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Thread: Disappointing Thermette!

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Disappointing Thermette!

    Well, it arrived today to my great excitement. I signed the Parcelforce electronic doodah and made my way round the back of the house. Everything else was now hold - I was going to play with my new toy! I eagerly slit the package open and plucked the thermette from within. All that copper!

    But what is this printed on the box, 'Made in China' - I thought these were made in New Zealand? Now I have nothing whatsoever against China or its people (my ASUS laptop which won a test of similar machines in Computer Shopper is made there and I love it), but I have to say it made me suspicious, after all I was under the impression these were made in NZ.

    Looking over it and trying to keep an open mind, my fears were realized - the build quality is indeed poor compared to my unfortunate Eydon Storm Kettle. The handles are flimsy and the soldering that attaches them to the main body is scraggy, lumpy and uneven. The handles are supposed to be 'stay cool' and they may well be but even with my medium sized hand, the kettle body touches my knuckles all too easily.

    There is no bottom to the fire bowl and it, along with the other accessories, is made from very thin metal which I do not feel will stand up to the rigours of camping in the long term. In addition the fire bowl is made of galvanized steel. This, I am told by various forum sources, gives off poisonous fumes when burned/heated.

    The seam running up the inside of the chimney is uneven and near the bottom there is clear evidence of poor soldering creating a small lump that results in the kettle not sitting flush on the fire bowl. Having said that, this could easily be filed down - I just don't expect to have to do this for something new.

    This post, it must be said, cannot constitute a review as I have not and will not be using it - it's going back first opportunity. These are my inital impressions and compared to the excellent build quality of the storm kettle it falls way short. There are many excellent design features in the Thermette which attracted me to it such as stay cool handles which allow one-handed pouring unlike its rivals, the cooking ring which sits atop the fire bowl or kettle and provides an excellent cooking platform and of course the copper (associated health benefits as well as looks). Unfortunately, in my opinion, they are poorly excuted. If only the same care, attention and eye for manufacture went into these that have clearly been used producing the Storm, it could be an excellent piece of kit.

    Back to the drawing board!

    Graeme

    P.S. I own a British-made conventional copper stove-top kettle which is at least 150 years old and has been in our family ever since (it belonged to the grandmother of my grandfather!) Everything about it says solid and boy has it been abused. The copper is far thicker and takes a beautiful shine even after all these years. I should also point out that I have nothing whatsoever to do with the Eydon Storm Kettle company apart from having been a customer.
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  2. #2
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    Default

    Gutted!

    Glad to hear you are sending it back. I hope (and kinda assume) you will be sending emails to both the US and NZ companies outlining your problems, concerns and dissapointment.

    Joel

    P.S. I reckon they've now gone and lost themselvs a lot of custome considering the interest that has been generated on this board.
    Last edited by joel; 19th-February-2008 at 11:59 AM. Reason: P.S.

  3. #3
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    Default

    This is so dissapointing to hear.

    I too liked the idea of a copper kettle and something rugged and well made, and maybe a cut above the rest. The Thermette appeared to fulfil this, it looked great and the reports of water boiling times were excellent. Such a huge pity that it doesn't live up to the sales pitch.

    I wonder if they used leaded solder??

    I am afraid that they have lost me as a potential customer.

    Graham

  4. #4

    Default

    Rotten luck Graeme, it looked so good on the web site.Hope you find a replacement for you know when
    Regards Retro


  5. Default Thermette

    I too was attracted to the design details of the Thermette, and am extremely disappointed to learn of shoddy quality. Thermette North America, Inc., doesn't answer their phone or phone back. They don't seem to really exist. How many products got started with excellent quality, then switched manufacturing to China where they botch it. I tried to reach Thermette in New Zealand, but they don't even list a number.

    Any recommendations for a good quality wood-fired kettle? Most have serious design flaws, like handles that sit above the chimney when you pick them up, or fire bottoms that are connected so you pour out the coals with the water. Duh!!!

    DON'T BUY A THERMETTE!!!

