ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL COLLECTORS OF ANTIQUE SILVER
ASCAS
Members' Window # 90  
home
by Jeffrey Herman 
(click on photos to enlarge image)

BEFORE AND AFTER

I have repaired and reconstructed everything, from historically important tankards, tea services and tureens to disposal-damaged and dishwasher-dulled flatware.

Illustrated are some of the objects I have restored.

This is a large Gorham soup tureen with caved-in base, dented body and cover.
The piece was in a fire and the soot was fused to its surface - not a pretty sight...

 
Gorham soup tureen with caved-in base, dented body and cover
The base dents are burnished out
The base dents are burnished out. The process moves from the outside of the base to the inside, using highly polished steel tools in various shapes, minimizing any change in the surface of the tureen.
Since this piece was created in the 19th century, it's very important to retain the small scratches and dimples that have accumulated over the decades...
Burnishing out the body dents.
Whenever possible, burnishing is preferable than hammering because the metal stretches very little and produces no hammer marks...
burnishing is preferable than hammering
The burnishing continues
The burnishing continues - from the outside of the piece to the inside-back and forth as many times as it takes to make surface as smooth as glass.
This process requires a tremendous amount of pressure to force the dent back to where it's level with the surface around it...
The body dents are removed with heads that conform to the compound curve that's being burnished out.
The head is placed in a horse - a long steel receptacle which is in turn placed in a heavy vise...
The body dents are removed with heads that conform to the compound curve that's being burnished out
Sometimes a highly polished planishing hammer must be used to force down pinpoint dents
Sometimes a highly polished planishing hammer must be used to force down pinpoint dents that cannot be removed with burnishers. Rubber, wooden, or plastic hammers are considered before resorting to the steel hammer which will remove the toughest dents, leaving shallow marks that must be burnished out, filed, and/or buffed ...
A wooden hammer is used to remove the edge dents on the cover, making sure every hammer blow strikes squarely without distorting the metal.
A highly polished t-stake is used to back-up the cover and absorb the blows...
A wooden hammer is used to remove the edge dents on the cover
The finished piece after 5 hours of work
The finished piece after 5 hours of work! Notice that the monogram on the body remained intact.

The entire piece was hand finished to look as it would have before its battering.

The tureen sits atop a surface plate which was used in conjunction with a height gauge to insure that the piece is now level.

 
This cruet stand arrived in my shop with one foot missing. An existing foot was removed, duplicated with electroforming, and reattached along with the new foot.
Dents were removed, and even patina was applied, and the piece was hand finished.
damaged cruet set restored cruet set

 
baby cup run over by a truck in the 1920s repaired baby cup
This baby cup was actually run over by a truck in the 1920s. The handle had to first be removed and reformed. The cup had to be annealed numerous times to soften the metal, allowing for the creases to be opened and the body to be reformed. The imperfections along the hollow top edge could not be corrected because the metal was very thin. Any tool used to repair the edge would result in a poor result, or worse - tearing the metal! Notice that the engraving on the right side of the body was preserved. The 90-year-old owner gave the cup to his granddaughter on her first Christmas.

Jeffrey Herman
- 2011 -
Jeffrey Herman worked at Gorham as designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator. Upon leaving Gorham, he took a position at Pilz Ltd where he learned the fine art of restoration, and fabricated mass-produced ecclesiastical ware. He earned a BFA degree in silversmithing and jewelry making from Maine College of Art in Portland, studying under Harold Schremmer and Ernest Thompson, two outstanding designer/craftsmen. He started his business in 1984 gaining a national reputation of quality craftsmanship repairing and reconstructing everyting, from historical pieces to single spoons.
He is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.
Further details about Jeffrey Herman and information contact are available in his website at http://www.hermansilver.com