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Annealing brass to dead soft


#1

Hello

i have a piece of brass sheet (cu=60% zn=40%)=15cm x 8 cm x 4mm
thick.

it it possible to anneal it to get e a very soft malleable sheet.

what would be the annealling temp. in furnace, and is there any
trick to get it very very soft (kenching in water or alcool
methanol…)

thks by advance for every replies
nathalie


#2

Nathalie- The instructions are in the Ganoksin Archives.
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81y0

That said, 4 mm thick anything is gonna be a challenge to
manipulate.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#3

The simple answer is NO. Why? because its the wrong sort of brass
for working into a very soft state.

you need deep drawing brass, LEAD free as well. this at worst is
70/30, of 75/25 if you can find it. Am currently using this spec for
some buckle backs. Lovely rose gold colour. anneals v well, that till
dull red hot then quench in water. Pickle. and work.

Anyway 4mm isnt sheet, its plate!.

Dont waste your bench time on it unless your a fully equipped press
shop, that means big stuff etc 25 ton power crank presses etc.


#4

Quenching any red hot metal in alcohol or methanol would I think be a
very bad idea.


#5
Quenching any red hot metal in alcohol or methanol would I think
be a very bad idea. 

Red hot, yes. But I routinely quench nickel white golds in
methanol— at BLACK heat. Even some yellow golds.

Andy Cooperman, Metalsmith


#6
Quenching any red hot metal in alcohol or methanol would I think
be a very bad idea. 

BNot red hot of course, wait as soon as it turns black.


#7

I would definitely recommend to anyone using methanol in the shop to
get rid of it. I am a chemist by day and jeweler by night and
weekend and am familiar with the dangers of methanol. Just look up a
safety data sheet on it. It is absorbed through the skin and has a
whole list of target organs that it attacks and you don’t want to
inhale the vapors either. I would recommend finding ethanol as a
replacement if you really need a denatured alcohol. It probably will
still list methanol, as mostof the denatured alcohols sold are
denatured with methanol, but it is in there at a much lower level
and is much safer to work with. Bernadette Johnson


#8
I would definitely recommend to anyone using methanol in the shop
to get rid of it. 

second that notion. Unless there is a very specific reason to use
methanol, substituting with ethanol should cause no problems at all.

In terms of quenching in alcohol… presuming one manages the
resulting fire - I have to ask - why? is there an advantage I’m not
understanding - c. f. water or oil.


#9
In terms of quenching in alcohol.... presuming one manages the
resulting fire 

You don’t generally ignite the alcohol. In many years during which I
occasionally use an alcohol quench, I can recall only once when the
alcohol lit.

The reason is that the metal enters the liquid quickly, and after
that, while the metal may be hot enough to ignite the alcohol at the
metal surface, there’s no oxygen there, only the alcohol vapor layer.
No oxygen, no fire. And if by chance you do light the alcohol by
mistake, the only caution is don’t drop the container by accident.
Generally you’re doing this with the alcohol in a small container
(glass, not plastic). If the alcohol should catch fire, just drop
the lid on the top and it goes out.

- I have to ask - why? is there an advantage I'm not understanding
- c. f. water or oil. 

You’d use an alcohol quench for much the same reason you’d choose a
water or oil quench. A different rate of cooling. With alcohol, when
the hot metal enters, it instantly forms an alcohol vapor layer
around it, and cooling is the rate at which heat is transferred via
that vapor layer. that layer persists longer than the similar layer
with an oil or water quench, so the overall rate of cooling with an
alcohol quench is slower, and thus causes less thermal shock to the
metal. Some of the metals we’d like to quench after annealing in
order to get maximum softness, ie red/rose golds and some white
golds, are “hot short” enough that if they quench too quickly from
too hot a temp, they can crack. Alcohol provides a gentler, slower
quench which won’t cause cracking, yet is still fast enough to not
let the metal cool slowly. It’s by a significant margin the best way
to quench rose and red golds in particular, which not only need the
quench for maximum softness, but which can become brittle and hard if
not quenched, but can crack if quenched too quickly. A number of
nickel white golds respond best to an alcohol quench too.

