Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cold weather effect on metal


My home is in the greater Boston area where we have had just over 50"
of snow since mid-December. For the last two weeks, we have had
several nights each week in single digits or just below 0.

Our basement is not heated so I don’t spend a lot of time there
during deep winter. Right now the basement is 52 and I’m wearing
extra socks and an extra sweater to cut a fish from copper for a
metal project. The copper is making a shrieking noise as I cut and it
is taking much longer than normal.

Does 52 cold weather change the behavior of copper in the cutting

Thanks for any
Mary A

What are you using to cut the copper? A jeweler’s saw?

I would change the saw blade first. Maybe it’s dull, maybe it’s
clogged, who knows. Make sure it’s facing the right way, and at the
proper tension.

I don’t think the problem is from the copper being cold though. I
don’t know how much copper is affected by the cold, but I’d bet it’s
pretty negligible at 50 degrees.

50 degrees is plenty cold to affect the working properties of the
human hand though, especially if it’s trying to hold a cold piece of
copper steady on the bench pin. If you’re not being able to hold the
copper in place and it moves a little and twists the saw blade, that
can make kind of a screaming noise, slow you down, and make you break
blades more often. The same is true with holding the saw frame

I’d look into moving a space heater downstairs to use when you’re
working. Little electronic units come pretty cheap, and they’re handy
for just keeping small places warm instead of paying to heat a whole


Does 52 cold weather change the behavior of copper in the cutting

It should make no difference. Are you sawing like a fiend in an
attempt to keep warm :slight_smile:

My basement studio is really cold, sometimes in mid summer it will go
over 60, 50 is warm for winters I do cheat and use a small electric
heater blowing from the back of my bench tray. (mid Vermont)

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Does 52 cold weather change the behavior of copper in the cutting

Not in any real measurable way. I do a lot of public demos in outdoor
locations. Here in North FL, that can mean 30F in the AM this time of
year to over 100F during the summer months. More than likely, just
trying to work all bundled up and with chilly hands is giving you
more issues than temperature effects on the metal.

Heck, the relative humidity probably has a bigger effect. I have
noticed that I need to lube my saw blades more this time of year,
when the humidity is in the 50% range instead of the typical 80%+.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL