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Brass filings- are they a contamination concern at the bench?

Hi All,

I would appreciate some advice, please.

I have the need to grind 26pcs of New Hermes brass engraving font plates and was wondering if this would be a contamination concern at my bench.

Should I do this at my bench? or should I do it outside of my studio…

I primarily work in sterling silver, and occasionally yellow gold.

I do not to file/ grind steel tools at my bench, to avoid contamination.

I used this project as an excuse to buy the wolf belt sander for the flex shaft!

I think I can attach a vacuum hose as a dust collector…

or, I can rig my flexshaft at an outside location…

I am not certain of the metal content, but am assuming it is a brass alloy…(copper/zinc…?) I should call the vender tomorrow and ask the content…

…I am guessing that it would be ok? Brass is often used in jewelry making.


Brass? Not a problem. I even grind on ferrous metals at my bench. I do this to shape Chasing tools, alter pliers etc. Afterwards I just run a strong magnet through my bench sweeps to remove it.
I am a real fanatic about keeping lead or tin away from bench.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Hello Jo,

Thanks so much for your reply! I am just now crossing my fingers and waiting for a reply from the vendor…they may need to contact headquarters in France to verify the metal alloy used in their master copy type plates…(oh my!)

I have always thought that brass is copper and zinc…

Their customer service suggested that it “might” be copper, zinc, tin, and iron…? But they also seaid they were just guessing!

And one google search result for Brass said “copper, zinc (and usually lead)”…(!)… But then again, not everything on the internet is accurate!

so, since tin, iron, and lead “may” be in there, and based on your advise about them, I will await the email reply, and most probably err on the side of caution and go outside…with my new wolf belt sander! when it arrives! yipee!


Zinc can be a problem. But with all metal filings, keep in mind that the chemical composition may not be the main hazard. ALL filings are very small particles that can become lodged in the alveoli in the lungs and do permanent damage. ALWAYS protect yourself from small particles of ANY kind!

p,s. wolf belt sander came and works great! I love it already!