60-Second Silver: Use toothpicks to level a hinged lid

Silver teapots, coffeepots, boxes, ink wells, and anything with a hinged top, may become unsettled in the way they sit due to rough treatment.

Perhaps you have a piece with a springy top that simply won’t sit level. You may be able to rectify this problem yourself. Cut to length and place a flat toothpick between the entire length of the two hinge plates and push, ever so gently, on the sides of the lid with your fingers.

Take notice of any movement on the back side of the lid where the hinge plate is attached. If the lid still doesn’t sit level, repeat the process by stacking additional toothpicks between the hinge plates.

White spots on silver plated objects

This phenomenon usually occurs on a freshly plated piece with moisture migrating to the surface. Even if the piece was properly dried after plating, some spots may still appear over a short period of time. This is especially true if the base metal is a lead alloy or pewter that was not nickel plated before being plated with fine silver. The nickel would normally keep any moisture from migrating to the surface.

Polishing usually makes these spots disappear, but often only on a temporary basis. To achieve a more permanent fix, after polishing, heat the piece with a hair dryer (do not do this if your piece is weighted) until it is warm to the touch. You may have to repeat this procedure a few times until the white spots no longer appear. ?

Jeffrey Herman encourages anyone with silver-related questions that can’t be answered on his Web site hermansilver.com to contact him. He may be reached at 800-339-0417or jeff@hermansilver.com or at PO Box 786, West Warwick, RI 02893.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. Herman has worked at Gorham as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator and at Pilz Ltd., where he learned the fine art of restoration. Herman has a BFA degree in silversmithing and is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.


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