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Silver plated pewter repair


#1

hello listers,

i have been asked if i can repair a golf trophy. it’s a large cup
with a lid and upon the lid stands a little golfer figurine. in
transit, the figurine got bent and his right foot has lifted off his
grassy patch (which is attached to the lid).

i have received an email from the manufacturer who says that the
figurine is silver-plated pewter and that the figure should be able
to be “eased upright with a little pressure without heat. But you do
need to take care.” the owner has already tried this and said it
made a creaking noise.

we still have not heard from the manufacturer as to what material
the lid is made of – i think it’s not pewter as it’s very very
light, but maybe some of you can enlighten me in that regard.

anyway, the crux of my question is should i heat this little guy up
and bend him back? if i do so and the silver plating discolors, do i
pickle it?

i have never worked with anything silver plated nor with pewter and
am close to telling the owner i just don’t have the knowledge to do
this. please let me know if you all think this is the righ course of
action!

many thanks in advance,
jocelyn

Jocelyn Broyles
Designer/President
www.jocelynbroyles.com
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679


#2

Hi Jocelyn,

Since you’re already in contact with the manufacturer, I would do
the customer the service of declining the repair and deferring to let
the manufacturer handle it. The object obviously has sentimental
value, and I personally would not want to take on the liability with
such a questionable repair. The customer might not want to pay what
the manufacturer charges, or even the shipping, but I wouldn’t let
the owner make his (or her) problem your problem. The least of your
problems would be having to replate the piece, but even worse if you
break it or melt it. Pewter has a relatively low melting point.

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)


#3

Dear Jocelyn, Don’t heat it up! Pewter does not work harden. It
gets softer and softer, the more you work it----very strange, huh?
It has to do with the antimony in the alloy. Also, it melts at an
EXTREMELEY low temperature—just above the melting point of tin/lead
solder. So, DO NOT heat it!

If you decide you don’t want to risk fixing this, I recommend Jeffrey
Herman, the director of the Society of American Silversmiths. He
supports himself with his repair business, and is a whiz. You can
reach him through the SAS website, at http://www.silversmithing.com

Cindy
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4

well i’m not sure if any of you are interested or not, but turns out
i took the manufacturer’s advice and just slowly bent the little guy
back upright. the crack at his foot is nearly invisible and all is
well.

thanks so much for your reponses though! i am so greatful for this
list. i would have never known about pewters low melting point etc.

many thanks!
jocelyn

Jocelyn Broyles
Designer/President
www.jocelynbroyles.com
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679


#5

The creaking is probably the plating, it will crack in all
probability when you straighten it. Heat will not anneal the plating
as its annealing temperature is higher than the melting point of the
core. It may break off when you straighten it. Your options are to
give it a try or leave it alone. If it breaks, I would use TIX
solder to reattach it not staybrite. I find TIX is not as strong,
but its melting point is lower. There will be discoloration at the
seam, I use soap and water, and a fine steel brush to brighten the
solder. Do not pickle, it will attack the core. Use a propane/ air
torch softly like you would for heating pitch. Another option is to
mold the figure, cast it in bronze or silver and rivet it on, it all
depends on the customer. Can the trophy company send you another
lid?? If you have questions please ask. I fix a lot of this stuff,
and am considered the jeweler of last resort where I work, a dubious
honor.

Gail


#6

Hi Jocelyn,

Cynthia is correct–DO NOT heat the piece to reposition it or else
it may collapse. It would be unusual that the base metal is pewter
instead of a lead-based metal. And, when you speak of a cracking
sound, it’s probably a somewhat brittle metal and not the plating.
Can you post some close-up images of the piece? If you can, I’m sure
I will be able to walk you through the entire process of repairing
it.

And, if anyone out there is looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry
or holloware, contact Cynthia Eid :slight_smile:

Jeffrey Herman, Silversmith
Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation
PO Box 72839
Providence, RI 02907
401/461-6840
Fax: 401/461-6841
E-mail: jeffherman@silversmithing.com
Web: http://www.silversmithing.com/silver