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Born with a silver spoon


#1

Hi all,

I’m planning to make a sterling baby spoon as a gift – I haven’t
made a spoon in ages. What gauge should I use? Any other pointers?
Thanks,

~Elaine

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Studio 925; established 1992


#2

Are you going to use a ring blank or a bar? I have made a number of
baby spoons for family members but I’m not sure how functional they
have been. The mommies all seem to use the spoons from the
supermarket that have the plastic lining the tips. I think that they
feel less likely to damage tiny lips and mouths. I have never
succeeded at using a bar. I think that I did not start with a heavy
enough one. The last one that I made for the youngest grandson is
my favorite. I forged the bowl and used the heaviest wire I had for
the handle, maybe 10 gage. Attaching the two parts is very
important. I made a split in the handle and pushed the bowl up into
that. Make sure that the narrow part next to the bowl is thick
enough that it does not bend in use. If I use the blank system, I
start with at least 14 gage if I have a choice. For various reasons,
I have used thinner but then the spoon is more of a token. Again,
it’s important that the narrow part next to the bowl be work
hardened and thick enough that it will not flex. Be sure to look at
the side view of a commercial spoon to see how the bowl angles and
check yours. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.

Marilyn


#3

Hi, Elaine,

I recently guided a student through this. The main difficulty seems
to be the narrow area between the handle and the bowl. That part
really needs to be reinforced, one way or another. If you’re good at
"upsetting" (hammering in the edges to thicken an area) then that
looks great. Alternatively, you can solder on an extra layer for
that part and file it into contour, or solder a thick strip to each
side of the “neck” and file/forge that to match. (If it isn’t clear
what I mean by this last part, look at the backside of a plastic
spoon.)

For what it’s worth, in lieu of a spoon, or in addition to one, I
like to make a “pusher”, which I had when growing up. It is, in
essence, a little hoe-- a flat “blade” (not sharp) at an angle down
from the handle, for pushing food onto the fork or spoon, instead of
using the fingers. If this isn’t clear, I can send you an image. It
has the added benefit that the baby will not be likely to have
already gotten one. I make one in the shape of a fish, with the tail
bent down to do the pushing.

Have fun!
Noel


#4

Elaine - I have used both 18 and 20 ga for spoons.

Debby


#5
I'm planning to make a sterling baby spoon as a gift -- I haven't
made a spoon in ages. What gauge should I use? Any other pointers? 

Hello Elaine,

If you can get a copy of “Silversmithing” by Finegold and Seitz
there’s a great chapter, #42, on forging flatware. He makes a
teaspoon on pages 397-400 starting with 8 gauge plate. Excellent
book!

Silversmithing (Jewelry Crafts)
By Rupert and Seitz, William Finegold , William Seitz

http://www.ganoksin.com/jewelry-books/us/product/0801972329.htm
price: $27

Media: Hardcover
Manufacturer : Krause Publications
Release data : 01 August, 1983

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#6

Hello Elaine -

I don’t know if your intention is to forge a spoon, but I was taught
to forge the long feeding spoon from 4 gauge square sterling wire.
It was hard to find 4 gauge wire - but at that time, I was able to
find some from Hauser and Miller. I was shown to avoid forging the
area were the spoon bowl meets the handle - which allows the
thickness of material needed for strength in that area. It is many
rounds of hammering/annealing to form the spoons. I love watching
the way the spoon takes form.

For the shorter spoon that the toddler uses to feed themselves - I
would start with 8 gauge sterling sheet and saw out a short skinny -
slightly spoon shaped blank. The starting blank size needed to be
calculated. The same principal of leaving thickness where the
strength is needed was applied. I was shown the sensitivity of
leaving slight thickness at the edges of the bowl of the spoon and
the end of the handle as well, for comfort and durability of use.
Fine tuning the thickness of the silver also added to the aesthetic
wholeness of the shape. It’s a very satisfying process to forge a
spoon.

I’ve tried pouring an ingot to use for forging a spoon - but with
the porosity in the ingot (because of my inexperience) - it made that
way undesirable. Taking the time to saw the blank from the clean
sheet metal was worth it! I still would like to work on my ingot
pouring skills - it’s a great way to use scrap silver.

Once when making a large serving spoon for a wedding gift, I used
the from the Rupert Finegold and William Seitz book
"Silversmithing" - to calculate the starting size of the spoon
blank. It was fascinating how accurate the size worked out - to not
waste any silver. This book was a great resource for any smithing
projects that I pursued.

Anyhow, that was my basic experience and approach to making spoons.

Have fun and Aloha,
Cynthia


#7

when my granddaughter was born, i crocheted a baby spoon out of
sterling silver wire, it turned out just wonderfully. i even left a
space at the top to add a birthstone gemstone bead. i then made a
sterling silver safetypin (i just love making those) with a loop for
the spoon to dangle from, and that way my daughter could wear it.

cept it isn’t her style or taste, but she ooood nicely and warmed to
it as everyonen else at the baby shower went crazy over it. i
covered my bet and made a baby afghan too, no not out of silver.
thought of it…

pat


#8

Pat:

Then you might say, she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth?
This term is usually given to the very wealthy and elite, who are
quite spoiled, with everything handed down to them in life. Your
granddaughter was born with a very gifited Grandmother - that’s for
sure.

I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing.

Very best,
TINA
@Tina_Ratner


#9

I find that a piece of silver 5mm x 15mm x 60mm makes a perfectly
respectable dessert spoon. The anount of work drawing out the handle
and spreading the bowl develops the arm muscles no end - but it is
easier in the earlier stages to forge at a dull red heat on a
blacksmith’s anvil.

David Kelsall