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[Enameling] Copper Drinking Vessels and Dinner Ware


#1

Greetings to all on this wonderful list,

I am an amateur enamelist just learning, and I thought it would be
fun to attempt to enamel some goblets, plates, etc. and I was
wondering if anyone could recommend a source for these materials. I
currently do not have the facilities to raise and form copper in an
appropriate manner.

Thanks in advance,
Joel (in sunny but cool NYC)


#2

You can find some pre-formed shapes in copper at Metalliferous Since
you are in New York, I want to mention that I teach forming at the
53rd st YWCA/ Craft Students League.  If you should decide that
you want to customize the shapes or raise your own, we have a
formidable set of stakes and hammers in our workshop.  There
are a few students who do raising and enameling, but I’m still
waiting for somebody to really pursue the two techniques together
and inspire us all! Natasha Wozniak


#3

Joe, try striking up a relationship with schools that do
metalsmithing. Sometimes the students will have access to the
machinery for spinning or people who do spinning. Buy something from
them every so often even in your early days of experimentation. So
they will be there when you want a special shape or something besides
copper. Metalliferous might be a supplier of small bowls or belt
buckle blanks. I used to buy large shaped pieces of copper from
American Metalcraft (2074 George St., Melrose Park, IL 60160. Joan
Schlaifer is a source in CA & on the web. Coral Shaffer of
Enamelwork Supply Co. (1022 NE 68th St., Seattle, WA 98115 has lots
of things (also a website). There is Precision Metal Spinning , 1007
Washington St., San Carlos, CA 94070 (415) 592-3616. Those are
places to start. The only one I am ignorant of is the Precision
source. Seems like time we struck up a conversation!

Good luck, enjoy. I am sure you will get lots of email for sources,
methods & recommendations.

Go the The Enamel Society website and think about coming to the
August conference!

Eileen Schneegas
Snow Goose Designs
Metal & Enamel Art
Washington State


#4

This reminds me of a question I wanted to ask…

How does one make sure that their copper or silver metal is
foodsafe? Assuming that I use Sparex or another pickle of similar
chemestry, one of the readily available hard solders with no Cadmium,
etc… can I just make it as serverware, or is there something else
one needs to be careful about?

Incidental thanks to the list for the advice about my question… I
think I have things under control now and have been able to make some
strong joints. May came to SF like a lion with a drooling problem,
but I found some good weather to be out on my balcony soldering
today. :wink:

Ken “Wirehead” Wronkiewicz
http://www.wirewd.com/wh


#5

Hi, Getting the forms is the easy part. American Metalcraft
(708-345-1177) as Eilleen mentioned has many bowls, goblets,plates,
etc. for sale. What is difficult is deciding if the enamel you are
using should be used on pieces for serving food. Thompson Enamel does
NOT recomend thier enamels for food service pieces. Since almost all
the other manufacturers have leaded enamels I would be wary of using
thier enamel for this purpose as well. Although you could probably
serve “dry” food in vessels coated with enamels pretty safely,
anything acidic might be a problem.

Karen


#6

Eileen, Thanks for all the advice and the sites, I will look into
them.

I have purchased a lot of my supplies from Metalliferrous. They
have an awesome collection of findings, and I have had loads of fun
using some of their pieces in my work, unfortunately I don’t
remember them having any drinking vessels but I will check again.
One of my other hobbies is medieval recreation so I was hoping to
find some copper goblets. I also found American Metalcraft and they
have some plates but no goblets, and I think they have some mugs.
Last time I looked I didn’t see a website for Enamelwork but I have
heard wonderful things about Carol and her company. I will look
again. The other sites you mentioned, Joan Schlaifer & Precision
Metal Spinning I don’t know but I will investigate…

I am seriously tempted by conference, one of my very strong
interests in enameling is plique-a-jour and I would love to go to
the Almeyda workshop among others. Unfortunately, money is a bit
too tight to fly all the way out to Washington state, so I am afraid
I am going to have to wait. Of course, if my lottery ticket hits,
I’m there in a heartbeat. :slight_smile: The North-east Enamelist Guild is
doing a June seminar and workshops at the Newark Museum. The
workshops will be run by Harlan Butts & Linda Darty so luckily I
have a local alternative. Harlan is having us work w/ cups from
American Metalcraft, although if I am correct they might be closer
to mugs then what I was looking for. I am sure Harlan will be able
to answer some questions.

Joel (in NYC where it’s cold outside but we’re drinking Margaritas
to keep warm) Happy Cinco de Mayo!


#7

Kind of a bummer. I would have liked to used the pieces I am making
instead of just having pretty objects, but all objections about the
mingling of food/drink, enamels and copper are duly noted and shall
be respected. Ingesting toxic materials has little appeal to me.
Again, thanks to everyone for their input. Joel


#8
 What is difficult is deciding if the enamel you are using should
be used on pieces for serving food. 

It’s not really dificult to decide because it’s illlegal to use
leaded enamels ( and for that matter, unleaded enamels that don’t
meet stringent leaching requirements ) for food and beverage
containers in the US and many other countries.

Al Heywood


#9

Joel, I think that pre formed goblets will be hard to find if at
all. I understand that you don’t have the time to raise them from
sheet but what about forming a tube of sheet and soldering a pre made
bowl to that. I know that solder under enamel presents problems.
Perhaps the soldered seam areas could be designed to be pertained not
enamel. The side seam on the tube would not have to be straight
either. If the inside of the bowl and lip is well enameled with a
food safe enamel, I fail to see how it would not be food safe.

Marilyn Smith


#10

With regard to whether enameled vessels are safe for food–
Probably the surest route, short of abandoning the project, would be
to create some sample pieces, and send them to a lab for analysis of
what leaches out. A ceramics teacher of mine was in the habit of
doing this with some regularity, and the cost was something like
$25-$30 to test for a whole list of heavy metals and the like. I
can’t tell you a lab, but I would think that a little online
research would turn something up, or calls to universities or
ecological organizations, even the EPA. HTH --Noel


#11
 Kind of a bummer. I would have liked to used the pieces I am
making instead of just having pretty objects, but all objections
about the mingling of food/drink, enamels and copper are duly noted
and shall be respected. Ingesting toxic materials has little appeal
to me. Again, thanks to everyone for their input. Joel 

Joel, I think the traditional solution to this problem is to raise a
silver liner for the enameled cup, joined at the lip with a silver
(or gold!) rim like a bezel-- soldered to the liner, folded over the
top of the enamel. A lot of work, but a spectacular result. --Noel


#12

Marilyn,

Your suggestion sounds like it should work and assembling my own
pieces could indeed be the way to go. In the end I’ll have a lot
more control of some of the shapes. Also if I remember correctly IT
solder can be used in enameling projects.

Joel


#13

Brilliant idea to go to a lab. I will definitely consider that.

As to enamels being safe I think the info coming from the list
suggests that Thompson says they don’t consider there enamels food
safe and many of the other manufacturers are making lead based
enamels. I will research some other non-lead mfgs. and see what
they say.

Joel