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How Do We Make A Richmond Kettle?

The art of metal spinning has been passed down through generations and it truly is a dying art. The artisan techniques have gone unchanged for over 100 years. After the establishment of the innovative Edwardian kettle design, barely anything had changed except the hands of the craftsmen.

 

Why Copper?
Copper is the key ingredient to our kettles. It’s soft and highly conductive properties make it perfect for spinning and perfect for use as a stove top kettle because it heats up very quickly. Historically, our organic copper was mined in the United Kingdom, from Cornwall, Cheshire and Scotland.  Copper had been mined in the UK since the roman times and had vast uses from cookware to coins, but in more recent decades unfortunately supply has not met demand.  Our copper is UK sourced but imported from Germany. We believe that aesthetically, copper is magnificent material and you can learn more about copper here.

 

Hand Tinning
From copper sheets, our craftsmen cut, stamp, form, punch and press the parts.  These parts are then placed on hotplates and the hand-tinning process can commence. A flux is added to the surface before liquid tin is brushed on. During this process, the tin binds with the surface of the copper creating an integral surface for the inside of the kettle.  The tinning process is fundamental for two key reasons: firstly, untreated copper will oxidise quickly in contact with water; secondly (and worse of all), the taste of your perfectly brewed cup of tea may be jeopardised!

 

Spinning
Once the pieces of our copper jigsaw puzzle have been tinned, the craftsmen can begin the spinning process. Spinning is the process of manipulating metal using a lathe and different levered tools.  Unlike wood turning, no material is removed in the spinning of metal. As the copper discs spin, they can be manipulated into shape by using the lever tools against a chuck. It is common for spinning in today’s age to be completed by CNC machinery but the organic properties of copper (being soft and having weak spots) can make it difficult to complete using CNC machines. The best results for spinning copper come from the hand spinning process where the craftsman can feel the inconsistencies and work his techniques personally to each individual piece.

 

Soldering & Polishing
Following the spinning of the parts, there are a series of pressing, crimping, cutting and soldering processes to take place before our kettles begin to resemble kettles.  We use pure grade silver solder for our kettles to ensure they stand the test of time.  The kettle parts must be heated in excess of 400 C allow the molten silver to create a seal.  Throughout these stages, the kettles undergo three sets of integrity trials in the various parts before being hand polished using a polishing wheel.

 

Final Assembly
Most of the kettle parts are now ready for assembly. For our chrome models, we have to send the parts out to be chrome plated first (that is a whole other story for another day), but then assembly can begin.  During the assembly process, a further two integrity trials are completed as well as two more cleaning and polishing processes.  All of these processes are completed by hand.  In total there are over 80 processes involved to make the kettles from over 20 different parts.