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Author Topic:   A gorham fork question for silversmith
hello

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 04-28-2006 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought this Gorham fork quite a while ago, and, while being nice, it has one minor flaw. The handle is hollow and the end(side without the hallmarks) is pushed in ever so slightly.

Can such a thing be repaired?

What about other hollow handled items?

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-28-2006 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most hollow handled items are repairable and require some understanding of how it is made. The handles are usually filled with pitch that holds the tang of the fork in place and gives support to the thin walled handle. I suspect your fork handle was made in two halves and soldered together. The edge of the opening of the handle is sometimes rolled over a portion of the handle. I am guessing that the horizontal bar that separates the tine portion from the handle is the point that is rolled over.

To repair this rolled edge would need to be rolled back first before heating the handle to release the front part of the fork from the pitch. The pitch would need to be heated and poured out of the handle and saved. It might require the making of a custom tool to carefully coax out the dent in the handle. the front face would need to be finished as much as possible before reheating the pitch to pour back into the handle. It is important to have extra pitch since some will stick to the side of the melting pan. As it cools the tang of the fork needs to be reinserted and held straight until the pitch is cool and hard.
The edge of the handle can then be rolled back over the front and the final polishing or burnishing done to complete the job.

Easier to explain than do and there are plenty of pitfalls in the repair to watch out for.

I think your fork is lovely as it is.

Hope this helps,
Fred

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 04-28-2006 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fredz,

FYI, everyone of these hollowed handled toast forks I have seen and handled (10-12+) have appeared to be without any pitch or cement of any kind.

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hello

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 04-28-2006 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am leaving this fork alone, don't worry. I am more or less curious overall. Sounds like a timely process. This is a completely hollow handle though(judging by weight, feel, sound) does that make a difference?

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 04-29-2006 02:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fact that the handle is completly hollow leads me to believe that it may be made from fairly heavy gauge sterling. I would be interested to know how the handle is connected to the working end of the fork.
Perhaps it is riveted? Can you tell if there is a seam where I suggested at the horizontal bar separating the handle from the tines? I am intrigued by this construction.

Scott do you know if the decoration around the tines are hollow?

Fred

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 04-29-2006 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It been a long while since I last bothered to pick up one of these. My recollection could be flawed but the impression was that it was completely hollow including the tines.

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hello

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 04-29-2006 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is correct, the fork is hollow top to bottom. To me it looks like the two halves were made individually, then put together. It carries the date mark for 1892 if that helps. The reason I asked is because I don't see how it could be done, but would your explanation above relatively still apply(except there is no pitch etc.) The gage of silver is relatively thick by the way.

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-29-2006 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the fork is entirely made of two halves soldered together, there is no practical way to remove the dent without unsoldering the halves.(not a good idea. Risk is high that you could damage the fork.)

Fred

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