How long goes it take you to make a piece of cookware?
I get that question a lot, and I always have to say: what kind?
If you mean a piece of cookware that I make for the House Copper line, then it usually is a few quick hours from start to finish—let’s say 2-3 hours. I can batch the wares, and condense the process, and make five in the same time it takes me to make two. It may take me 2-3 days of spurts but if necessary, I can do it all rather rapidly.
If you mean a piece of cookware that is from a well-known pattern that Bob and/or I have on hand, and you just want a reproduction canteen out of copper or a corn boiler, but we are still making it from scratch, then it takes anywhere from 4 – 10 hours, sometimes more. Every piece along the way has to be formed, hammered, riveted and wired, and then soldered and tested for water seals, and polished…it’s a much longer process using 200 year old tools.
If you mean a totally custom piece of cookware that needs a pattern figured out? Well, now you’re talking even longer, because creating the mathematics to create a new pattern out of thin air can take hours. Brand new jigs need to be measured, cut, sanded, and tested. Then there’s the prototyping and testing. Then you make the final piece, which still will always have kinks to be worked out. Assume it takes 10 – 20 hours to make a piece from absolute start to finish for a custom piece, and part of that is just standing and brow furrowing and figuring out what to do in what order.
It’s a constant learning process, that’s for sure. And there are always hang ups or mistakes, or a tool breaks or something needs replacing in the bead blaster before we can keep moving forward. Sometimes we need to run to the hardware store. Sometimes it’s just better to stop and sleep on it before trying to keep at the project.
But it’s always worth it, no matter how many hours.