Annealing thick bronze rail cap


I am a beginning silversmith and am somewhat familiar with basic
metalworking techniques. My fiancee is a blacksmith who works
primarily in steel, and she and her boss have a stair rail project
where the customer has requested a bronze rail cap be installed. The
bronze pieces came from the supplier un-annealed, and they need to
bend the pieces to fit compound curves. What would be the best way
to anneal the bronze? They have a forge, as well as a big oxy
acetylene torch, do they do what McCreight said, heat to medium red
and quench? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you for all of your expertise,
Richard Hanberry

What is the actual alloy? With most bronzes just heating it to a
1100-1200 degrees F will be fine no need to quench but no problem if
you do. You might have them look at

for a bit of on working with bronze rail cap. They
should also get with the vendor who sold it to them to get
recommendations on how to best form it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


FWIW, I’m a jeweler and ornamental metalsmith that does
architectural metal work.

I have to agree with Jim’s input. The brass cap is probably 385 and
can be worked hot with a lil practice. The link that Jim provided is
an excellent resource on this topic. I was taught these techniques by
Alex Klahm in his shop and used them on many projects. All though you
can anneal and work the cap… because you mentioned that compound
curves are required I’d suggest that you work the cap hot. That being
said… it would help to know more about the end product. IF it’s for
a spiral staircase or some other smooth radius, it may help to "roll"
the radius with a rolling machine before you use heat to get the
compound curves. Sorry if that explanation is confusing, with more
info I could be more specific… would it be possible for you to
tell us Exactly what type of compound curve is needed? A picture
speaks a thousand words, :wink: