The most exact observance of any written or printed directions is no guarantee of success. Practice alone can give expertness in this work.

The composition of the mold is of the most varied, but the materials most generally used are plaster of Paris and brick dust, in the proportion of 2 parts of the first to 1 of the second, stirred in water, with the addition of a little sal ammoniac. The best quality of plaster for this purpose is the so-called alabaster, and the brick dust should be as finely powdered as possible. The addition of clay, dried and very finely powdered, is recommended. With very delicate objects the proportion of plaster may be slightly increased. The dry material should be thoroughly mixed before the addition of water.

As the geometrically exact contour of the coin or medal is often the cause of breaking of the edges, the operator sometimes uses wax to make the edges appear half round and it also allows the casting to be more easily removed from the second half of the mold. Each half of the mold should be about the thickness of the finger. The keys, so called, of every plaster casting must not be forgotten. In the first casting some little half-spherical cavities should be scooped out, which will appear in the second half-round knobs, and which, by engaging with the depressions, will ensure exactness in the finished mold.

After the plaster has set, cut a canal for the flow of the molten casting material, then dry the mold thoroughly in an oven strongly heated. The halves are now ready to be bound together with a light wire. When bound heat the mold gradually and slowly and let the mouth of the canal remain underneath while the heating is in progress, in order to prevent the possible entry of dirt or foreign matter. The heating should be continued as long as there is a suspicion of remaining moisture. When finally assured of this fact, take out the mold, open it, and blow it out, to make sure of absolute cleanness. Close and bind again and place on a hearth of fine, hot sand. The mold should still be glowing when the casting is made. The ladle should contain plenty of metal, so as to hold the heat while the casting is being made. The presence of a little zinc in the metal ensures a sharp casting. Finally, to ensure success, it is always better to provide two molds in case of accident. Even the most practiced metal molders take this precaution, especially when casting delicate objects.