How it's Made

There are several processes that go into the production of pewter products. These processes include Spinning, Pressing, Rolling, Casting, Metal Smithing, Finishing and Quality Control.
Even though our techniques and machinery has improved over the years our pewter is still very much individually hand made by trained craftsmen and women in a traditional way. All be it we are able to purchase some of our pewter to the size and shape we require it still has to be hand rolled, spun, formed or burnished piece by piece.
Sometimes before the tankard, flask or quaich is made into shape it has a design applied first. This is either pressed or rolled on with a rolling machine or press at high pressure.
This process enhances the product with a stylish 3d or two tone pattern whist still keeping cost down to the end user.
Spinning is a metal-forming technique, done on a suitable spinning lathe, by which flat sheet can be easily formed into hollow vessels. Using formers and burnishers, the spinner works the pewter discs onto former chucks which come in various shapes and sizes. It takes years of experience to perfect this technique and makes the job of the rest of the team harder if done poorly.
Pewtersmiths are experienced in soldering which makes it one of the most important techniques in the pewter workshop, as it is the standard method of joining individual components to form an assembly. When carried out with skill and the correct materials, the joints are extremely difficult to detect. Using various solder alloys for the many varied items made nowadays, the pewtersmith has to use his skill in bringing the components to a soldering lamp, or in certain circumstances the lamp to the component.
Casting is the oldest method of producing pewterware and in some countries it is still the dominant method. Gravity casting into permanent metal moulds is the traditional and most widely-used technique of producing cast pewterware. Slush casting is a method of making hollow castings without the complexity of using cores, particularly where the profile or surface finish of the inside is relatively unimportant. This makes it an ideal method for reducing the weight of a handle or other attachment to a main article without upsetting the balance or feel.

Rubber mould casting by the centrifugal method is, today, a very common method of producing small items quickly, accurately and to a high standard of finish and complexity. Impressions are formed in two thick circular sheets of rubber, which are then clamped together. The top sheet has a central hole which connects with runways in the rubber which lead to the impressions. Molten pewter is poured into the central hole of the top sheet, whilst the mould is rotated at high speed. The pewter is forced along the runways into the cavities by the centrifugal force. When the metal has cooled, almost immediately, the two halves are parted and a radial display of cast parts is seen.
Shown above are handles that will be used for tankards once they have been through the buffing process and linished flat at the point of contact to the tankard body.
Finishing is the last process in the production of a piece of pewterware, but is by no means a technique tacked on to the end of the other processes. It is the finish that determines the final appearance and characteristics of a piece of work. Firstly, stitched mops dressed with abrasive compounds are used to cut away the surface, to remove irregularities and imperfections. This is then followed by the final polishing on swans down mops, using a rouge based compound. This gives an extremely fine, sometimes mirror finish and brings out the colour of the metal.
Most of our staff have been in the pewter manufacturing industry for years and have the hands on skills that only years of experience doing the job can bring. They have had to move with the times but there are just some jobs that machines alone can not do.
Quality Control
Quality control is one of the most important processes for us as we passionately care about the quality of all items that leave our premises. The process starts as soon as an item is brought into the department. Whereupon one of our trained staff will thoroughly inspect the item for any irregularities. If the item is found to be in a unsatisfactory condition it will not be sent out and instead will be returned to the appropriate member of staff to rectify the problem. Once an item has passed our stringent quality control it is then carefully wrapped up and packaged to be sent out to the customer.