  6. #6
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    Smile

    See here Michael: http://www.eydonkettle.com/

    He also offers SotP Members a discount. See here: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=8971

    These are the just the job, you won't find better.

    Graeme

    P.S. no links with the man or his company - just a satisfied customer.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 20th-November-2008 at 06:50 PM. Reason: take out discount percentage
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  7. #7

    Default

    In North America (Us and Canada you can get the Kelly Kettle from Ogeechee Outdoors I got mine from there and use it regularly. I really like this style of kettle. I like that I dont have to carry stinky fuel with me. I really do not like having that rainbow sheen on the water in the bottom of my canoe, nor the smell on my hands from using the gas/kero fueled stoves like the coleman or svea even. Although of the gasoling/kero I prefer the optimus 8r and svea 123 kits.

  8. #8

    Default Thermette - disappointing

    I'm searching for a device like the Thermette, but not of aluminium. Copper is durable, depending how well it's made, and if seamed right, will not leach any rubbish from the 'joining' substance. I found the inside surface of the water jacket of my new Kelly Kettle tacky with black crud called sealant, which, when wiped left a black stain on a clean tissue or rag, even after many boils to clean it out.

    So your Thermette was made in [China!!] and its workmanship was sub-standard... If I bought something from a country known for good standards, and paid a high price for it, only to discover it was not from there and it was shoddily made, I'd be upset. This is an increasing frustration for consumers when everything goes off shore. In the case of a device used for conditioning water that will be consumed, there should be adequate health standards to ensure nothing is leached into the water.

    So...I wish to know if there is a device similar to the Thermette, that is "safe(!)", well made of copper or ungalvalnized stainless steel.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Jacques,

    I'm sorry to advise that I do not know of a similar device made in copper or stainless. Apart from the weight issues, I always thought that someone out there could do well by making a stainless steel version.

    Let me know if you find something,
    Graeme
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  10. #10
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    Default

    Graeme, sorry to hear that it didn't live up to your expectations. But a big thanks for sharing this info with us. It's good to read poor reviews as well as good ones (forewarned is forearmed).

    As someone else has already said, go with the original Kelly Kettle and you won't fall far wrong.

    Good luck
    Keltoi and associates - The sick and the wrong!

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Kite View Post
    P.S. I own a British-made conventional copper stove-top kettle which is at least 150 years old and has been in our family ever since (it belonged to the grandmother of my grandfather!) Everything about it says solid and boy has it been abused. The copper is far thicker and takes a beautiful shine even after all these years. I should also point out that I have nothing whatsoever to do with the Eydon Storm Kettle company apart from having been a customer.
    I too now own my grandmother's copper kettle & copper coffee pot (amongst other things), both of which bare the scars of much use and abuse. I doubt we're alone!!
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  12. #12
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    Default

    Are they being produced in China now then or have you been sold a duff ? I`ve always admired them and would prefer one over my kelly so thanks for the heads up.
    Rich




  13. #13

    Default ...Thermette...

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Kite View Post
    Jacques,

    I'm sorry to advise that I do not know of a similar device made in copper or stainless. Apart from the weight issues, I always thought that someone out there could do well by making a stainless steel version.

    Let me know if you find something,
    Graeme
    Thanks.

    Been to a lot 'kettle' sites: Eydon, Kelly, Thermette, Aussie Dingo Bush Kettle (!), Eco-Billy, and others with equally unusual names. Most are alum. which I'm not keen on. There's almost no selection here in Eastern Ontario. I like the concept of the 'twig fuel' kettle, as it eliminates carrying a cooker AND meths, gas, kero etc. and works well in wind. Is your Eydon a small or larger model? Is it the same as a Kelly or even more robust? Is it alum.? Did you notice any thin, black-ish oily 'sealant' on the inside surface of the water jacket?
    Last edited by Jacques Remi; 21st-December-2008 at 01:31 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default thermette copper kettles

    Hi to all, further remarks on the Thermette kettles I would make are,the fact that it is copper is a health bonus strait off,because I am sure many members will have heard in the past about the Arab desert travellers with their camels carried water in goat skin bladders, and always had copper coins inside to keep water free from bugs, say no more. I have sent an e-mail to Thermette about crap kettle delivered to a member,and the lost trade off this site alone.asking also, can we buy them built other than China.will post any possible reply. be safe.bigH.

