Rob Gorrell

Repairing an antique pewter pitcher.

Rob GorrellComment

A friend recenty asked me to see if I could repair an antique pewter pitcher for him. The pitcher had several dents along the bottom ring, a banged up spout, a broken hinge and some solder damage. I have almost no experience working with pewter but have been wanting to learn more about casting and repairing pewter. He thought it would be a good learning piece for me. Which hopefully means he won’t get mad if I mangle the pitcher in the process of learning.

I do have a book in our library that has been helpful so far: Pewter Working Instructions and Projects, by Burl N. Osburn and Gordon O. Wilber.

Antique pewter is very soft and easy to work over a form. The first part of the pitcher I fiddled with was the lip on the base. As you can see in the first image there were a few large flat spots, probably from the pitcher being dropped. I used one of my wooden mandrals and a combination of mallets to ease the rim back into shape. The third image is the repaired base.

The next repair attempt was to the edges of the spout. As you can see in the left hand image, the edges of the spout have been bent in all along the spout. This part was a bit scary to work on. I was worried that any attempt to bend the edges back would cause the pewter to break off. However, I found that by using a few different sets of jeweler’s pliers the lip could be coaxed back into shape reasonably well. Unfortunately, I did have to do a little gentle filing to smooth the edge. The second image shows the repaired lip as it appears now.

The next step will be to repair the hinge where it attaches to the lid. The owner has suggested a “make-do-repair”, such as is sometimes seen on surviving period pieces. Before I go any farther I need to study up a bit. This is what the damaged parts look like now.

If anyone has advise on how to proceed with this section I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

I will post again when this project is a little farther along. Thanks for reading.

Weekend Sale on new Open Top Lantern Design.

Rob GorrellComment

It is always nice to be able to study an antique piece before trying to make something similar. Sometimes the old lantern is behind glass in a museum, or on a museum website. In these cases you are limited to the view presented to you, but it better than nothing. Once in a while you run into an original in someone’s private collection and get to put your hand on it, which is great. You can get measurements and see little construction details that might be new to you as a builder.

Recently my friend Richard called and said he had an old lantern for me to take a look at. It appears to be an original 19th century lantern that has seen some abuse, Over the years someone has painted it with what looks like aluminum roof paint, and replaced missing horn panes with some sort of acetate or plastic panes.

It is an interesting lantern and a design that I have not made before. The open top with the heat shield attached to the handle is new to me and the proportions are a little different from my other lantern designs. I also like the triple beading on the body and the top cone.

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I fiddled around with the design a few times and came up with my variation on the lantern. It is an evolving pattern and is not an exact copy. But not too far off I think.

 

Image by Michelle Waters Photography.

I have three of these lanterns on sale TODAY for $70 each. Click on the image below to shop.

 
Image by Michelle Waters Photography

Image by Michelle Waters Photography

Image by Michelle Waters Photography

Image by Michelle Waters Photography

 
Image by Michelle Waters Photography

Image by Michelle Waters Photography

Sometimes you just have to admit that your lousy at something.

Rob GorrellComment
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I have trying to take photos of my work for years. Anybody else remember slides? It just seems to be something that I do not have the knack for. No matter how many “You can take great product photos with no equipment” YouTube videos I watched, I just couldn’t get what I needed.

Recently I decided to bite the bullet, cowboy up and hire a pro. Local photographer Michelle Waters of Michelle Waters Photography came to the workshop and spent the afternoon taking photographs of my lanterns. We did a whole series of clean background shots and several along a great old whitewashed brick wall. We had planned to do some working shots to show how I work but ran out of time. Project for another day.

 
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I am very happy with the results of Michelle’s work and will be using her work throughout this site. Special thanks to my sweetie Shelley for helping me decide to do this and to Michelle for the great work!

There are new photos of the lanterns that I have in the shop and ready to ship. You can see the lanterns by clicking here.

Shop for great lanterns for the holidays.

Rob GorrellComment

I have been working away in our shop making up a variety of colonial lanterns. I have been updating designs, trying new finishes and trying to reproduce some historic designs that are new to me. This has created a variety of finished lanterns that I decided to put on sale at the last minute for the holidays.

All of the sale priced lanterns are complete and ready to ship. My website has been updated to make figuring the shipping costs easier and more accurate. If you are outside of the US, please contact me directly and we will work out the shipping and customs requirements.

Sophia’s Round Lantern, green.

Sophia’s Round Lantern, green.

Alex’s Square Lantern, red.

Alex’s Square Lantern, red.

Ava’s Round Lantern, black.

Ava’s Round Lantern, black.

 
Thank you for checking out my lanterns. I wish everyone a peaceful and happy holiday season.

Back in the shop with better prices on lanterns!

Rob GorrellComment
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We are finally settled into our new old house and have our workshop in decent shape.  It is a great old fixer upper on a street lined with massive Sycamore trees, two blocks from everything fun to do in town.

OK. Kidding, not our house. This is The Castle, a local landmark and museum that is well worth visiting.

We are back to making things between the many, many, house projects and yard work, but will not be getting out to any trade fairs this year. Just too much to do.  But there is good news from the tin shop side of things.  As I have settled in to the new workspace and taken some time to upgrade my tools and patterns, I have found several ways to speed up my methods and reduce waste. Yeah!   So I am dropping the prices a bit on all of my lanterns.  You can see the new prices in my shop on this website.

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New pricing on lanterns!

I am also taking on some custom work including a hearing trumpet and a metal sheath for a Civil War dagger. More to come on those later.