Okay, I admit that some of these questions are not super frequently asked, but they are here anyway just in case you might be interested . . . ;-)
Do you mind when the letters are crooked?
No, I love that part. One of the things I have realized about stamping into metal is that slips or misses or uneven spacing or crooked letters happen. I find that striving for perfection, hoping all the letters will match up just so, usually means they do just the opposite. Life is like that too. When you try to make it perfect you’re destined to fail but you can choose instead to embrace the imperfections and find beauty and joy in them. I am grateful for the reminder of that in my craft and have come to love that aspect of it.
What about type-os?
Well, as mentioned in the previous question, I am not, unfortunately, perfect and so yes, they do happen. If it's just one upside-down letter you may still get the piece because IMHO when that accident happens, it was just the piece telling me (or maybe you) to not try so hard to be perfect. And I, for one (and hopefully you too) think they're quite charming that way, so why waste an entire item? If, however, I totally flake and spell something wrong, which has been known to happen on occasion, I will start over for you. If you had hand-selected your item, I'm sorry you will be getting a different piece. If it's significantly different, I will definitely give you the opportunity to reselect before I proceed.
Will that discoloration/spot/mark/scratch go away?
Yes, usually it will. If I've shown you a 'before' shot for you to choose your piece from or you've hand-selected your item, they are often full of tarnish and discoloration. Most of the time they polish up beautifully--not like new (see the question on it looking like new), but with a beautiful vintage patina that you just can't get from new silverware. And I should warn you the stamping won't be perfect either--which is what I love about them and the process. Don't believe me, read my Manifesto here and then you'll really see how crazy--I mean passionate I am about this stuff.
Will it come out looking like new?
No. It will look a lot better than it did when I got it as typically these old items are covered in tarnish, but it may have various nicks and dings and scratches and sometimes even dents that I can't polish out. In other words, it will have lots of vintage of character and charm. The really good ones, the super worn and crusty, are my favorites. Their rich patina tells a story of the many dinners, parties, events and gatherings at which they have served. Oh if spoons could talk, the stories they'd tell. Don't you just wonder whose lips they've kissed and what secrets they've overheard???
Any other disclaimers?
As mentioned in the first question sometimes slips and misses happen. Some items are just made from a harder metal or because of their shape are just not happy at all to be stamped. I don't know this by looks alone, but I figure it out pretty much with the first hammer strike. And again, if it's an item you had hand-selected or I don't have any more of, I will contact you before proceeding with another piece. If not though, you will get a similar and awesome substitute and never be the wiser that the first try was a no go.
Geeesh, what else can go wrong?
Okay, okay, relax and I know those first few answers were a lot of doom and gloom but those were the worst-case scenarios. MOST of the time these pieces stamp excellently and polish up beautifully as you can hopefully see in my many sample pictures. But I do want to educate my customers to prevent any unrealistic expectations. Really all you have to do is keep in mind this is a hand-craft and is meant to be charming and FUN!
Will my piece tarnish?
Please see my CARE page.
How do I care for my piece/s?
Please see my CARE page.
How do I clean my Typographie items?
Please see my CARE page.
Do you enjoy making these items?
More than you could possibly imagine. I'm quite passionate about it in fact. One of my favorite things about stamping silver is it reminds me to embrace imperfection (see the first question or if you have some time and want to read more, I invite you to peruse my ramblings here. Fair warning: you might want to go potty first as this could take a while.)
Can you polish an item first?
It's not a good idea, no. Every time silver is polished, a layer of the silver is actually being removed. And since the stamping process involves a particularly aggressive polish at the end, I would not want to take even more of the finish away by polishing the piece first. I can, however, give you a pretty educated guess as to how shiny a piece will turn out. If you're like me, the crustier the better, but I can see where some people might want a little more sparkle. I will do my best to choose a piece that will fit your vision. Just let me know in our convo that's what you are hoping for.
What do you mean by Typographie? Or Vintique?
Over the years I discovered that I love naming things. Who knew! And since three children are plenty, I had to direct my naming talents elsewhere. So using them in my businesses is the next best thing. And as for these two words, you can read more here. They are super special to me.
Where do you find the silverware?
I scour West Michigan estate sales, flea markets and antique stores for items. And I have fabulous friends who keep an eye out for me too. [Thanks ladies, you know who you are!]
Are they “solid” silver?
Highly unlikely. The answer to that question depends greatly on the age of the silver and the way that it was made. Silver flatware for dining came into use in 12th Century England and was fashioned out of the same quality of silver being circulated in coins and would have been "solid" silver. As a result, for several centuries, only members of the royal families could afford such luxury items. Silverware handed down from this period is ornate, beautifully made and often, heavily gilded. But then things started to change. The Great Depression led to a decline in finances and the already expensive solid silver flatware became even more unattainable. Also, increased labor costs caused the wealthy to reconsider the number of servants involved in 10-course dinners and polishing the silverware. So silver-plating became a more common, standard practice--a process called flashing, btw. So unless your item is a very heavy, super ornate piece that seems to be from the 12th Century, it's a good guess that it's plated.
Are they “pure” silver?
Nope. Pure silver would be way too soft. Silverware and even silver jewelry are traditionally made from sterling silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. In the US, only an alloy consisting of at least 90.0% fine silver can be marketed as "silver" (thus frequently stamped 900). Sterling silver (stamped 925) is harder than pure silver and has a lower melting point (893°C) than either pure silver or pure copper. Britannia silver is an alternative, hallmark-quality standard containing 95.8% silver, often used to make silver tableware and wrought plate. And blah, blah, blah. If you've made it this far and are still interested, visit Wikipedia to find out the rest.
Is “plated” silver a bad thing?
No, definitely not. First off, if you read the previous two long boring answers, you now have a silver education and know that it's highly unlike you'd even find something that is solid silver. Side note, if you did find something that was solid silver you might as well look into having it melted down since silver is so valuable--unless it was a family heirloom. In that case, you'll have to weigh the sentimental value versus the monetary value. But anyway, back to my point, there is, fortunately, no dilemma at all in deciding whether or not to meltdown plated silver. And as you know from the answer before this one, plated silver is going to be a lot stronger and more durable so you can enjoy your treasure for years to come--provided we don't take the silver plating off with too many polishing that is! :-0
Is this more than I ever needed/wanted to know about silverware?
Yes, definitely. But if you made it this far, thanks for caring or being interested or perhaps really bored or visiting my site while you're on bed rest. Bonus points if you read my Manifesto. Triple bonus points if you popped over to Wikipedia to keep reading about silver. And quadruple bonus points if you come back here after and finished reading this. I do hope you order a bunch of pieces so you can bore--I mean entertain your friends with all your new-found knowledge. In fact, if you did read all this, mention the word 'flashing' (you know what that means, right?) in the order process and I'll give you 15% off of your first order!