  15. #15

    Default

    Thermettes are sold here in NZ under the Campmaster Brand both in tin and copper. Campmaster is a Brand owned by Amalgamated Hardware Merchants (AHM) based in Auckland.... All of the MODERN Thermettes are made in China...

    To get a Kiwi Made one you could try Trademe a NZ version of Ebay.

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Sports/Camp...-195803156.htm

    But you may have difficulties with Trademe's policy of only allowing bids from either NZ or Aussie...

    I don't believe anyone is making a Kiwi made Thermette... I've seen a few in use and they look pretty rough when covered in soot... one was homemade out of an old hot water cylinder...

    Hope this helps

    Cheers

    John
    Last edited by johnsnz; 3rd-January-2009 at 04:12 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default NZ Thermette kettles

    Hi, The above is the reply I recieved regarding the genuine NZ Thermette Kettle, maybe get one on their version of ebay, to see the now sold model look on (complete outdoors nz) they have both tin and copper models there. must be the chines ones.TIN NZ$130 COPPER NZ$230 (EXCHANGE RATE GBP = 2.45 NZ$ that side handle has to be the way to go, regarding safety. be safe. bigH.
    Last edited by bigH; 3rd-January-2009 at 10:57 AM. Reason: info correction

  17. #17
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    Default kettles

    Hi All, As our administrator has said in the gear section I have been in touch with the Kelly Kettle people and asked about Stainless Steel Kelly Kettles. They give a prompt reply and informed me they are in the proccess of making and testing a S/S version in 2 sizes. And would be available in 2/3 months. I voiced members concerns regarding the danger of bucket handles over flame chimnys. good strong side handles being a good idea. chains and corks, even the whistle idea, why not both? or a choice? even mentioned a pouring lip. Myself, I am not to concered about the weight, the canoe will take the strain. I realy can't see there being much difference in the alloy one anyway,they have been made out of alloy in the first place simply because it's easier working and making them in alloy. At last we seem to be getting it made right. I also did mention that the Kettles are a major talking point on the SOTP site, so there should be reasonable interest in them. be safe.bigH.

  18. #18

    Default

    I have never used one of these kettles, but from the specs., I would be concerned over the weight and size of these things added to my gear. Do you guys not portage very much, or travel over rough terrain? Or, maybe you're WAY stronger than me... dunno...

    This is the kit I use - my Whisperlite stove even fits inside as well. It's really tiny, and weighs next-to-nothing - I really like it.




    I gather some of you are big kettle-fans, and I was wondering if you could tell me the advantages which might offset the weight-and-bulk issues?

    Thanks.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up

    Free fuel . And you don't have to carry it.....and you don't run out. MSR's and the like are very good, though. A certain Mr Kelly makes grand pizzas with his and scary but tasty cakes too! Oh aye, that's 'cos he uses one of those Outback Oven thingies with his MSR.
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  20. #20

    Default

    I love Kelly Kettles. I own the 1.75l with cookset from Lakeland Bushcraft and haven't used anythig else since.
    Admittedly being alu means it takes a bashing, but a top kettle all the same.

    Will be good to see what the Stainless ones are like.

  21. #21

    Default

    I get the free fuel part, but I'm curious about specs. - what are the dimensions of that 1.75 L. one you mentioned, and what does it, and the cookware part, weigh?

    Thanks.

  22. #22
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    Default Kettles

    Too bad about your China-made Thermette. I have a number of things made in China, some good, made to the specifications of originals, and some not so good. Most of the Marble's cutlery products are made there, but the quality of their items I own seem to on a par with the original US made stuff. Marble's is an old time company dating to the 1800's, and noted for excellent knives and hand axes.

    I may have been the first person in North Carolina to own a Kelly Kettle, sent from England before a US dealer in Montana started carrying them. I absolutely love it and got the idea from watching a copy of "A Passion For Angling" BBC tv show I have. It has become a standing part of my fishing kit.
    BE WHO YOU ARE: Those who matter don't mind; and those who mind, don't matter.