Let the metal cool enough so it’s no longer glowing (meaning down
around 900F or less), but not much cooler than that. Then drop the
metal quickly into the alcohol so it’s totally immersed. That avoids
any ignition of the alcohol. Then wait till you hear it actually
quench. That can take a surprising amount of time, though usually
more like five or ten seconds.

I don’t use a seperate jar of alcohol for this. I already have a jar
of alcohol and boric acid powder on the bench, so when I need to use
an alcohol quench, I quench in that same jar. The boric acid has no
discernable effect other than meaning I need to rinse the piece off
after quenching.

There are two other methods of quenching (meaning simply to cool the
hot metal quickly) that can be useful. I find them real problem
solvers when I’m working with rose or red gold jewelry that already
have stones set. Obviously, while diamonds can take the heat of
soldering, they usually don’t much like quenching.

with rose or red gold jewelry that already have stones set.
Obviously, while diamonds can take the heat of soldering, they
usually don’t much like quenching.

Two ways to cool the rose/red gold quickly enough to avoid hardening
or cracking is with either a blast of compressed air or a blast from
a reasonable distance with the steam jet of your steam cleaner. Both
can cool the metal quickly without damaging your diamonds, cooling
the metal about as fast as your torch flame heated it up in the first
place, yet without quite the shock of a sudden quench.

Peter Rowe


#10
In terms of quenching in alcohol.... presuming one manages the
resulting fire 

You don’t generally ignite the alcohol. In many years during which I
occasionally use an alcohol quench, I can recall only once when the
alcohol lit.

The reason is that the metal enters the liquid quickly, and after
that, while the metal may be hot enough to ignite the alcohol at the
metal surface, there’s no oxygen there, only the alcohol vapor layer.
No oxygen, no fire. And if by chance you do light the alcohol by
mistake, the only caution is don’t drop the container by accident.
Generally you’re doing this with the alcohol in a small container
(glass, not plastic). If the alcohol should catch fire, just drop
the lid on the top and it goes out.

- I have to ask - why? is there an advantage I'm not understanding
- c. f. water or oil. 

You’d use an alcohol quench for much the same reason you’d choose a
water or oil quench. A different rate of cooling. With alcohol, when
the hot metal enters, it instantly forms an alcohol vapor layer
around it, and cooling is the rate at which heat is transferred via
that vapor layer. that layer persists longer than the similar layer
with an oil or water quench, so the overall rate of cooling with an
alcohol quench is slower, and thus causes less thermal shock to the
metal. Some of the metals we’d like to quench after annealing in
order to get maximum softness, ie red/rose golds and some white
golds, are “hot short” enough that if they quench too quickly from
too hot a temp, they can crack. Alcohol provides a gentler, slower
quench which won’t cause cracking, yet is still fast enough to not
let the metal cool slowly. It’s by a significant margin the best way
to quench rose and red golds in particular, which not only need the
quench for maximum softness, but which can become brittle and hard if
not quenched, but can crack if quenched too quickly. A number of
nickel white golds respond best to an alcohol quench too.

Let the metal cool enough so it’s no longer glowing (meaning down
around 900F or less), but not much cooler than that. Then drop the
metal quickly into the alcohol so it’s totally immersed. That avoids
any ignition of the alcohol. Then wait till you hear it actually
quench. That can take a surprising amount of time, though usually
more like five or ten seconds.

I don’t use a seperate jar of alcohol for this. I already have a jar
of alcohol and boric acid powder on the bench, so when I need to use
an alcohol quench, I quench in that same jar. The boric acid has no
discernable effect other than meaning I need to rinse the piece off
after quenching.

There are two other methods of quenching (meaning simply to cool the
hot metal quickly) that can be useful. I find them real problem
solvers when I’m working with rose or red gold jewelry that already
have stones set. Obviously, while diamonds can take the heat of
soldering, they usually don’t much like quenching.

