Not Martha

seeking a tinsmith, I think

I would like to have a specific baking form made out of metal. I need a tinsmith, that’s what it’s called, right? The shape I need is fairly simply but I do not possess the know how or the tools to make what I want. And there is a band called Tinsmith so you can only guess how well my Google searches are going. So, does anybody know a good tinsmith? Preferably in Seattle but if somebody farther away is willing to work with my amateur ideas from afar I’m game. Any tips or guidelines on getting something made out of metal? This is entirely new territory for me so I’m not sure if I’m even asking the right questions. Anybody?

· comments [51] · 01-13-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

51 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kindra goehler // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Could it be made from ceramic?

  • 2 chez shoes // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Try looking for metalworking, metal shop, or metal fabrication instead. I suspect this is going to be a costly endeavor – years ago my vintage-car-restoring former roommate used to get specific things made at metal shops. His solution? It costs about the same to make one or many, so make many and sell the ones you don’t need.

    I’ll be curious to see how this goes – please post follow-ups!

  • 3 Dru // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Have you tried listing your desires on etsy, they have lots of artisans that do custom orders.

  • 4 Robin // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    You may need something more durable than this but check out this article on make-your-own with foil.

  • 5 tulip // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I second Dru’s recommendation. There are a lot of metal workers on etsy. :)

  • 6 sam // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    here’s one site. if you search ‘custom shape baking pan’ you should get other options.

  • 7 judith // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:54 pm

  • 8 Stacy // Jan 13, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Try Googling “custom cake pan” or “custom cake mold” and try those. I would post more specific links from those searches, but you know what style of pan you want. =)

  • 9 Sheri // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    You might do well with a Yelp search. If you search on Yelp, you’re less apt to get bands as a result.

  • 10 nia // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    What shape are you looking for? You might have luck looking for a sheet metal shop.

  • 11 Emily // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm Here’s a link with some interesting leads… alot of custom cookie cutters, but who knows with a few inquiries maybe somethin will turn up useful to you.

  • 12 megan // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    This is all excellent information, thank you so much.

    I tried making what I want out of foil, and heavy foil, and by cutting apart a foil cookie sheet and all I got for my trouble was, sadly, something too unstable to use and a seriously deep cut on my index finger (my typing finger!).

  • 13 paola // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I am SO intrigued…

  • 14 Tina Smith // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Ok…so I misspell my name ALL the time. So, when you wrote Tinsmith, I read TinaSmith, and thought why are you looking for a tina smith….

    anyhoo….thought it was funny. maybe it’s not.

    Have a good day.
    Tina Smith
    (not a tinsmith)

  • 15 Tina Smith // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Why don’t you contact a local high school. See if one of the kids might like a project for metal shop.

  • 16 lynne // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I think you may need a tool and die maker. sort of an advanced machinist. At least it might narrow your search!

  • 17 marnie // Jan 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Have you tried a local high school with a sheet metal shop? Someone just suggested the same thing to someone with a custom woodworking quest in a community I follow. She said she gets her local high school to do this all the time, as the more advanced kids in the shop are always looking for challenging projects.

  • 18 ilse // Jan 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    if it is something you could make a mold of easily, you could probably DIY with silicone?

    such as….

  • 19 Katie M. // Jan 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I’m really intrigued as to what you want exactly. What you want will determine your answer. Do you want a certain sized pan? Or do you want a decorative cake pan type thing? Side note- a tinsmith is someone who (used to) make tin cans by hand. They’re virtually nonexistent nowadays.

  • 20 Cindy // Jan 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Check out this website. He is just starting out making his own metal sculptures. He is very talented and loves the challenge of making something different. I am a little biased. He is my son.

  • 21 Julie // Jan 13, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I agree with the local high school bit…. I took industrial arts in high school and they have all kind of bendy cutty sodery equipment for metal. We made our own cookie cutters too.

  • 22 courtney // Jan 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    There are a few metal fabrication shops here in Ballard that come to mind but the names escape me (one on Ballard Ave and one off of Leary across from that Mr.J’s mini mart). What about asking the owner of Home Cake up in Maple Leaf (522-4300)..she is really in the know about anything to do with baking, and seems to know lots of people who know people if you know what I mean. Good luck!

  • 23 Nic // Jan 14, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Check out the local colleges’ art departments (specifically sculpting and metalworking/jewelery making). My metals prof used to do freelance stuff all the time. Also, it’s likely that if they can’t help you they’ll have a good idea of someone who can.

  • 24 Carrie // Jan 14, 2009 at 6:02 am

    If you’re looking for a custom cookie cutter, this place used to do custom shapes. They also used to do a weekly newsletter with recipes, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on there.

  • 25 MKH // Jan 14, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Try looking for “machine shop” they can do some metal fabrication. Make sure that if they use any solder that it is suitable for food use.

    Don’t know if they do custom work or what they charge:

  • 26 Colleen // Jan 14, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I’m getting the idea you’re looking for more of a pan or mold but Foose Cookie Cutters offers a kit to make your own cookie cutters, see
    I’m also very interested to hear how this turns out! Keep us posted!

  • 27 m. // Jan 14, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Try Ballard Sheet Metal. They do custom fabrication and will give you a bid on your project. If they can’t do it, they will know where to send you.

  • 28 Kelly Roberson // Jan 14, 2009 at 7:16 am

    i agree on the metal shop. my husband is an architect and we do things for our house all the time and actually they are quite inexpensive, relative to what we can find in stores. good luck.

  • 29 Matt from Urban Pug // Jan 14, 2009 at 7:28 am

    You might look for a local “machine shop.” I have a friend that gets custom computer cases “machined” to fit into his server rack.

