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4Tinsmith Shop

TinsmithA tinsmith is a craftsperson that fashions useful items out of light metals. The tinsmith would forge the lead that was mined into ammunition for the Continental Army, as well as make useful items, such as tools and kitchenware, for the officers and soldiers to use at the fort.

Galena Lead OreThe lead ore, known as galena, was mined in fields nearby the fort.

furnace for forging leadThe lead ore is placed in a furnace.  When the fire reaches a temperature of about 600 degrees Fahrenheit, the lead melts out of the stone.

globs of leadWhen the fire goes out and the furnace cools, globs of lead like this can be found in the ashes.

Fire in stone furnaceThe globs of lead are placed in ladle or crucible and melted back into a liquid to be poured and molded into blocks.

ingot of leadThese blocks of lead are called ingots.

musket ball moldIngots are placed back in the ladle or crucible to be melted into liquid again.  A copper dipper is used to collect the molten lead and then poured into a copper ball mold.

musket ball sizesThe lead cools and you have a musket ball.  Musket balls were made in several sizes for different caliber muskets.

tin pots and bowlsThe tinsmith could make various household items for the soldiers to use, such as cooking pots, bowls, and canteens.

Tin is ideal to make items like drinking cups because it will not rust like one made from something like iron or steel.

This is a tin mold used for making candles along with a lantern made of tin to burn the candles in.

tin punchingThis is an example of tin punching.

tin punching with hammer and tailTin punching is using a hammer and nail to punch divots into a sheet of tin to create art.

Watch Video

tin punching shape of Fort Roberdeau


Become a tinsmith and try tin punching on your own. Download this template with instructions on how to make the shape of Fort Roberdeau on a piece of aluminum.


Next: Storehouse and Cabins