Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A bit of activity in the workshop in the last period.

This last home period happened to be during Christmas and New Years eve time, so I hadn't planned any major projects in the shop.

I did do a bit though, some leather working with Laura, where we made a couple of belts for some of her friends as Christmas presents, and I started clearing out a bit too, but that is an ongoing project.
During this clearing out, I found the base of a model ship that my dad had found some years ago. I initially wanted to throw it out, but I decided to ask Asger if he would like to make a project out of it.

He wanted to paint it, and then later the plan is to install a mast and a boom and probably make a sail to go with it too.
He settled for some dark blue paint, and due to the low temperatures in the shop, we just gave int one coat and then left it to dry for the rest of the home period.

Suddenly one day, he asked if he was old enough now, to cast tin soldiers on his own?
I said that I thought he was, and helped him to fire up the propane torch (which is technically more butane than propane in Denmark).
I have kept all my molds for making tin soldiers from when I was a child. And we purchased some new molds when the kids were younger. Those new molds were mostly for casting fantasy creatures like orcs, elvers and goblins etc.

Asger cast a bit of everything from cannons to horses and soldiers to some orcs, and he had a great time doing it. There are plenty of ways that you can hurt yourself while doing it, but it is also a way that you can show you child that you really trust him/her, and allow them the thrill of doing something that is exiting for them knowing that it is a bit dangerous.
And it is a thrill to open op a mold and see a perfect figure emerge that has until now only existed as some molten metal in a ladle.
Something that is very important to the children is the fact that the figures they cast look exactly like the ones that I can cast. Despite all my years of skill and knowledge (there isn't much of that btw..)
this is one place where they can make a product just as well as I can.

Painting the hull of a model ship.


Casting tin soldiers is exiting and fun.

An officer emerges from inside the mold.


  1. Fun! Is tin easy to get? I remember making sinkers in a similar fashion with my dad, except of course, we used lead.

    1. Hi Brian

      Earlier it was easier to obtain printing lead, and that was OK stuff to use for casting things with fine details. I can't remember the exact alloy that we are using, but it is something that can be purchased at
      It is also the place where you can get the molds.
      I used lead too for many years, but For one thing, the soldiers are a lot softer, and the details are not quite as crisp - and it is not the most healthy thing to use.
      But I figure that unless you cast for several hours per day you are probably gonna be fine anyway.

      In Denmark it has become illegal to use sinkers made out of lead. Not that I have heard of the police ever examining someone's fishing tackle..


  2. Jonas,

    Great post. Good on you for working to build hand skills with your children. It is something that has been lost for the most part here in the States. We are a poorer country for that.


    1. Hi Ken
      Thanks for the nice comment.
      Here's a link to the company that we have used for buying molds and metal etc. from. They have retailers in the USA as well.
      We have a couple of molds for horses, one grazing and one just standing, and the same for a couple of colts too, so it is not all just soldiers and fantasy creatures. The horses and colts are especially popular when there are small girls involved. (what a surprise :-)

      After casting, Gustav and Asger sit quietly and very concentrated while painting some of the models. So there are many good things about from my point of view.

      I started casting with the children from they were around 3 or 4 years old. I would do all of the work, but they would watch in awe - and decide which mold should be used next.
      So it is definitely something that can be done together with grand peanuts if you should ever feel inclined to try it.


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