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Difference in copper tubing


Hello all! I am new to all this. A brief history. I make
kaleidoscopes and a couple of galleries are interested in my work/
and a “nature store” chain (I do weird designs like clowns and
stones). They like my free thinking designs, but I used stained
glass techniques, which makes my works really heavy. I am taking
lessons from a jewelry artist to give me a different medium for my
work, and able for me to expand my unique designs. I will say I have
started to make some jewelry, simply because I love to wear it.

I am asking this in this jewelry forum because you all are very aware
of metals and their qualities. I have not found another site with
such quality feedback. I want to make a kscope from copper with a
tree bark effect, i.e., hammer it with a rivet hammer. I bought some
copper tubing from Sears hardware and tried to hammer it,I was
not able to get the design like I did with the flat sheet I got from
a jewelry metal supplier. Question - Is there a difference in the
way copper is processed for different applications? Do I have to
anneal the the low cost piece to get the effect? The next question
would be if I different tubing other than plumbing, who supplies
tubing 1.5" and less. The supplier I use in NY, NY doesn’t go that
wide for an id. If this isn’t the forum please let me know.

I must say, I have only been on this site a couple of days,and it
is the best site ever.

Carol Manion


You might want to try dipping it in ak etching resist and the drawing
the tetur on and etchin it. This is a really good way to get a
texture. Anther easier way migh be to try a hammer with a thin end
to it like a rivting hammer and hammering it sio you can get finer
maks and then smoothing parts of it out. And one more thing you
might try in addition is using different sized gravers like the ones
that stone setters and engravers use. Just a thought.


Carol, I live in the Seattle area, and have seen Brass sheet
manufactured with a ‘bark texture’. I believe it was from Alaska
Copper & Brass in Seattle, 800-552-7661. I’m not sure if this is a
regular product with them, the school I was attending had gotten a
supply of it for student use. Hope this helps.

Lorri F


Hello, Carol- I suspect that what you are experiencing is due not to a
difference in the copper, but due to the difference between flat sheet
and tubing. When hammering flat sheet, you are probably hammering it
against a solid backing, whereas when hammering tubing, the impact
also deforms the area around the hammer strike, which absorbs some of
the impact of the hammer. To get around this, you could place a piece
of steel pipe of a slightly lesser diameter inside your copper tubing,
and use the steel pipe as your “anvil.”

Lee Einer


Hi Carol, Welcome to Orchid! Copper tubing comes in several wall
thicknesses, hardnesses & diameters. Copper tubing is available in
diameters from capillary to over 1 ft. Probably the best place to get
an assortment of different sizes & grades of copper tubing is from a
plumbing shop or contractor. They usually have several sizes around &
their scrap bin may have some short lengths.

Home supply centers (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) usually have copper in
different sizes (usually under 1 1/2 inches). If all else fails, check
out a plumbing wholesaler. You’ll probably have to by 10 ft lengths,
but they’ll have a good size selection & may be able to refer you to
someone who’ll sell less than a 10 ft length.

As with most metals, copper gets hard when it’s worked. Depending on
the amount of hardening, a piece may need to be annealed multiple times
during the fabrication process.



Hello Carol, The reason that you could not texture the tube like the
sheet is probably due to the lack of an anvil directly behind the
surface that you are striking with the hammer.

You will need to remedy this. You could get a piece of steel rod that
will fit inside the tube and secure it in a bench vise. The tube
should be the largest that you can fit inside the tube. This should
solve the problem.

You may want to texture the face of a hammer with your "tree bark"
pattern in reverse and use this on your kaleidoscopes. It will speed
up the texturing process and you can make any texture that you can cut
into the face of the hammer. An inexpensive ball peen hammer weighing
4 to 8 ounces will work well for your needs.

