Silver “Fireball” Dinghy

An enthusiastic fireball racing sailor asked if we could clean up his model silver dinghy. He lived nearby and so I asked him to bring it in for an appraisal.

When it arrived it was quite black through many years of tarnish. Not only did it need cleaning (which would involve dismantling it) it also needed protecting from any future tarnish.

Boat 2

One of the best ways of protecting such an intricate piece of silver from tarnishing is to electro-plate the article with Rhodium. The problem with this is that the rigging (running and standing) was fine wire which would be difficult to handle once Rhodium plated. So I chose white gold as the best material for the rigging.

We agreed a price and then I set to work dismantling the dinghy into its main components. It was then sent away for Rhodium plating. Upon return it was re-assembled and re-rigged using the white gold wire.

Boat done1Boat done 3







Result: a nice clean shiny dinghy fully protected from future tarnish.

Another satisfied customer!


Still making, repairing and creating Silverware Tableware

It is a while since I made any entries on my blog for several reasons, some are work related and some are general day to day activities that take precedence at times!

This is a short entry just to confirm that all is well and busy at JA Campbell and we are taking regular orders via the website.

A slight technical hitch has meant the engraving option at checkout is not performing quite as it should do but please do not let that put you off ordering. Simply give us a call if you want to have our engraving service and Colin and myself will be happy to assist.

We like to talk to our customers!!!!

We are also about to launch our free cleaning kit for all Decanters and Claret Jugs bought from JA Campbell.

Watch this space for more details shortly.

John Campbell

Confessions of a silversmith – salt grinder problem solved!

Having made many hundreds of salt mills during my career, had a few back for repair, considered writing some good maintenance information but backed off due to the possible complexity of the subject.

Today I found myself, a user, with a clogged up salt mill that was not functioning due to the salt crystals becoming damp at some stage. Having cured the problem relatively easily I now feel able to write the following simple maintenance procedure.

1) Remove salt mill knob and cap and empty salt crystals into the rubbish bin (do not be tempted to reuse)

2) In a glass measuring jug fill to the 1pt level and heat to 60 degrees centigrade. Immerse  mill body, cap and knob fully for a few minutes until remaining salt crystals have dissolved. Holding the grinder spindle and dunking up and down will speed up this process.

3) Remove mill parts from the jug and discard the liquid

4) Repeat 2 and 3

5) Repeat 2 and 3

6) Drain and dry thoroughly inside and out using kitchen paper (cap drains better upside down) and place overnight, upside down on a warm surface covered again with kitchen paper. A central heating boiler or radiator will be adequate. Any hotter will burn or melt the perspex base.

7) Re assemble and polish using Silvo or similar product. Refill with fresh salt crystals.

Important!!!! There must not be and never be any water present in any parts of the mill as this will immediately create a problem and serious damage.

Enjoy the experience of using silver for good food and dining, as we do, everyday.

John Campbell

Master Silversmith

Cleaning Silver Tableware

I am often asked what is the best way to clean our silver so I have put together this brief summary. However if you have a particular problem with any silver item I will be happy to discuss this with you. I hope you find this information useful.

John Campbell, Designer and Master Silversmith

For most items, firstly, wash in a solution of warm water containing the usual small amount of washing up liquid in order to remove food and wine residues then dry using a clean soft cotton cloth.

Items such as photo frames, salt or pepper mills, candlesticks with baize bases should not be immersed but wiped with a soft damp cloth in the same above mentioned solution and dried.

It is possible to buff-up/polish the item four or five times at monthly intervals using just a soft cloth or cotton wool, provided the tarnish is light.

After this period a proprietary silver polish will be necessary, J.A.Campbell have used ‘Silvo’ by Rickett and Colman for 50 years and believe it to be the best.

Finally remove the light white powdery residue with a clean soft cloth.

In September 2007 J.A.Campbell changed production (of decanter tops at first) to  the tarnish resistant sterling silver made by Cookson Precious Metals called Brilliante. This decreases polish frequency approximately five-fold. Next in line for changing to Brilliante was the Chalice Claret Jug.

Since then we are using tarnish resistant silver for more products in our range and feed back from customers has been very positive.

If you have any questions on caring for your silver, please contact the technical department at J.A.Campbell on 01277 217829.

You may also wish to visit our website at