Handle with care – working with silver and wood with Grant McCaig

Ref: SLW09266

Suitable for all

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About this course

Learn how to pair wood with silver to enhance functionality and diversify the visual appeal of your work. Through practical sessions to design and make a fully functional small silver jug with a wooden handle.

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to pairing wood alongside silver to enhance the functionality of your projects and add another element to their visual appeal. By the end of this course you will produce a fully functional silver milk/cream jug with a wooden handle, designed and made by you.

You will be guided through a series of practical workshop sessions that will enable you to independently make the cream jug, covering fabrication in silver of a simple cylinder, cutting and adding a base, pressing a spout and creating a bezel for the handle. This stage will introduce you to soldering using the gas blow torches and how to prepare the metal for each stage including pickling and finishing the metal to your chosen surface.

Sharing and exploring ideas as a group as well as through one-to-one tutorials we will discuss your designs for the handle and make scale models prior to committing to wood.

We will explore how to shape the wood using both hand and power tools, where necessary and how to finish the wood prior to attaching to the jug body. Finally we will practically explore how to rivet the handle in place before finally sealing the wood with wax or oil.

During the course, you will cover:

Understanding how to calculate your metal needs for the cylinder.

Cylinder fabrication using the slip rollers and hammers.

Correct soldering procedure including binding up forms in preparation for soldering, solder size, placement and effective flame size.

Measuring, cutting, forming and fitting the base.

Soldering the base in place.

Pressing a spout from the jug body.

Cutting out a rough wooden handle shape on the band saw or by hand.

Shaping and finishing the wooden handle prior to attaching to the jug with hand and power tools.

Riveting wooden handle in place.

Oils waxes for wood.

Glossary of terms:

Cold connections - Connecting without heat, typically rivets, pins or chemical bonding (glue).

Mood board -A collection of images, material samples or sketches that convey the essence of your idea.

Bezel - Ring or band for holding the handle in place.

Pickling - A solution, which usually contains acid, used to remove the surface impurities in metal.

Binding - Thin iron wire to tie metal in place prior to soldering


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing the wooden handle.

What students need to bring

  • Prior to our session you should try to consider a range of ideas through sketching or gathering inspiration from the internet using Pinterest, for example. Gather drawings or images into a sketchbook, folder or laptop that you can bring with you to our first session together and be prepared to discuss these. Collating images onto a mood board is also a great way of triggering thinking and defining areas of interest. We will discuss your designs at the start of the session and help you to develop the most appropriate and interesting examples into a single successful design.
  • Apron
  • Old toothbrush
  • Old clean rags
  • Sensible shoes, no open toes
  • Please contact me by email via the before the course to discuss the dimensions and thickness of the metal you will need to provide. The tutor will supply a range of fruit woods for handles from my own stock but if you have any interesting pieces of wood that you want to use please bring them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Gilding metal
  • Silver
  • A selection of metals and jewellery/silversmithing tools and materials
  • Available from tutor:
  • You will need to provide your own metal - please contact the tutor by email at to discuss the dimensions and thickness of the metal required. You can work either in gilding metal or silver.

Please note: Recommended bullion suppliers: Argex Ltd, Metalor Ltd, Exchange Findings Ltd, Bloomsteins. Cookson Precious Metals Ltd, Metalor Ltd Note: Some bullion suppliers have minimum order levels (e.g. £25). Ask for your requirements to be checked against this before placing an order.


Grant McCaig

Grant McCaig is an internationally recognised Silversmith and educator. His work is in several major collections including National Museums of Scotland, the Goldsmiths' Company, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery. He has taught in Japan and Colombia, is a selector for Cockpit Arts and mentor for the Crafts Council.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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