    I think he provides them with a 3d model, and they will cut the metal the way he wants.

  • 30 kelly // Jan 14, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I had a tinsmith make me a cookie cutter I designed once. I’m from NY. The guy that did it was the “official” tinsmith at The Genesee Country Museum Maybe email them to find him name and contact info…I don’t remember what it was.

  • 31 Shannon // Jan 14, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I headed over here to delurk and suggest that you look for a machine shop, but it seems that everyone else has you covered with both a good selection of search terms and some specific suggestions. However, I might as well say Hi anyway, and mention that I am quite curious about the custom baking pan and its purpose, and looking forward to hearing more.

  • 32 Seanna Lea // Jan 14, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I was going to suggest etsy as well, but no one is currently making these items on Etsy (jewelry and polymer canes for baking, yes). However, there is a shop called tinworks ( on Etsy that makes cookie cutters and the like. You might try him for custom items.

  • 33 Karen // Jan 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

    There is a company in seattle called Alaskan Copper that might be able to do a custom one. I will check for you

  • 34 Val Ann C // Jan 14, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Foose Tinsmithing Co.
    Most of my cookie cutters are from them. Excellent craftsmenship.

  • 35 heidi // Jan 14, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Teeters Metal Fab is in Maple Leaf (9422 Roosevelt Way NE) and does custom work. I wonder if they’d be able to help?

  • 36 Vanessa // Jan 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    You might want to contact Alaska Copper & Metal down in SODO? We got our kitchen countertop fashioned out of stainless steel from them. They do good work.

  • 37 peggy // Jan 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Not sure what shape you have in mind, but, recently my husband made cookie cutters from drawings my 5 year old drew. He simply bought a sheet of tin from the hardware store (I think it was about the size of a legal piece of paper) and then bent it into the shape he wanted. He used duct tape to get the pieces together, because they were for cutting dough, but you could probably find something heat resistant for the edges if you were going to cook it on top of a baking sheet. It would be cheaper than getting a tinsmith, and maybe more fun? They held up well, and have been through the dishwasher, even. Good luck.

  • 38 peggy // Jan 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    oops, p.s. I meant to say this important part of the process — he cut the tin into strips about 2″ wide, and then used an SOS pad to scuff the edges smooth…Then he did the bending part.

  • 39 megan // Jan 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you to everybody. I’m going to start with the sheet metal places here in Seattle and see what they can do. What I have in mind, which I won’t revel until I know it can or cannot be done, is far larger than a cookie cutter. But, I’m excited to know making one’s own cookie cutters are fairly easy.

  • 40 Reese // Jan 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I’d also recommend Etsy, but I’d go to the Alchemy section. It’s an incredible resource.

    You put up an ad saying what you’re looking for, and then artists bid on the job.

    It’s way easier than trying to find an individual shop owner and seeing if they make custom items.

  • 41 Bri // Jan 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    If you find you need to make a 3D model for you to get what you want, let me know. Most of the tinsmith/artist types won’t want or need it, but if you have a 3D model it makes most machinist/sheet metal shops happy.

    If it’s not TOO complicated, I can probably get the model done relatively quickly (working on it in the evenings). You’ve got my email address…


  • 42 Tara // Jan 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    someone else said it but i second the metal fabrication places in ballard on ballard ave/leary

  • 43 susan // Jan 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    what about silicone? Maybe you could make what you want from a couple of different shapes.

  • 44 ansley // Jan 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I used to teach tinsmithing classes. I learned in Mexico. There are tinsmiths in Colonial Williamsburg and in Santa Fe, NM. Tin is probably not the best material for a large baking form or dish though. Copper would probably be better because it is malleable can be hammered and formed into shapes without becoming brittle. Those tiny tin tart baking cups you see at the kitchen store have been die struck.

  • 45 Nic // Jan 15, 2009 at 7:42 am

    No idea what shape you want, but have you seen this?

  • 46 Sarah // Jan 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I found this website that is a coppersmith/tinsmith:

    Located in Michigan (my end of the world – sorry!) But it looks like they can make just about anything! Let me know how it goes!


  • 47 Abby // Jan 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Try writing to a yahoo group called Seattle_Metalheads: Someone in that group will probably help her out with information, or will take on the job.

  • 48 tasterspoon // Jan 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I also agree with checking with a school. My bf took Machine Shop in college for his engineering degree and it seems like they were always looking for projects. The equipment is kind of wild to walk around, too. A FORGE?? Yikes!

    I also agree with making sure the materials are food-grade.

  • 49 Faith // Jan 21, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I think it would be ideal to have the form made out of clay. There probably is a really good potter in your area that can either throw or hand build the form. It doesn’t matter if it’s stoneware or earthenware- both are fine for baking dishes.
    I am a potter myself (living in Germany) and we make all sorts of baking forms- muffin forms, even a ceramic cake springform! The benefits of baking in clay is that there’s no burned sides from the form that come from metal or glass forms. You grease/[paper the form like normally and bake! And after it comes out of the oven NOT to put it on a colder surface- like a tiled counter. Use a trivit or place it on wood. Good luck with your search!

  • 50 brooke butler // Apr 5, 2009 at 12:40 am

    i know an excellent tinsmith in pennsylannia. let me know if you’d like me to connect you.

  • 51 Gregory Enriquez // May 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Try Pratt fine arts center on south capitol hill. They have a full metal shop and you can even take classes for a couple hundred bucks that come with studio time to make your own molds with a fully stocked workshop complete with instructors.

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