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How to construct a bottle

I am interested in making a small, pocket sized bottle from silver. I would like it to be able to hold water, holy water in fact so a I can carry it around in an ornate handmade bottle. I have no experience making such an object however. I am guessing I might be able to roll some sheet, maybe use a dapping block? I am not sure and am interested in hearing your insights,


Instructions for this are in W. Ben Hunt’s book on Indian Silversmithing…very old, but still available. Possibly also in Oscar Branson’s in color update/rework of Hunt’s black and white material. Many libraries have one or the other of these. HTH, royjohn

Google my blog on Jelf0. Making small silver and bronze bottles was a nice addition to my income before retirement! If I had a workshop available, I’d probably still be bashing them out, but can’t afford one in Central London.
It’s fairly basic silversmithing, but you have to like bashing metal on stakes. A lot of bashing! A tutor is always helpful, I learnt at the Sir John Cass School of Silversmithing, then at Hatton Garden with Steve Wager.

Regarding making a bottle. No one has suggested starting with a tube. Shaping can make it oval if you prefer to make it easier to carry, then soldering on a bottom to fit. You can add any decorations, and make a lid with another tube or by making a “plug”. I have made a small tube-type bottle, but admit I’ve never tested it for water tightness. Maybe a cork if it’s still round?


I have made some bowls and various other vessels before and there are a number of ways you can make one. Tubes can work,you solder a bottom plate on one end,and use some cork for the cap. I have also used a pitch bowl and stakes to make more interesting shapes. If you don’t have a pitch bowl, you can use a piece of pine wood. Carve out the shape you want in the wood and you can use hard wood dappers(which you can also make) to tap out two sides for your bottle,and then solder the two halves together.

There are several reference to Navajo Tobacco Canteens. Basically bottles with stoppers. I am not familiar with Ben Hunt’s books but I do have two books on making Indian silver work. Packed away right now. But look up Oscar Branson. In one of his books they discuss tobacco canteens and how to make them.

Don Meixner

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