked really nice. People still ask about it and I have never seen anyone do it again....nor have I. Pewter is lead and tin so be carful about fumes. aloha, mike

KesslerCraftsman's picture

(post #74407, reply #3 of 20)

Hi Mike,

To ask really fundamental questions, how did you heat up the pewter?

Where did you get the raw pewter metal? 

How much sanding did you have to do to make it flush? 

Did the molten pewter burn the wood any?

Any concerns about sanding that lead?

Thanks in advance!


RickL's picture

(post #74407, reply #4 of 20)

There are  lead free pewter alloys using antimony, tin and cooper that melts around 525 to 625 degrees fahrenheit. and many others sell it. It can be melted with a propane torch for one. I've melted it on my gas kitchen stove as well. Pewter is available in sheet, rod and other forms as well and cuts very easy.

You might also look at a product called Lab Metal which looks a lot like pewter.

Go to to and check out the turning forum. A lot of folks have been using inlay materials in their turnings. There's a product called Inlace.

Do a google search on pewter and metal inlays for more info

Van Dykes, Woodworkers Supply are but a few sources

Inlace is available here...

mikegagne's picture

(post #74407, reply #8 of 20)

The pewter was supplied to me by a friend who did casting with it. We melted the material over a propane heater with his help and just poured it into the engraving. There was a little bit of smoke scorch around the pour. I used denatured alcohol to remove the burnt oil around the cast. Then an orbital sanding with 100, 120,150,180 220 grit to polish it all back up. Koa wood "likes to sanded" for the best look and the pewter wasnt hurt by it either-it rather shined and back then I finished with nitro lacquer. This was 14 years ago and the project still exists in Wailea on Maui. The owner was the guy who invented particle board and he didnt have a piece of it in his condo.
By the way, my friend said the pewter had lead, antimony, tin and I dont remeber hearing copper. It may have but it sure melted easy and was scratchable with a finger nail. I never used the technique again-dont know why but it never happened. I really liked what it did though. Hope this answers all the questions. aloha, mike

boxman's picture

(post #74407, reply #10 of 20)

White Metal Rolling and Stamping in New Jersey used to be my source.

Pewter has a VERY low melting point--somewhere around 600 degrees.  You can melt is on a hot plate or stove.

DennisS's picture

(post #74407, reply #12 of 20)

" ...Where did you get the raw pewter metal?..."


It's not altogether cheap unfortunately.

MichaelPB's picture

(post #74407, reply #13 of 20)

I have never used this metal for inlay before but gunsmiths used a low melting point alloy to check the dimensions on rifle chambers.  All sorts of specialized woodworking bits plus the Cerrosafe metal are available from

RAM's picture

(post #74407, reply #5 of 20)

Laser engraved Koa tree, filled with pewter?  Sounds classy, to say the least!

One thing though: I've always heard that "real" pewter contains no lead. One web source I found (link here) specifies in part:

Pewter alloy shall be defined as having a composition within the range from 90 to 98 % tin, 1 to 8 % antimony, and 0.25 to 3 % copper.

Of course, that doesn't mean tin, antimony, and copper fumes are necessarily safe, or that the metal you had contained no lead!

Cheers, -robert

EDIT:  the link doesn't work.  i'll try to fix it later if anyone asks.

Edited 10/10/2005 3:42 pm ET by ram

RickL's picture

(post #74407, reply #6 of 20)

RAM's picture

(post #74407, reply #7 of 20)

Thanks -- live and learn! -robert

WillGeorge's picture

(post #74407, reply #14 of 20)

Like so called POT metal.. All different blends.. Some you can solder and some ya have to weld!

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

MyrmidonDefense's picture

Pewter Inlay Info (post #74407, reply #19 of 20)

So I know this thread is quite old but I have recently been working on inlaying a bench with a pewter design, so decided to add my experience in case anyone else looking for info comes across the thread. If anyone is interested in pictures just pm me, I dont even know if anyone will read this.

The pewter Im currently working with I picked up at a swap meet in the form of a pitcher. It was marked as pewter but im not sure of the content breakdown. Since it was designed for drinking, I would assue there in no lead in it, but I cannot be sure that it isnt old enough to prove me wrong. I also have some ingots on the way I ordered from RotoMetals of ther R98 (98% Tin, 1,5% Bismuth, .5% copper), since the bismuth versus antimony supposedly retracts less whe cooling allowing for finer detail, and also gives it a lower metling temp.

As far as beading problems with the pour, a trick I learned from someone to get your pewter to flow easier through your channels/cavity/dam is to use a soft lead (graphite) pencil. Just rub the lead over the surface of the wood in your groves, and that thin graphite coating will allow the pewter to flow much more easily and not bead up.

WillGeorge wrote:
Like so called POT metal.. All different blends.. Some you can solder and some ya have to weld!

Not that its a big deal, but just in case anyone new comes across this looking for info, you cannot weld "pot metal", nor is it suitable for much of anything. As Will stated, the composition of pot metals varies greatly, and the ammount of impurities present render it near useless for most metalworking. If attempting to weld it, depending on the composition, it may appear to weld, but those welds will crumble or break as if the entire weld is slag. Most of the time it wont even appear to weld properly.

boxman's picture

(post #74407, reply #9 of 20)

Pewter hasn't contained lead for about 100 years.  The pewter the is made now contains tin, copper and antimony.

mikegagne's picture

(post #74407, reply #11 of 20)

Thanks for clearing that up. I did not know the content, was more interested in the outcome which was great for me. aloha, mike

leminhtien's picture

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