How to Restore an Out of Shape Pewter Piece

Written by cl hardy
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Pewter has a long history of uses dating back to colonial America. Composed of tin and other metals like lead, copper and antimony, pewter antiques are popular among collectors for their lightweight design as cups, bowls, platters and more. Pewter can be fragile, easily dented or misshapen from years of use. You can repair pewter pieces easily with the appropriate tools.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Large stainless steel pot
  • Heavy duty work gloves
  • Rubber hammer
  • Large piece of heavy fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pliers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Fill your large pot with water. Make sure the pot is large enough to immerse your pewter piece inside without overflowing the pot.

  2. 2

    Place your pewter piece inside the pot. Set the pot on the stove and boil the water. This heat will soften the pewter and prepare it for manipulation. Allow the piece to sit in the boiling water for approximately 5 minutes.

  3. 3

    Put on the heavy duty gloves and carefully extract your pewter piece from the water. The item will be very hot and more inclined to lose its shape, so handle with care.

  4. 4

    Select your tools to begin manipulating your piece back to its form. You may be able to reform mug handles using gentle, even pressure from your fingers. Keep your gloves on as the pewter will still be hot. You should first manipulate small dents and dings with finger pressure to avoid damaging your item.

  5. 5

    Use the rubber hammer to work out deeper dents in larger items like bowls and plates. Cover any surface areas you hit with your heavy fabric. Do not directly strike pewter without a protective cushion (like fabric) as this may permanently mark your piece.

  6. 6

    Use pliers to pull out dings on mug or bowl rims carefully. Using a pair of scissors, cut a small piece of fabric. Cover the rim area you wish to fix with the larger fabric piece and use the smaller fabric piece to line the inside of the pliers. This will prevent indent marks as you apply pressure in straightening the rim. Use the pliers to pull out any dings or dents until the rim resumes its normal shape.

Tips and warnings

  • Warming the pewter adequately soften the metal for manipulation. For especially deep dents, let the pewter piece rest longer in water to aid in restoration.
  • When using the rubber hammer, gradually increase the pressure of your strikes against the metal to push out dents. Work from the outside of the dent and always use fabric lining to avoid damage.
  • If your pewter piece is badly damaged, dented in a difficult spot to access using any of your materials or especially valuable, seek professional assistance.

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