Two ways to cool the rose/red gold quickly enough to avoid hardening
or cracking is with either a blast of compressed air or a blast from
a reasonable distance with the steam jet of your steam cleaner. Both
can cool the metal quickly without damaging your diamonds, cooling
the metal about as fast as your torch flame heated it up in the first
place, yet without quite the shock of a sudden quench.

Peter Rowe


#11
You don't generally ignite the alcohol. In many years during which
I occasionally use an alcohol quench, I can recall only once when
the alcohol lit. 
The reason is that the metal enters the liquid quickly, and after
that, while the metal may be hot enough to ignite the alcohol at
the metal surface, there's no oxygen there, only the alcohol vapor
layer. 
No oxygen, no fire. And if by chance you do light the alcohol by
mistake, the only caution is don't drop the container by accident. 
Generally you're doing this with the alcohol in a small container
(glass, not plastic). If the alcohol should catch fire, just drop
the lid on the top and it goes out. 

You know, the quality of Peter’s reply to this question is
excellent.

And it got me wondering whether there isn’t a way of having all the
important and often asked questions and answers that have been asked
on Orchid over the years, correlated into book and PDF form.

Chapters with subjects like anealling, pickling, melting etc

I would certainly buy a copy.

Funds to Ganoksin and all that.

Peter and James’ answers alone, from when Ganoksin started, would
fill a book of some serious interest to many, I think.

meevis.com


#12

Hello Hans,

This sounds like a project for a grad student :wink: My habit has been
to savesuch learned answers and offered tips in an email folder.
Unfortunately there is no organization to the info. And yes, Peter’s
response was already in that folder. Thanks Peter. You even answered
my immediate question after you explained the reason behind an
alcohol quench. why not use the alcohol and boric acid jar? Answer:
yes, you can.

BTW, Hans, you have also given some very useful and
those emails appear in my folder of 'Jewelry Techniques and Tips".

Judy in Kansas, where tomatoes are beginning to ripen, and the last
two dayshave been absobloomingitly lovely. Have left the windows
open to enjoy the weather.


#13

from Hans

And it got me wondering whether there isn't a way of having all
the important and often asked questions and answers that have been
asked on Orchid over the years, correlated into book and PDF form.
Chapters with subjects like anealling, pickling, melting etc I
would certainly buy a copy. Funds to Ganoksin and all that. Peter
and James' answers alone, from when Ganoksin started, would fill a
book of some serious interest to many, I think.

Fabulous idea!


#14

Thanks for the excellent and comprehensive answer - vis it’s all
about cooling rate. I’d especially not considered the impact of
quenching on stones…

second the notion of the collected best answers - FAQ? (Fabulous
Answers to Questions)


#15

Peter

Thankyou for this very detailed reply. It is very timely for me

I need to resolder an diamond set halo (w/ 1.5 ct emerald cut dia)
that is 14k pink to 14kw shank for the 2nd time. Worried about pink
gold getting brittle. So cut halo from shank instead of heating to
unsolder and will use one of your suggested methods for cooling
(steamer).

Regards
Franz


#16

There is absolutely no need to quench brass when annealing. I am
going to say it again. There is absolutely no need for quenching
brass when annealing. And one more time, there is absolutely no need
to quench brass when annealing.

Red Brass, Yellow Brass, Cartridge Brass, Commercial Bronze
(actually a brass), NuGold, Gilding Metal etc are not heat
treatable, That means you will not get any softer or harder metal
once it has been heated to a proper annealing temperature by rapid
or slow cooling. You will get the same softness if you let it cool
on the fire brick as if you quench in water.

So cool it however you want.


#17

You will get the same softness if you let it cool on the fire brick
as if you quench in water.

I prefer to quench brass in water as I do not need to wait wait the
metal to be cold enough to work with.

best
nathalie


#18

Scale sometimes shatters off when you quench and IF it falls off the
limited area that you happen to be working on, it might save you
pickle time.

Gene