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George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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We love doing new things and when I read about the School of Hard Knocks at the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre in Penang, I knew this would be something we all would enjoy.  We were off to learn about the history of pewter production in Malaysia and hammer out our own pewter bowl.

We first toured the visitor centre and learned about the history of tin mining in Malaysia and early pewter production.  We also learned about the history of the money tree (yes, it really did exist).  We watched as molten pewter was poured into molds then was opened to reveal a small trinket/jewelry.  Then to demonstrate pewter’s versatility our guide quickly dropped the object back into the molten pewter to melt away back into molten pewter.

Did you know that 4,150 kg of pewter scraps and shavings can be melted down into 3,738 tea pots.  Now that’s recycling.

After our short 20 minute tour it was time to grab our hammers and have some fun.

We were each given a gift bag which included an apron.  We put on our aprons and were given a flat round sheet of pewter.  We then embossed our names into the metal, just as a pewter-smith would; then with our wooden mallets in hand we slowly began hammering away slowly transforming our flat disks into beautiful bowls.  Once we were finished we received a School of Hard Knocks graduation certificate.

We all had so much fun making our bowls, even though Len had a little trouble.  He was a little heavy on his hammering… he may have a little trouble eating ice cream out of his bowl.