Questions? Browse through some of our commonly asked questions for answers and helpful tips. We hope you will find the answer you’re looking for. If not, feel free to contact us for further information. For term definitions, check out our Glossary.
What is pewter?
Pewter is a predominantly tin-based alloy, typically containing between 90-98% tin composition. Additional metals are added to create the pewter alloy, traditionally antimony (1-8%) and copper (.25-3%). Modern pewter no longer contains lead. In addition to lead free alloys, we make pewter that’s lead free and antimony free by adding bismuth and/or silver to tin.
Does pewter contain lead?
Pewter is predominantly tin based with other elements such as antimony and copper added to create the pewter alloy. According to ASTM standards, B560 pewter should be lead free. However, some companies offer leaded pewter alloys under FTC rules.
At Hallmark, we use only low lead tin in all of our pewters. We offer many lead free pewter alloys that are below ASTM regulation levels of 200ppm and CPSIA levels of 100ppm on lead. We also offer leaded pewter, where we add lead to the alloy to create the desired composition. All leaded pewters from Hallmark are always labeled as such.
If unsure, check the MSDS on the material you buy or request a Certificate of Analysis.
I have an item made of pewter. Is it lead free and safe for food and/or children?
There is no way of knowing the pewters’ composition without having the metal analyzed. New CPSIA regulations require that pewter be under 100ppm in order to be safe for children.
How much is my pewter tea set from Aunt Gertrude worth?
We do not offer appraisals; we make pewter alloys and sell them to the pewter manufactures. Please contact the original maker or take your pewter to a Licensed Appraiser.
Can I buy just one or two pounds of pewter?
While we do not have a “minimum requirement” per order, we do request that you buy a complete unit of product. We sell pewter in both bar and sheet forms. Our bars are approximately 7 pounds each, and we ask that you purchase the entire bar. Sheet pewter is sold in sheets by the pound; the weight of each sheet varies depending on sheet size.
How should I care for my pewter?
To maintain the polished luster of your lead free pewter, clean with warm soapy water, rinse, then towel dry with a soft cloth. You can also use silver polish and a soft cloth. Do not wash pewter in an automatic dishwasher, as the heat and detergent can be harmful to the piece. Pewter has a low melting point and should not be used in conjunction with any type of stove or heat source.
For the best results: always polish in straight lines, never in circles.
Is pewter microwave safe?
Pewter should never be used in an oven, microwave or on the stovetop and should not be exposed to a direct flame.
Can you repair my pewter?
No, Hallmark Metals does not repair pewter. We recommend contacting the Pewter Collector’s Club for references at: www.pewtercollectorsclub.org/index.html.
Can I melt pewter using my kitchen stove?
For a low budget casting experience, you can use a cast iron or stainless steel pot on your kitchen burner.
How does pewter compare to aluminum?
In terms of chemical properties, aluminum and pewter are very close in atomic weight (26.97), but not in density. Aluminum has a density of 0.0975-pounds/cubic inch; pewter has a density of 0.27-pounds/cubic inch. Their melting points also differ: pewter melts at 440 degrees Fahrenheit, aluminum at 1220 degrees.
Can you drill or tap pewter?
Yes, you can drill and tap pewter, but a standard pewter or leaded casting alloy is not very strong. Thus, it is not advisable if the drilling and tapping are being done in order to use the piece in an everyday mechanical operation you must use an insert. We get around this issue with our plating anodes by inserting a “T” into the anode as we cast them.
Is it soft?
Compared to other metals, pewter is relatively soft.
Does it gouge or scratch easily?
Yes, it can.
I have some scratches on my pewter. What can I do?
Surface scratches and minor blemishes can be removed using 0000 steel wool or a moistened “Scotch-Brite”* pad by blending the scratch into the satin finish. Other repairs such as dents and accidental bends are best left to a skilled artisan.
Can vulcanized rubber & silicone molds be used?
Yes. The bulk of the alloys we sell are used with these types of molds.
What is the shrink factor?
We love this question. Shrink factor depends on the mass of the casting and what alloy you are using. A rule of thumb in the industry is 2 – 6%. A small casting with little mass will have less shrinkage while a larger casting with more mass will have more shrinkage. Rubber can also factor into shrink factors. Please contact us for further information.
What is the tensile strength?
Tensile strength measures the force required to pull something, such as a structural beam, to the point where it breaks. Hallmarks 92-8 pewter alloy has a tensile strength of 8600psi; other lead free alloys range between 6000 – 7800 psi. Tensile Strength will get stronger with the higher antimony and copper alloys and lower when less antimony and copper are added. Zinc casting alloys would have a Tensile strength of around 37,000 to 41, 000 psi.
Can you cast my novelty, jewelry and other items for me?
No. We supply pewter casting alloys; we do not offer small-scale casting services. Only large-scale castings of counterweights, ballasts and keels are available.
Can I use your 50/50 solder for sheet metal soldering?
For roof flanges?
Do you have solder wire?
No, we do not sell solder wire.
Casting & Other Information:
I have some old copper pots I want to re-tin. Can I use your tin bars?
My castings are badly pitted like the surface of the moon. What am I doing wrong?
The mold material you are pouring into might have high moisture content, meaning the mold may need to dry for a longer period of time. Moisture and molten metal is never a good thing.
What kind of talc do I use on my molds?
Powder is an important step often missed in casting. The powder acts like a magnet to bring the metal to the mold. Italian talc is the best, especially in hot or humid weather.
How do I learn how to cast?
We recommend the following sites for helpful information on casting:
Do you sell to hobbyists?
Yes. Check out our eBay shop for more information or contact us.
Payment & Shipping:
How will my order ship?
We use FedEx Ground shipping for all orders unless otherwise requested. We strongly encourage that you use FedEx Ground if available, as we have learned over the years that they are by far the most reliable service. Orders shipped FedEx Ground are generally the most cost effective shipping that includes tracking and guaranteed delivery. We choose to use FedEx Ground because, ultimately, it provides the best protection for you, our customer.
Postal Shipment: Shipments with USPS are not guaranteed for time and/or delivery. While we will process USPS shipping, we STRONGLY urge that you do not use USPS for orders. Many of our customers have reported problems with USPS shipping in the past. Because of this, any orders shipped USPS are done so at your own risk, and you will be responsible for processing the claim. We apologize for any inconvenience and are happy to discuss shipping options further.
How quickly will my order ship?
Any orders for metals we have in-stock can ship same day if placed before noon EST. Orders placed after that will ship next day.
What are your payment options?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Net Terms (pending credit approval), money orders and PayPal.
What is your minimum order?
We do not have a required “minimum” order. We don’t believe in making our customers purchase 20 pounds of metal when they’re only looking for one bar. All that we ask is that you purchase a complete unit of the product (ex: one whole bar or stick). Bars are generally around 7 pounds.
Shipping from eBay
Do you combine purchases to save on shipping?
How? I cannot get eBay to combine my purchases.
Please make a note at time of purchase. We will send you an invoice or reimburse excess shipping via PayPal.