I have purchased odd grim pieces solely to practice on and have been (sometimes) favourably pleased with the result. I am always happy to be told how not to waste time, where methods can be improved, and also welcome offers of hot metal demonstrations. Then use could be made of the hot metal ladle shown in one photograph, and also Dremel do a really good gas blow torch (which repairs would provide an excuse to purchase).
This article aims to draw comment from those who might offer other clues towards improving neglected pieces. If there is sufficient interest it will be a pleasure to set out for readers, the replies and advice received. …………….. firstname.lastname@example.orgReader suggestions –
Pliers need covering with a soft cloth or plastic tips. Pre-heating helps with the harder alloys but boiling water doesn't really do it for me. A smooth and rounded dowel (oak or hardwood) that has been oiled and secured in a vice so the tankard defect can be worked against the wood gently and persistently. The tankard is brought to temp. prior to working with a blowtorch moving constantly back and forth until the fingers inside detect the warmth. Leaded alloys ought to be easier to work with than Brit. metal alloys as the lead does improve malleability and stabilizes the metal from tearing. Practice pieces first!!
The worst defect is the lower handle terminal pushing in the tankard sidewall and I will take any suggestions on that one. I have been toying with an expandable antique shoe horn to get leverage from the opposite side of the tankard but pre-heating with the torch seems out in the handle area as the connection to the body is tenuous and susceptible to lower temps. than the main. THE PATINA QUESTION AND VALUE – a frequently asked question
The Patina question has different answers depending on where you are. A leading expert in the UK only keeps for himself those very good pieces with a naturally very darkened patina (but not pitted or damaged). Others in the UK and AUS prefer them slightly (but only a little) polished - ie the grey/dark grey - glows.
In the USA many seem to like them absolutely clean to an almost burnished aluminum or a silvery look.
To see what I mean first find www.hiltpewter.com
and enjoy their USA pewter website.
Then compare that with a UK based site www.antiquemetalware.org.uk
. Even in the UK I have one contact who likes his pewter to resemble silver and goes to extreme lengths to clean it like that both inside and out! He says that is what it was originally made to look like.
So I can give no definitive answer on taste or value. If you are thinking of selling; then to see what the market you might sell in pays better for, is always a somewhat simple answer – otherwise just please yourself, and enjoy your pewter the way you prefer it!