  23. #23

    Default

    The 1.75l is 165mm diameter x 245mm tall, handle peaks out approx. 10mm. I've replaced the bail arm with a chain but i'm considering it putting it back on. With the cookset of bowl, supports and grill it weighs in 1.5lb all in. The cookset fits into the firebowl and you can store teabags, sugar etc in there aswell.
    Mine fits into a PLCE Side pouch quite easily and it's good for 3-4 mugs.

    I'm fussy about weight, hence buying the middle of the 3 sizes and i happily carry it with me on hikes.

  24. #24

    Default

    Thanks for that info. The set I use is a bit smaller (140mm height and 140mm diameter) and lighter (5oog.), but if you add in the stove & fuel weight, I think it comes out just about the same. Still, I think I'll stick with my ol' Whisperlite - don't wanna be lookin' for dry fuel in a dusk-downpour, especially in bear country....

  25. #25

    Default

    Your welcome. I always carry tinder and burn wood with my kelly to save me searching for some at night. I guess in a canoe it would be easier to sling a small bag in a dry bag than carry in a bergen like i do at the moment - until i get a canoe

  26. #26

    Default re thermettes

    hi ,
    ive seen the new chinese copper thermettes and i to am very disapointed , but there is a company in nz on trademe, that makes stainless steel thermettes but the smallest size they do is 6 litres.... i cant find out the cost as this guy has no current listings at the mo ,

    ok im not allowed to add a link till ive done two or more posts


    best wishes
    mary

  27. #27

    Default

    lol this is silly but im trying to add a link

  28. #28

  29. #29

    Default re stainless thermetts

    this is a link to the discription and pics of ss thermette...

    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30397

  30. #30
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    Default

    The issue with that site is that in order to be able to buy from it, you have to be in NZ!

    A while back, I came across a wood stove which I really liked, the Little Cracker, which is made in NZ, I was unable to register with the site {being in the UK} and it took a bit of detective work to find the contact details of the maker.

    Good site though.

  31. #31

    Default re ecobilly

    sorry , about trademe i feel guilty ....
    if this guy selling the big thermettes in nz puts some more listings on ill try and get some contact details from him , but it could be weeks away ...

    on a related note theres stainless thermettes made in austraila at this site, but i have never seen one or seen a reveiw,, they may be made in china too ???
    stainless 1.5 litre and 700mls removeable lid ... looks hopeless for pouring ???

    http://www.ecobilly.com/501.html
    Last edited by stormpebbles; 12th-February-2009 at 11:58 PM.

  32. #32

    Default re nz ss thermettes

    ok i have found an old listing of the stainless thermettes that are MADE in nz... with a phone number !!!!!
    they are

    Spiroloc Tubing
    phone>03-384 2184 (phone number is current as i rung them today)
    41 Barton St Woolston
    Christchurch New Zealand
    im not sure about these email addresses???
    spiroloc@paradise.net.nz and spiroloc@hotmail.com
    www.spiroloc.co.nz

    ok 10 litre ...$ 140 NZD
    6 litre .... $120
    they also do a 30 litre and a 50 litre
    Last edited by stormpebbles; 13th-February-2009 at 10:37 AM. Reason: adding more info

  33. #33

    Default also austrailian, dingo bush kettle

    if i needed 2 thermettes this would be my choice......



    spun aluminum 1.2 litre , looks great for pouring/ filling etc and very lightweight, excellent handle
    http://www.bushkettle.com.au/
    Last edited by stormpebbles; 13th-February-2009 at 10:48 AM.

  34. #34

    Default ned kettle, austrailian, copper

    looks great, excellent handles, these are "made to order" with its own serial number.. very very expensive $275 AUSD

    http://www.australiainsight.com.au/products.htm
    Last edited by stormpebbles; 13th-February-2009 at 10:36 AM. Reason: added more info

  35. #35

    Default

    Hello everyone! Obviously I'm new to this place, but signed up out of interest to this thread...

