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I Forge Iron

Assistance with French Antique

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Hello. I'm needing to be pointed in the right direction. I've got a project with a decades-old alambic that requires a retro-fitting (all copper pieces and piping). The copper isn't so much the problem, as finding someone who is willing and able to tin the pieces in the proper way to reproduce the 100-year-old configuration. I've included an image that can, perhaps, shed some light on what I'm envisioning. Any and all input is greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much.


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Find a really fancy cooking store or restaurant and ask them who does re-tinning of pots. The fancy copper pots are tinned and it does wear through and have to be re-applied on a semi regular basis. Some places will host a tinning day where an expert will re-do a bunch of pots brought in for it.

Basically the process has been pretty much the same for the last 1000 years, (you can read about tinning objects in Theophilus' Dives Arts written in 1120 C.E.)

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Looks like youre working on a still.......:cool:

Yes, I am. And the alembic/still is going to be registered as equipment in an approved, bonded DSP (Distilled Spirits Plant)... blessed by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The location is around Albuquerque, NM.

Mr. ThomasPowers: The alembic is rather large; does the technique for tinning or re-tinning piping and long sections of curvaceous cooling tube (serpentin) match that of small pots or cookware?

I should say that I have found an expert in 18th/19th Century copperwork that could probably help, but being that he is a small outfit and usually quite backlogged, the wait could be troublesome. I still remain positive... as he's wonderfully gracious, kind and passionate about his craft, just very much overwhelmed with the demands of multiple projects. I've no doubt I'll be working with him on numerous other pieces, but I'd do well to find others who are as interested and capable of helping.

By the way, I'm very gracious for the attention my question has already received... so thanks to the each of you.
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No SWABA is an affiliate of the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America, ABANA, and meetings are free and open to the public. Our next meeting will be in Santa Fe, and will start at 9am MDT. Directions and details can be found here SWABA.

Meetings usually consist of a smithing demo, a potluck lunch and a raffle of items related to smithing donated to help support the group (known as iron in the hat), if I have any new, "pretty" tongs or hammers they've come from IITH!

I'll be driving up from Socorro and plan to visit the Black Hole (sort of a scrap yard) in Los Alamos after the meeting.

Oh yes, I'm currently VP of SWABA, Hope to se you there!

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  • 1 month later...

I've recently contacted pascalou with images of the apparatus... as it's finally made it through.

I'm really hoping at this juncture to find people who can do not only 18th/19th century coppersmithing and tinsmithing, but also anyone who may be able to produce cast-iron "pieds" or "supports" for the stand that it will require (I've included an example below), as well as those who can possibly do the build-out for the refrigeratory tank or vessel. Any advice or thoughts?


Edited by Grim
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Yes, there are several cast iron melting cupolas in NM; Chris Thompson had one at his shop last time we had a SWABA meeting there and there is also an "art" one being run at one of the small colleges---go with something close so you can work closely with them.

My guess would be that the piping on those legs is an artifact of the reproduction technique and that they were smooth and you would need just a lathe turned positive to make the mold.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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