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
P.M.B. 131, 305 N. Second Ave.
Upland, California 91786-6028

E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen


Copper tubing is generally furnished in two hardnesses one is hard
drawn . This is available in 20 foot straight lengths and needs
annealed to deform by chasing. The other is annealed and comes in
coils. Tubing is also available in different wall thicknesses .
These are designated as

M, L , K and drain pipe. Straight tubing , like most pipe is
designated in size by the ID of a standard type (type K). The outside
diameter is then actually 1/8" larger than the nominal size 1-5/8"
for 1-1/2" nominal size. and 2-1/8" for 2" nominal size I assume you
want the straight stuff and in 1’ 1/1-1/4 1-1/2 or 2" nominal size.
probably in M (thinnest) or L type. The tubing is made by various
concerns and is more or less all the same quality. You would want
the standard grade not ACR , refrigeration, or Oxy grades. These just
mean special cleaning and end caps and cost more. Buy where you get
the best deal . in NYC check out Metalferrrous at 34 W. 46th street.

You should become familiar with the sites. particularly start at the
forums and projects sections.

The copper org site is down now for? check it occasionally — it
should be back.

Since you are apparently in NYC Super instruction is easily
available to you at The Valentin Yotkov studio in Brooklyn. 718-852-8640 His reputation is magnificent.

Ask more questions.


Hi Carol, Copper tubing comes in 2 basic types. Rigid and flexible.
Rigid tubing is available in 2 thickness “L” and “M” light & medium.
The schedule “L” can be textured after annealing readily. Also
consider texturing with a diamond flywheel cutter. The “M” is
probably to heavy and expensive for this type of project. Look for
your local metal recyclers and stock houses for better prices. Home
Depot also stocks tubing up to 2". The flexible tubing is not
readily available in larger diameters, if so costs are prohibitive.
By using a recycler I generally pay less than $2.00 a lb vs $7-9.00.
Marcus Amshoff

 I want to make a kscope from copper with a tree bark effect, i.e.,
hammer it with a rivet hammer.  I bought some copper tubing from
Sears hardware and tried to hammer it..... 

G’day; the act of manufacturing copper tubing hardens it, although
some of the more narrow tube is soft because plumbers have to bend it
without forming flats or kinks at the bend. Soften it simply by
heating to a barely visible red heat and quench it in a bucket of
water. To hammer it, put a piece of steel inside it nearly the
diameter of the copper tube; a piece of water pipe will do, as your
hammer blows won’t be powerful enough to dent the mandrel through the
copper; a good firm tap will be enough. When the surface is to your
liking, heat the whole thing again and let it cool naturally in the
air; as this will produce a blackened surface. You can rub it with a
piece of, say, 400 grit abrasive paper, which will highlight the
raised parts of the surface for a pleasing finish. A neatly applied
coat of clear spray made for metal finishing from a can (see the
hardware paint areas) or a clear polyurethane varnish which will
protect the finish. And don’t forget that you can buy cheap little
hammers and regrind the face to your own shape, polish them with
abrasive papers and on a buff with tripoli to a high finish, so as
not to leave unwanted marks. Just using a grinding wheel can give you
what you need. You can even make your own hammers from steel rod, 1/2"
to 1" diameter; you don’t really need a lathe for this. What about
filing punches to your own design using 1/4" steel rod? Cheers, –
John Burgess, Mapua NZ; where the hills all resound with the
sound of fruit trucks and the stench of their diesel’s polluting
the air


carol - it might be a good idea to consider sticking with the sheet
copper to get your treebark texture & then either solder with the
yellow solder and/or fold over - the seam can become almost invisible
with a little creative rivet hammer-ing with a pipe inside the tube
to keep its shape. you could even edge-join it over a narrow strip of
thin copper along the seam. all the solder seepage that shows can be
removed (wire brush, drum sander, gnawing with front teeth) from tube
before you texture it. check on eBay ‘search’ for “copper sheeting” -
it sometimes shows up at very good prices. if you every decide to go
with brass tubes you can get swinging door brass ‘kick plates’ up to
3’ x 1’ at any hardware store for very little. good luck