Steve the tinner
“Not only is Cornwall famous for its tin but in the Bronze Age, Cornwall was also very important for its copper resources, the two things needed to make bronze”.
I cant say that I’d ever heard of the art of tinning before other than the obvious Cornish tin related references, so I did a bit of research online before hand to see what it was all about. Soon as I saw that “tinning” looked very visual from a photographic point of view, I contacted Steve straight away.
Now, Steve hasn’t been a Tinner all his life. He left school with the intentions of becoming a boat builder and enrolled on a boat building & design course in Falmouth. After that, he got a job working in a boat yard building composite catamarans. He did that for about 10 years. He then went out on his own doing repairs on yachts along with restoring his own 1933 pitch pine launch. Eventually he called it a day on the boat building front and looked for a change on the career front.
After that, Steve moved around from job to job until one day something on the TV caught his eye which then led onto what he does today. Being a big foodie and having a love for cooking he was a big fan of the legend that was Keith Floyd. Keith cooked a lot with copper pans and that got Steve thinking. He looked into the art of tinning himself and thought he’d give that a go. Three years later after self teaching himself, he’s one of only three people in the UK that now specialises in tinning. In fact, he’s the only one in Cornwall.
My day with Steve was a very visual one. There was a lot of hammering, there was fire, smoke and much much more. Steve wore big protective gloves and a well worn leather apron, a look you’d associate with someone in this kind of work. It’s very clear to me that what Steve does for a living isn’t the type of job you and I could take on without some real experience. There’s a massive amount of skill involved in tinning and its taken a few years for Steve to master what he does so well. I really enjoyed watching the whole process of tinning from the very start to the final finished polished item.