Unit 3 Sidegate Works
Finedon Road

07949 821518

Facebook Copperelf

Google Maps
Copperware and Blacksmithing



John Wills, the Copper Elf, spent too many years sat at a desk writing computer software. There was a need in him to return to traditional rural trades and skills and he started to work one day a week laying hedges, managing an orchard and mowing a meadow (seasonally of course).

The real change in direction happened when he met the Iron Dwarf who invited him to have a go with a forge and hot steel; a calling was found. A few months later John met up with a master Irish tinker and learnt the art of traditional copper seamed buckets and vessels, the Elf was born. At this time John turned off the computer and picked up the hammers. Over the following years the Copper Elf researched historic copper products whilst continuing to make the accompanying ferrous components and is now specialist in historic domestic copperware.

September 2022 the John attended a master class in traditional tinsmithing lead by master tinsmith Karl Schmidt from Dakota Tinworks, USA. This course was hosted at the Museum of Making in Derby, England. It was provided by the Heritage Crafts Association, of which John is a proud member, and the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. After completing this course the Copper Elf has added traditional handmade tinplate products to his product range.


All Copper Elf products are inspired by artefacts seen visiting museums, churches and castles across UK and Europe or in archaeological reports and resources. These items come from a time before the "perfection" of machine production, before regularly shaped rolled bars and sheets; they are "Perfectly Imperfect".

Due to the nature of hand made products no two pieces will be identical, as with the originals they are based on. The Copper Elf's products are not those for the king or cathedral but those for the average man, the merchant or parish church and care has been taken to replicate the look of the original products that still survive intact.