Pewter Craft: How To Work with Pewter

Posted June 7, 2019 . Blog Pewter Craft

Wentworth Pewter craftsman skilfully working with pewter

Are you interested in how to work with pewter? Steeped in heritage and tradition, this beautiful craft has been around for centuries having been preserved by craftspeople like those right here at our works in Sheffield, UK. What’s more, you don’t need to be an expert to try it out. If you’re looking for a new hobby or want to unleash your inner creativity, you could give it a go to make your own jewellery or a truly unique handcrafted gift. Here’s what you need to know and over at our Pewter Craft website you can find the pewter pieces you need to get started.

What is pewter? The perfect makers metal

Thanks to its unique composition, pewter tends to be extremely malleable, which means that it’s perfect for crafting. For the scientists among you, it is usually composed of a mixture of elements including tin, copper, antimony, and bismuth.

“Pewter is an ancient material in use since at least the bronze age and as such is probably the oldest metalworking industry in continuous production in the world,” explains Richard Abdy of Wentworth Pewter. “The material is perfect for so many applications due to its low metal point, relatively easy workability and sensible cost.”

Pewter – malleable metal alloy

How to work with pewter

The tools: If you’re considering working with pewter, you may well have thought about the tools and equipment you need. Here are some of the basics to get started – bench pin, jeweler’s saw, pliers, wire cutters, files, soldering supplies, torch, hammers and a bench block.

The techniques: There are two main techniques that people use when working with pewter. The first is relief modelling. With this method, you need to trace the design directly onto the alloy and then use tools to model it from scratch. The second method is called cast pewter, which involves melting the pewter down to a liquid form and then using moulds to set it.

When you first get started, the craft can be nerve-wracking. However, the key is experimenting with different styles and figuring out what works for you and your skills. “Have a play, you don’t need a lot of expensive kits – castings can be created in a ‘kitchen’ environment and sheet can be worked with simple tools,” Richard explains. “There are no rules. Just use common sense and don’t be scared.”

Safety: It’s important to consider safety when working with metal. An apron, safety glasses, rubber gloves and dust mask are some of the main kit you’ll need. Good natural light and working at the right height for you will make it easier.

Luckily, there are numerous videos online which detail how to work with pewter. Watching a range of these tutorials before you get started will give you an overview of how you can get started and what the main techniques are. The more research you do, ultimately, the better equipped you will be when you try it for yourself.  

About Pewter Craft

Pewter Craft is run by Wentworth Pewter one of the last remaining pewtersmiths in the UK. Our easy-to-use, pre-cut pieces give budding metalsmiths a head start in creating their own products. Whether you’re a metalwork designer, craft lover or an organiser of a metalwork course, we make it easy to work out quantity and price.

Give us a call if you need tips and advice on working with pewter from our friendly team of pewter specialists.

Buy your pewter pieces

Are you interested in working with pewter? Head to the Pewter Craft store to find the pieces you need right to get started.