Royal Selangor Visitor Centre – The Foundry – make your own pewter accessories!

I blog about food, I blog about my experiences – be it an event, a trip or even concerts; and at times, I blog about cars and gadgets too.
I love to experience as many things as possible in life; as long as it’s legal and it’s something that caught my interest, why not right? I’ll do it! 🙂

When I got an invite for a day at the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, I was baffled. Ermm, go and see pewter exhibits? Hhmmm…

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BELOW: Though I admit this rather huge exhibit is interesting! 😀

Further reading revealed that we are scheduled to check out the new highlight of Royal Selangor Visitor Centre – an experiential workshop called The Foundry.

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The Foundry allows visitors to make their own pewter accessory with methods that are actually used today at The Royal Selangor factory. And amazingly, this Royal Selangor Visitor Centre here in KL is the ONLY factory that makes every single piece of pewter sold under its name.

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The welcoming lobby:

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Moving inside towards the factory:

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The spacious and open space for the factory workers:

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Making pewter is a painstaking task. I watched in both amazement and perplexity by the precision and skill exhibited by the workers as they work to make some of the simplest pewter design. Take this pewter mug for instance. Part mould and part handmade, the engraving are solely by hand; by hammering at the PRECISE millimeter and with the same amount of pressure each time – for literally hundreds of time to its finish.

Step by step: Plain mug on the left, polished mug on the right.

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Making the handles: A scoop of liquid pewter goes into the handles’ mould.

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Liquid pewter hardens pretty fast. The moment it hardens, the worker extracts it from the mould.

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Liquid pewter melts fast too. Any excess of parts from the intended design are “melted off” easily by just leaving it the hot liquid. It will just liquefies and breaks off.

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Here are the handles; ready to be fitted onto the mugs!

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Now, back to the engraving. Each mug has uniformed rows of indentation. How did they do it remains a mystery. I guess long hours of practice plays a huge part!

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We were given a chance to try to do so ourselves.

This is the tool.

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Here I go!

Don’t think anyone will buy this huh? 🙁

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Here’s Wilson trying his skill. Much better than mine I must say! 🙂

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Example of Royal Selangor engraving on the pewter.

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BELOW: More of the unfinished items on the factory’s workdesk.

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Then it’s our turn!

Step 1:  CASTING.

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Step 2: Scotching and Buffing.

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Step 3: Staining.

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Step 4: Filling and Cutting.

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Optional – Engraving and painting.

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Here’s a few finish that you can choose from: Satin/Brilliant/Antique/Tumbled.  Scotching and Buffing are the steps that will give you this finish.

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The difference between the final product from the 4 types of finishing.

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Alright, time to get the aprons and gloves on and get our hands dirty!

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Our work tools.

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Molten pewter at around 250°C; which was rather fun to play with! :DD

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There are 2 options for pewter designs – either freehand; some sort like drawing with liquid pewter or the easier method of just using the moulds.

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Nice isn’t it? Unfortunately, it was impractical.

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Shaping the molten pewter was really difficult. A very steady control of the handle used to pour the liquid pewter is required. I challenged myself not to use the mould and tried to create a free hand design. I started out with lofty ideas such as sushi and burger. After 15 minutes at the design station, I gave up and just toyed around til I got a design.

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I somehow ended up with a design of a “fork“. I thought it was rather clever since I’m a foodie and I happily stuck on to the idea, improving it as I try to make it to look as much as a fork as possible. I also had to ensure that each tines is strong enough on it’s own and the handle is not a weak link, sturdy enough to hold everything up.

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Once satisfied, I moved on to filing and cutting.

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Shirley helped me to file. “Ok, here’s how you do it.

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Hhmm.. I can do this…

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QC check…smooth or not?

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File more!

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Ok la, about there….

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Hhehhehe..my FORK!

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Scotching and buffing; both are done by running the piece against a scotching and buffing wheel

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Then staining for an antique finish, if that’s your choice.

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Ohhh…time to make “my mark”! Guess what were the “R” & “S” for?? :DD

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Test test…can the FORK fit into my mouth??

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Total fail! I placed one of the engraving sticks wrongly and my initials came out crooked! 🙁

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Nothing can be done once you made a mistake, short of re-doing the whole thing again, which I wasn’t about to attempt, since the workshop was very cold (I hate cold!) and I was famished!!

Anyhow, I decided to toy with the paints for a while. I thought a funky looking fork would be nice….

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Oh noes.. too much paint!

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Blue, pink and yellow! One for each tine of the fork!

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Hmmm.. starting now…

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Oh god, I was suddenly in Pendidikan Seni (Art) class back in school again!

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Without a doubt, years in the corporate world had not improved my artistic side at all.

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Next I attempted 3 colours on each tine of the fork instead of one colour each. Yeah, weird I know. Don’t ask.

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In the end I gave up. It looked terrible! Hahaha!
So it’s back to the old “stained” finishing that I chose, with the last step having to spray lacquer on the piece to seal in the “finish”. At least the poor fork looks dignified now! :DD

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Here’s Vivian’s piece – so nice isn’t it? A free-form pendant!

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The 90-minute workshop costs RM150, and you come away with a personalised piece of jewellery.
For more information, write to [email protected], log on to royalselangorvisitorcentre.com or call 03 4145 6122. The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, located at Setapak Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, is open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Next post: A tour of the factory. 🙂