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Silver Ship's Decanter Coaster with Reed Edge & Mahogany Base

A large handmade hallmarked sterling silver decanter coaster with a turned mahogany base. It also has a turned reed wire on the top edge for strength and decoration. It has a silver button in the centre suitable for engraving a crest, initials or logo. It has green baize fabric underneath.

A silver coaster is used for containing decanters, bottles or glasses, and so protecting your highly polished table from liquid stains or scratches. This particular coaster is specifically for using with a Ships decanter. A sterling silver cheese stand and sterling silver bread bowl would be ideal alongside this coaster on your table.

A silver coaster  makes a delightful gift for any occasion, from a birthday to a wedding to a corporate gift or sports award. The silver button in the centre is particularly suitable for engraving, to mark the occasion and personalize the gift.This may also increase the value of the gift in years to come.

The ideal partner to this coaster is the Admiral Ship's Decanter.

For those interested in how we make this range of three coasters (bottle, decanter and ships), the method is the same for all 3. They have the same components but of different sizes; the outer body, the central engraving button, the mahogany base and green baize.

The main body: this is made by the 'spinning' method from a silver washer.  This is an ancient process of making round, hollow objects from sheet metal, in this case silver. This process is not unique to the silversmith and is used in other industries. Saucepans and lighting reflectors are often made this way. Using a spinning lathe, a preformed shape or 'chuck', as it is known, is screwed to the mandrill of the lathe and a sheet metal blank or disc is clamped to it. While it is rotating and using a spinning tool, the silver is 'spun' (forced/wrapped) over the chuck until it fits snuggly. The 'spinning' tool is a highly polished steel burnisher fitted into a long wooden handle which the silversmith tucks under his arm and uses his body weight and leverage to move the metal.

On completion of Stage 1, the decorative steps near the base are pushed into the surface using the sharp part of the tool. Then the sides are pre-polished before forming the top wire. Stage 2: the flange from which the first stage spinning was driven is cut out and goes to 'clean scrap' for later processing. Stage 3: the chuck has its top part removed, allowing the top of the coaster to overhang. This is hooked out at right angles to the main body. Step 4: the right-angled flange is now spun back on itself to begin the formation of the hollow top wire. Stage 5: the coaster is held on a wooden chuck and the hollow wire closed. Three decorative lines (reed) are now turned into the surface, using a sharp steel tool. The main body is now finished.

The silver engraving centre button: this is a small silver disc which is first domed in a press and then has a small casting (to hold it into the mahogany base) soldered to the back.

At this stage, the article is punched with the maker's mark, JAC in a triangle, the initials of John Campbell. It is then sent to the London Assay Office to be scraped and tested. Once a positive result has been received from the laboratory confirming that the article has been made with metal at least 92.5% pure silver, the remaining hallmarks are punched into the surface. Should the result indicate a minus 925 figure, 2 more samples are taken and tested and if all 3 still show a minus figure, the article is destroyed and the wreckage returned to the silversmith. (This has only happened to me once in over 50 years.) This independent hallmarking process began in the 1400s and is one of the world's oldest and most secure forms of consumer protection.

Upon return to the workshop the coaster is now polished inside and out using 4 different grades of compound until it has the high lustre associated with silver. It is punched with the JA Campbell name punch and ultrasonically cleaned.

The mahogany base: these we make ourselves in-house from sawn mahogany planks which we store here for several months to ensure they are completely dry and then plane down to ½" thickness. They are then cut into discs, drilled and fitted onto the lathe and turned to fit. Decorative lines are turned into the surface. A slot is turned into the back to hold the baize in place. The base is polished using 2 grades of compound until smooth and shiny.

Again on the lathe, the mahogany base is lapped into the finished coaster by spinning the edge over the wood. The button which has also been polished is pressed into the centre recess and the baize pushed into its slot which tightens its surface. This is used to prevent scratches to furniture. Last but not least, the coasters are fitted into presentation boxes.

In the unlikely event of damage JA Campbell provide a full repair service. You can be assured that all our products are made u,p to a standard, not down to a price. Nothing leaves the Brentwood workshop until Master Silversmith John Campbell is completely satisfied.

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Our services


Gift wrapping

Each item purchased is packed into a luxury presentation box.

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Engraving service

Engraving your silver or crystal adds that extra personal individuality to your sterling silver gift.

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Our skilled silversmiths can perform many repairs on worn or damaged silver items.

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Swap your old silverware

We offer a swap service where you send in your old silver items.

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