ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
article # 190
by Jeffrey Herman


JEFFREY HERMAN was just elected into the prestigious Fellow category of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths in England. He's the only Fellow living outside England. Herman was nominated by three other Fellows of the IPG, and humbled that these Fellows felt him worthy of this honor.
This is his 30th year in business operating as a silversmith specializing in restoration, conservation, and preservation, and 25th year as the Founder of the Society of American Silversmiths (SAS).
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 everything, from historical pieces to single spoons.
Further details about Jeffrey Herman and information contact are available in his website at
(click on photos to enlarge image)


As any silversmith knows, silver solder is the ideal material to use when joining sterling pieces by the traditional method of brazing. Sometimes I will receive an object which has been lead-soldered in the area in need of repair (or re-repair).
Sometimes the joined area is not visually accessible, and I don't know if lead has been used.
In either case, I cannot use silver solder because the high temperature required will melt any lead in the joint and allow it to form its own alloy with the silver. Not pretty! And, using a low temperature tin/silver solder won't give me a sound joint or good silver color.
For this reason, I use the German-made Lampert PUK 3s Professional Plus pulse arc welder. Pulse arc welding allows me to use solid sterling wire for a perfect color match (silver solders contain less fine silver than sterling).
The pulse arc welding principle: Non-toxic argon gas is pumped through a handpiece and engulfs the welding area with a protective atmosphere to eliminate firestain. An electric arc (energy flow) is created from the point where the electrode touches the workpiece. As the electrode retracts, the arc is drawn up from the point of contact. Exactly here, melting occurs, and the result is a clean and stable weld.

The high degree of precision is made possible by touching the workpiece with the tip of the electrode. The electrical arc necessary for welding is thus generated from exactly this point. By varying the angle at where the electrode tip touches, welds can be accurately steered in the desired direction and previously applied metal "distorted" or modeled. The heat is so localized that I can handle the object without getting burned, even at 1,640 degrees - the melting point of sterling!

This 5 1/2" Wallace sterling cut glass jar cover was stamped and spun out of extremely thin material.
The image on the left shows light coming through three areas of a flower as well as other areas on the piece.
These areas were worn through from over polishing. The edges of the open spaces were the approximate thickness of a piece of tin foil.
The PUK worked beautifully, and I used .25mm sterling wire for a perfect color match.

Someone had the clever idea to engrave these 1730 caster bodies with "salt" and "pepper". (The tops were left off to show a larger area of the engraving.)
Engraving the function of these pieces is certainly not something I would have done, but to each his own.
Since the engraving was too thin to remove by filing, I used sterling wire and the PUK to fill it in.
When I photographed the "after" image I had not yet polished the bottom sections of the casters (and the change in the tarnish color is due to the casters handling while welding). The total time it took to fill in the engraving, repatinate, and hand finish the casters was three hours.

This rare Jensen piece shows chased lettering that I filled in with sterling (left). The image on the right shows the finished job. A few pin pricks were left to blend with the rest of the surface. If this hadn't been done, the filled surface would have looked too refined.

This ring's amber was glued onto the setting with decorative wires above, only 1/16" from the stone.
As you can see in the image on the left, the wires had come apart. Since I couldn't remove the stone, I had to weld the wires back together with the stone in place.
Here's the process I used: I pried open the wires and removed the silver solder. The wires were then sprung back together.
I slid index card stock between the wires and the amber to prevent the stone from burning during welding.
The wires were then welded together with sterling filler wire.

This Meiji-era teapot needed its handle secured and its dents removed from the single-walled body, double-walled cover, and removable tea strainer that sits under the cover.
There had been a rod extending through both ivory insulators. One end was hard soldered to the handle and the other was peened over on the inside of the pot. Over time, this assembly loosened.
I removed both rods then welded new ones to the body, covering the holes.
I then drilled holes through the handle for the rods to extend and countersunk the holes.
After I reinstalled the insulators over the rods, I attached the handle with the rods protruding through the holes.
I then pulsed down over the rods, spreading the silver into the countersinks and securing all parts for an undetectable repair.

Jeffrey Herman
- 2015 -