A few years ago, I bought a silver kettle.  Only problem is, it leaked.  The part where the spout connects to the body was falling apart, so while it was ok to make, say, matcha with it, since matcha doesn’t require a lot of water, it was impossible to use the kettle for Chinese tea, when I need full pots of water.  The joint was visibly cracked.


So for the past two years, the kettle’s been sitting in a tomobako, waiting to see the light of day.  I almost forgot about it at one point.  It’s hard looking for a silversmith — the few I did find in real life didn’t handle this type of work.

I knew the work had to be done, sooner or later, and finally worked up the time to do some research to find someone who can fix it.  Some googling later, I decided on this guy, Jeffery Herman of Herman Silver.  (Yes, this is a plug, because I liked the end result)  I must say it took a bit of courage and trust — after all, you’re sending a valuable piece of silver to somebody you’ve never met, and you really have no idea how it’ll turn out, or if they’re even legitimate.  I figured, though, that if he’s no good, I would be able to find something about it on the internet, and I couldn’t.

I finally got the kettle back today, after about two to three weeks of work.  I must say I’m quite pleased.



Looking like new, and he even cleaned up the interior of the kettle, which had some yellow deposit.  Most importantly, of course, he re-soldered the spout, and it no longer leaks.


It’s not the cheapest – $250 for all this work, but I am quite glad I did it, because now the kettle can serve its intended function again.


Resurrection — 33 Comments

  1. Looks Great MarshalN! I have always loved silver, although in my understanding it tarnishes easily so I am not sure using a kettle for tea, would cause the kettle to look great after even a few uses.

    • The purer the silver, the less it tarnishes because it’s the metals alloyed with the silver (generally copper) that oxidize, not the silver. So if the kettle has a high enough silver content tarnishing is not an issue. View this image for an example showing the total lack of tarnishing. (I don’t have a photo of the inside of this teapot, but it is pure, bright silver, without a hint of oxidation.)

  2. Any opinions on Golden Teahouse online shop? Can you recommend any good online sources for Oolongs? Feel free to email me directly if you are not comfortable posting about vendors on the blog. Thanks!

    • I have no idea who they are, and from the looks of it, very expensive. Why buy from a vendor who has no pictures of the wet leaves, generic descriptions, and sky high prices?

      • Thanks so much for responding – you raise good points, are there any online vendors that you have dealt with (to your satisfaction)? I am so new to this, I don’t know who to trust. I just want access to good teas and given I am in the southern US, going online may be my best option. Thoughts?

          • Oolongs right now, however, I’m sure I will become interested in other styles at some point.

          • Not sure if you wanted more specificity: if so, I’ve been drinking a lot of tieguanyin … understand if you have to roll your eyes at my preferences, I’ve gotten the impression it is a very popular Oolong.

          • Why would I roll my eye at that? TGY is great, especially if it’s well processed.

            I think at that price range, you can try some of Mandarin Tearoom’s offering. Or the folks at the Tea Gallery. If you want, you can try finding some dancong at Imen’s Tea Habitat.

          • Thanks for the tip! I just did not want to seem to green (no pun intended) for dropping a seemingly popular/well-know and high end tea as my favorite, hence me understanding if you had to roll your eyes. Any tips on places where I can get a deal?

          • Two more questions: would you recommend “Yunan Sourcing” for all of their teas? They seem to have reasonable prices. Are there any others in this range you can recommend as well? Thanks for all of your help!

          • What kind of deal are you looking for? Tea is quite a personal thing – you have to like what you’re drinking, so I’m pretty unwilling to provide specific recommendations unless I know your taste.

            Yunnan Sourcing has some good tea, but it’s hit or miss and requires some experimentation.

          • The trouble I’m having is that my experience is so lacking, I’m having difficulty purchasing tea from vendors with confidence in its quality. Basically I’m looking to buy good quality TGY as well as try something new, maybe dan cong – Yunan Sourcing’s prices seem reasonable … I meant reasonable prices rather than a “deal.”

          • I’ve never tried Yunnan Sourcing’s oolongs, but from what I understand from other folks, he’s best with his newer puerh.

          • I have heard good things about Red Blossom, and have tried one or two of their offerings that are decent. Aside from that, no, I’m afraid, since I buy almost 100% of my oolongs from Asia.

        • Can you recommend any TGY sources with reasonable prices? And thank you for answering all of my questions, I realize you don’t have to do this!

  3. “Chinese Local Elites and Patterns of Dominance”. This message is brought to you by the Committee On Internet Snooping as a reminder that you never know what you might reveal about yourself out there on the Intertubes.

    Seriously, I saw the name “Max Weber” there and it reminded me of long-past academic days, so I had to chase down the reference.

    More importantly, it’s great that you now have a gorgeous and functional kettle so you can continue your investigation of tea water.

    • And a very important essay, I might add. Mind you, I’m saying Esherick and Rankin are partially wrong.

      Indeed, gotta get back on the water train.

  4. He did a beautiful repair job, and it’s extremely useful to have a source for this sort of repair. I might contact him to see if he could make a replacement knob for my Japanese silver kettle that’s missing one. (I have at least one other kettle lid that could be used as a model.)

    What heat source do you use for your silver kettles? I’ve thought that an electric ryoro would be ideal, but I haven’t tried using one myself. The bases of my two silver kettles are perfectly sized to fit into the charcoal ryoro I have.

    • I use my regular heating plate that I also employ for my tetsubin. Not ideal, but easier to deal with than anything else.

      Silver also requires a lot more heat, since it loses heat so quickly.

      • I think that one of the major advantages of a ryoro is that part of the brazier surrounds the lower part of the kettle so there’s less dissipation of heat than on a flat surface. I should do some tests to compare.

          • I agree with you that a ryoro is not perfect for a small silver kettle, that they go better with the bofura kettles that were made for them. The other charcoal braziers I have are too large. The sensible response would be for me to use an electric plate with the silver kettle rather than go on a quest for the perfect small Japanese antique charcoal brazier to go with the silver kettle…

  5. Pingback: Revived from the dead | A Tea Addict's Journal

  6. Wow. I am sure the work was excellent because that is pricey(not relative to the quality of work but to a new silver pot). The solder used probably cost around 5 dollars. The cost is in that very few silversmiths work on that kind of stuff. Speaking as a metalsmith getting that amount of solder just right is very difficult and takes skill. I would probably have done the work for 50 dollars of course that guy probably has 10 years experience on me. Hehe. How much was shipping?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.