Silver bits and bobs

I’ve spent several weeks trying to refurbish these candlesticks


The enamel parts were made about ten years ago, but then because we had an event I bodged them together using copper pipe coated in silver leaf for the sticks. They looked ok, but they were terribly wobbly, too wobbly to over really light the candles, and they became one of those things I never quite got round to fixing and then felt massively guilty about every time I saw them.

so I made new tubes. I was very proud of the silver tubes. You see I often buy tube because argex don’t charge a premium for it- it’s pretty much the same price as thier other bullion, but I couldn’t be bothered sending off. Normally you use a tool called a swage block to form tube but I don’t have one, so I abused my vice and my ring bending pliers instead, and w as quite pleased with my own ingenuity, thank you very much.

When I first made these Pete butler, who much cleverer and more experienced than me, and who has handled originals, suggested the tubes might be filled. Now, I tried two other methods of stabilising these ( I fused the tubes and knobs, to no effect, and then tried rivets and tabs’ also to no effect). Having neither pitch nor molten lead( Pete’s two suggestions) to hand, and having messed about for two weeks and finally reached the point of soddit, I resorted to milliput. If you’re unfamiliar with milliput it’s basically the illegitimate love child of plasticine and epoxy, and it worked. The candlesticks are now decidedly unwobbly. Just don’t tell the authenticity police?


Gareth has been having fun with duct tape, trying to barrel polish things to big to go in the barrel


The barrel polisher as sold is basically rubbish unless you want to polish a single pair of earrings, and I’ve always had problems with mine. This was a bit Heath Robinson, but the chalice came up lovely.


And I couldn’t resist this shot because the backdrop fabric makes it look like the holy grail


We are currently trying another improvisation to polish the paten that goes with it.

I’ve also been plugging away at a lid for a bowl I made. I’d been putting it off because it’s such a shallow and difficult shape. It was looking really awful and I thought I’d failed, but then I planished it and it’s starting to come together. Planishing is basically polishing with a special hammer, because of the shape of this I alternately planished from both sides and had to use four different stakes to get into the corners.

All of my hard work seems to have resulted in an anatomically correct silver breast. Maybe I should give up on the whole lid thing and make a reliquary of st Agatha instead? I’m sure I’ve got a big ruby somewhere I could use for the nipple…


~ by opusanglicanum on September 5, 2015.

12 Responses to “Silver bits and bobs”

  1. Obviously, it’s the beginnings of the type of armor that fantasy illustrators & comic book artists all seem to think woman warriors wore!

    The candlesticks and chalice are beautiful.

  2. I won’t tell the authenticity police if you don’t! The candlesticks were well worth the rescue, even it it caused some mutterings…

    • Maybe I’m just a wus about the danger of chipping enamel, but adding enamel to things always seems to make them harder to assemble. I sometimes wonder what the casualty rate was when the originals were being made

  3. With any luck the authenticity police will be too busy sniggering at the breast to examine the candlesticks too closely?

    But seriously, they are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see the cup lid in its finished state, too.

  4. Make another one for a plate bikini?! The candle sticks look great as does your Holy Grail – love the backdrop!!

  5. Your candlesticks look great! If I got it right the milliput is completely hidden inside the tubes so nobody will notice unless they destroy the candle stick.

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