I really enjoyed working on this commisison since it involved taking something old and making it into something new and useable. Will first emailed me with his enquiry in March. His idea was to use a Victorian pewter bierkeller cup from Bavaria that he had into a handmade custom golf trophy. I sent Will a set of questions to find out more about the purpose of the trophy and what he wanted it to look like. After he’d answered the questions and sent me a photo of a trophy base in the wood and style that he liked, I was able to create myself a clear design brief to work to that we were both happy with. Before moving forward I also gave an estimate of the time and costs involved.
the design process
Once I had a clear brief I created lots sketches of different trophy ideas and presented them to Will. From these he selected his favourite. It was important that the trophy base had a ‘secret’ compartment to allow the storage of a piece of paper . The paper had a poem written on it that the trophy winner would read aloud at it’s presentation. Will wanted to trophy to be like a puzzle box for the winner to have to figure out. The idea that we both liked the best was a tubular hole drilled though the base’s top section. One of the knobs in the end would be fixed but the other would be removable to allow access.
The final base design echoed features from the pewter cup to make the 2 pieces look as if they belonged together. I also made sure that the cup fitted onto the trophy base but was not altered in anyway and was removable because that was part a of the brief that was important to Will. The initial wood choice had been yew but I persuaded Will to use walnut as I felt it would complement the pewter of the cup much better.
creating the cup
Since the base was to be quite tall I decided to turn it in 4 sections and then glue them together (see photo). The hole in the top section was drilled while it was still square and then turned to shape on the lathe. 2 pieces of wood were then glued together to make the lower section. This worked because the join would be hidden by the pewter plinth band that was to be attached later.
The fourth and final section was designed to keep the cup on top of the base. It was turned to exactly match the inside profile of the pewter cup. This was a tricky and time consuming process but necessary, since it was the best way to attach the cup securely but in a removable fashion. Once it was shaped it was glued on top of the rest of the base.
The final parts, the 2 identical knobs were both also made of walnut on the lathe. One of them was glued very securely in place but the other was designed to be the push fit closure for the secret compartment. The idea being that when the knobs were in place you wouldn’t realise there was a compartment at all.
I sealed all of the wood with a plant based wax/oil to protect and nourish it. Once buffed it gave it a beautifully soft, natural shine. The base was then completed by Wentworth Pewter, based in Sheffield, who were kind enough to create a custom engraved name plate and plinth band for the trophy. These were made to my specifications, that had been previously okayed by Will.
timescale, cost and delivery
Throughout the 3 month process I kept Will up to date on my progress with regular emails. Once the trophy was finished I posted it back to Will, using a tracked service, along with my invoice. The cost was based on the material costs, the pewtersmiths cost plus the hours labour involved in the designing and making of the trophy.
Commissioning an item as unique as this is an experience in itself and at the end of the process you have a wonderful object created in collaboration with myself to treasure for years to come.