Artina, has manufactured high-grade pewter articles for more than 25 years and is Austria's foremost pewter producer today and is internationally one of the largest. Now part of the Artina Group, SKS was founded in 1920.
SKS Pewter beer steins are handcrafted in traditional methods in the "sleepy" town of Kirchham at the foot of the well-known Traunstein-mountain, in the picturesque lake district.
Each beer stein design begins with a sketch. On the basis of this drawing the final decisions on form and motive are made.
For the next step the motive is modeled in a plastilin cast (plaster resin material)n. After that the engraving of the synthetic-casting is transferred to the steel-casting form.
The last casting-form (Kokille) is made out of high-grade steel and at least two parts. The relief scene is engraved as a negative. The process from drawing through to the completed stein usually takes a couple of weeks of highly creative craft work. You can imagine, the time and costs that are involved in this detailed processed to produce a high quality finished pewter stein! However, this work-intensive expert-craftsmanship produces a stein that will be used or displayed for decades.
Now the quality of the finished casting depends on the experience of the founder. He must know, how fast he has to pour depending on the specific form to achieve optimum filling and reach the smallest detail. On the other hand, he also knows, if or how fast to let the contents cool.
Once the casting form is ready for the casting, it is heated to prevent the fluid metal from stiffening. The fluid metal is melted in a crucible and after careful stirring it is poured into the form.
After the casting piece is stiffened in the form, the form is opened and the piece is taken out. The raw casting is finished.
The press casting-procedure is one of the most interesting new developments when pouring pewter articles.
In this procedure the founder puts the pewter blocks in a crucible melting-oven, that is built onto the press casting machine. As soon as the pewter molten has reached a temperature of about 280 C, the raw material is ready for pouring. The form parts that are built into the machine are closed into one another. After that, the warmed pewter is pressed into the form using high pressure. After a short cooling time, that is quickened by water cooling, the form opens and the casting-piece is removed.
The process of press casting is great economical advantage, and produces a fine detailed reproduction of the original engraving.
After the pouring, the casting-blank goes to the Lathing room. There the bur-points are polished off to a perfect and clean surface. For this the lathe operator uses a copy-lathe machine or the most modern CNC-lathe. After this, the casting piece gets its finished weight and look.
Only after polishing , can the complicated relief details be truly appreciated. With brushes, cloth discs, scotch and fluid polishing methods a unique masterpiece is made.