I set up my pitch bowl and it was very straight forward. I used thinset for setting tile because I had some in the basement. You can use cement or even pumice stone to partially fill the bowl. Mix with water to a peanut butter consistency and put in the bowl.
Let the cement or whatever you used ‘set up’ and push some holes in it with your fingers. This gives a space for the pitch melt into it and makes it nice and secure so your pitch never slides around or pops out of the cast iron bowl.
Break up your pitch – wear goggles or glasses… it’s sharp and flies around.
Melt… You can melt your pitch on the stove in a pan and pour it in the bowl… I did not want pitch in one of my pans. You can melt pitch in the oven in the cast iron bowl itself.. I did not want the bowl in my oven and the weird smell of pitch melting in my house. I used a heat gun which does the job pretty fast. It has two settings 550 degrees and 1000 degrees. I also use the heat gun (Milwaukee brand – Home Depot $65) to warm the pitch and release/adhere the metal while chasing. When you are done you want the pitch melted into a slight mound, a gradual curve over the rim of the bowl.
I have used pitch in classes to hold on to objects too (like a ring while setting a stone)… works great for that as well.