  36. #36

    Default

    Sorry about the flood, just trying to get my post count up so as to give you the real meat of my message...

  37. #37

    Default

    OK, here we go!

    I too became interested in the Thermette and am looking at buying one, or more. However, after reading this thread and a couple of other places I became really concerned that they were made in China. I called the folks from the thermette.com website, but only got voicemail so I left a message. They never returned my call after a week so I emailed them, asking some questions. They did end up replying to me really quickly, by the next day, and answered my questions.

    Yes, the 1/2 gallon thermettes they carry are made in China. They do have a few 2 and a half gallon thermettes that are made in New Zealand, but they come with a hefty price tag of $400! However, they did give me contact information to some people in Australia for New Zealand made thermettes! I quickly sent them an email and here was their reply:

    Thanks for your enq about the THERMETTE all in one kettle.The type I sell is the original made from top quality copper plate.They are made in New Zealand buy hand and with proper care will last a lifetime,unlike the cheap China model.I have had a copper THERMETTE for over 20 years still as good as the day I brought it.The best info is at www.thermette.com which is the US site. The one I sell is identical to that one shown although they don't sell it.
    I recently sent one to Canada (east coast) and it cost $215.00 Aust
    Delivery from here took 14 days

    Regards

    Gordon and Jan Dix
    +61427 098 590
    www.straddiecatering.com.au

    That is wonderful news! They are waiting for new stock to arrive from NZ but they will keep me informed. Looks like this may be a good source for NZ made copper thermettes. Total cost, including shipping, would be about $120 US dollars for these.

    I left their contact info in the text of the email above (but left out their email, so if you want that let me know) so you can get in touch with them yourself.

    Also, I just came across another site that might have the NZ made thermettes for sale: http://www.whatsonsale.co.nz/product/4468.aspx

    I just shot off an email to the retailer for more info, so will keep you informed on that source as well.
    Last edited by Zelph; 21st-February-2009 at 07:18 PM. Reason: reformat

  38. #38
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    Default And another thing

    To me the Thermette looks too tall and unstable.
    Even if it was well made it needs 3 pull out legs imo.

  39. #39

    Default bruce1gunn

    ive been using a thermette for yrs and ive never had any problems .. they only have a 6 inch diametre, easy to dig a flat spot with your heel , or shove a stone under one side if u are on rock....ive got one of the OLD genuine new zealand made copper thermettes (they are vintage now )but its a real beauty still with its original paint !!!!
    cheers
    mary

  40. #40

    Default

    Just an update on the copper thermette...

    So I still haven't heard back from the folks at straddiecatering. I did get in contact with the good folks at Caravan Camping and Marine through the last link I posted (contact info to follow)... and they do carry the New Zealand made copper thermettes. I went ahead and ordered one from them and it came in the other day. It is the same style as seen on the thermette site, but the construction is indeed of a much higher quality than what I've heard of the chinese made ones...

    I do have a few minor issues with it though - the first is the wire handles. This has been mentioned before and the issue is the same... though I'm sure they are quite sturdy enough to be used as handles it's not very comforting having thin wire handles... and it doesn't leave much room for getting a firm grip without being burned on the hot copper. Maybe I just need to learn how to hold it better... The next issue is with the trivet that sits on top for cooking... because it doesn't have a top, only sides, and it's diameter is the same (or fairly close) as the thermette then you need a fairly large sized pot/pan to use it. This is a minor issue and can easily be fixed if you put yourself to it... but I would have liked having a top already in place.

