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Pilgrims Ampulla

Page history last edited by Dan Towse 2 years, 11 months ago

Hollow Cast Tin Pilgrim’s Ampulla

Two Part mould, of Stone1, Tin cast Lugs.

Slush-cast in Pure tin.


This Pilgrims ampulla is modelled after the form of existing later 14thC English ampullae.

By the late 14thC there are two shapes remaining, a barrel or coffer shaped costrel, and a flattened flask shape, Convex on one side and flattish-slightly concave on the other, as this one is.

Unlike the often complex figurative work on earlier ampullae of the 12th-13thC, by the late 14th, ampullae are relatively simple pieces, with symbolic decorative effects.

The Costrel forms are mainly ornamented with Heraldic escutcheons, whereas on the flasks Flowers, Fleur de Lys, Crowned letters, Scallops, and Crosses are all common.

Simple flower designs are quite prevalent on extant pieces, I used the kingdom flower on the reverse, and while I know of no extant examples of a dragon motif used on the front, it is in keeping with the general approach of one simple main motif relevant to the site of Pilgrimage.  What could be more appropriate for a Drachenwald souvenir than Albion himself.

Cross hatching and diapering is useful to aid metal flow into the mould, airflow out of the mould and cooling/adhesion to the mould as you pour out the still molten metal from the mould to complete the slush cast. Surface tension is a key part of the interaction between the metal and the mould, and detail breaks the meniscus, and helps everything along.


Fill with an appropriate relic, crimp it closed, and you have a quintessential pilgrim’s souvenir. Sew it on your hat, string it round your neck, or nail it to your doorway.


Video of the production run of casting,



The key points I picked up are;


*Get the metal into the mould swiftly. Fill it in one quick pour.

*Fill the mould in a consistent fashion. I found I had to pour the metal in just so. Once I found the sweet spot, casting failure rates went down to almost zero.

*Emptying it after the correct waiting time. This takes experimentation to discover, and the time increases the hotter the mould gets. The closer to the perfect time you get the thinner the wall of your piece is, and the less metal you use. If you are getting small holes in the casting, you may just need to wait a little longer before emptying.

*Empty the mould swiftly by completely inverting it. you may occasionally need to give it a shake to break the meniscus at the top of the neck. 

*slush casting is splashier than normal. Wear long cuffed tig welders gloves, if you don't already. Work over a heatproof surface.

*keep your ladle full. There will be lots of metal going back and forth between the mould and your ladle, and you want to avoid the working temp. of the metal in your ladle going up & Down too much.

*Use pure tin. (for excellent technical reasons, see Pewter,  but mostly because thats the medieval way (until the very late crude pieces, where they switch to using pure lead instead))


Average Weight, 21.5g Lightest piece, 14g, my reject threshold was 26g

diameter of the body is 33mm. front to back 13mm.





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