    Other than that however I am quite pleased with the copper thermette. The design is simple, intuitive, and effective. I was able to get 2.2 liters of cold tap water to boil in 8 minutes, 30 seconds using just a handful of dry wood and other debris - and I'm at a higher elevation. Simply amazing! Here is the contact info for CCM if anyone is interested in buying the New Zealand made thermette:
    Contact Details

    Caravan Camping & Marine
    188 Manchester St
    Corner Worcester & Manchester Streets
    Christchurch
    New Zealand
    Phone: 03 366 0726
    Email: ccmarine@clear.net.nz
    fax: 03 366 0721

    Oh, and I heartily endorse the stainless thermettes made by spiroloc and mentioned by stormpebbles above - it's been something of a pain trying to get ahold of them... but the quality and sheer usefulness of these things make them well worth the hassle and price. I just barely got mine in today and even though I haven't had a chance to fire it up I can see it being a great item for basecamp, scout camps, car camping, or for emergency situations when you need to boil lots of water... power is out and you need it for cooking, bathing, hygene, washing up, you name it. It is large though, make no mistake, you wouldn't want to be packing it around unless you had an easy way to transport it and it was going to be put to good use.

    Hope that helps. Cheers!

  41. #41
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    Default Thermettes

    I'm curious about something...other than appearance, or possibly price, what is the attraction for products other than the standard Kelly, or Storm Kettles? Both have excellent track records. My Kelly has been serving me well for many years, and even considering it's cost plus the shipping to the US from London, I have had no regrets from it's purchase.

    I did however, remove the rather tacky-looking galvanized handle and replace it with 1/8" solid brass welding wire. Looks much nicer.
    BE WHO YOU ARE: Those who matter don't mind; and those who mind, don't matter.

  42. #42

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bvandeuson View Post
    I'm curious about something...other than appearance, or possibly price, what is the attraction for products other than the standard Kelly, or Storm Kettles? Both have excellent track records. My Kelly has been serving me well for many years, and even considering it's cost plus the shipping to the US from London, I have had no regrets from it's purchase.

    I did however, remove the rather tacky-looking galvanized handle and replace it with 1/8" solid brass welding wire. Looks much nicer.
    Well, for me, the copper thermette held more appeal than say a kelly or storm kettle because of a few reasons:

    1) Larger capacity. I plan to use it not only for myself, but others as well. I want to be able to boil more water without refilling it all the time - the more water I can boil in a given time the better. This means I can have hot water not only for hot drinks, but for cooking food, personal hygene, and cleaning up afterwards.

    2) Size. It is a bit large and probably not ideal for backpacking, but it does appear to be about the same size as the largest kelly kettle, while having a greater (about double) water capacity.

    3) Copper. I just prefer copper over aluminum for many reasons... better heat distribution, better health benefits, and it just looks better... there are a few downsides though... copper is heavier, and more prone to corrosion than aluminum. A few trade-offs that I'm willing to make.

    4) Better design. Yes, the designs are very similar, but I like the simplicity of the thermette over the kelly kettle. The thermette has the handle on the side, so it can be used with one hand. The kelly has the handle on the top that swings over the chiminy, and a pull chain to pour the water out, so it requires 2 hands to use it. Also, on the thermette, the flat top would allow a cook system to be used more readily than on the KK which has a sloped top. I do however like that the KK has a self-contained fire pit, much better for leave no trace... but I think that can be easily improvised for the thermette.

    Different strokes for different folks. I'm not trying to convince anyone that one is better than the other. I'm glad that the Kelly Kettle has served you well these many years and hope it sees many more! For my forseeable needs and wants I chose the thermette over the KK and so far I'm not disappointed. It was a bit more pricey and challenging to buy the (New Zealand made) thermette than the Kelly Kettle though...

  43. #43

    Default stainless steel kelly kettle

    A stainless steel kk's soon, patrick from the kelly kettle company sent me the following email ,

    "We hope to have a Stainless Steel Kettle (3 pint / 1.75 ltr) available for
    the market in about 3 weeks time. Our website will be updated as soon as
    they are available."

  44. Default NZ Made Thermettes

    Hi all
    Yes I sell the Tin or Copper Thermettes that are made here in good old New Zealand.
    I have now sent 4 x over to the USA.
    Postage to the USA about NZ$45 - $55.00
    I can also supply the Spirolock style of Thermette.
    ZELPH posted a link to our watsonsale website where you can view our NZ Thermettes.
    This is a great paddling site. NZ is also a great place for paddling. I myself are looking at coming over to the USA next year for a hol which of course includes some paddling & fly fishing.

    Cheers for now
    JW

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