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Gilders metal

Orchid Community,

I am searching for what seems to be a rare item…Gilders Metal.
I am an enamelist working on a reproduction item in which I have to
match a specific color. I have done test formulas and have obtained
the color but it only works on Guilders Metal, not copper. In doing
tests I used a pre-1980 US penny that I understand is made of the
Gilders Metal alloy which is 95/5 copper/zinc. I also have been told
that the copper alloy #210 is in fact Gilders Metal.

I have ordered some from Thompson Enamel but they only offer in.040"
thickness. Although I have some latitude, my requirements are in the
100 to .125 range. I would require an overall dimension of 11" x 36"
or at the very minimum, 6" x 36". The smaller dimension leaves
absolutely no room for error. That is scary when I’m having so much
trouble finding the material in the first place. Ultimately I am
creating 6 enameled circular pieces with a basic diameter of 4.75"

When contacting suppliers I find that the thickness is a problem
[they carry.060"] plus I fall far from the minimum requirements. The
closest I’ve come is a $400 min requirement [about twice my maximum
needs] and they would “try to find the material”. I was also told,
from another source, that in manufacturing, the standard billet for
rolling into sheet starts at .090". Of course you jump to a whole
different level when dealing with the thicker stock. One supplier
had it in.250 but wouldn’t sell it because it was carried for one
specific customer [plus it was twice my thickness needs].

I have thought of sweat soldering to thickness but would have to use
a high temperature solder to have it hold during the 1400 f firing
temperatures for enameling. I am also concerned because zinc
liquefies and vaporizes at much lower temperatures. If I try to
solder then the zinc will be leaching out even before I begin to
enamel and I will basically be left with just the copper on the

I’ve had suggestions of actually melting down pennies and reforming
into sheet. Well, that’s an awful lot of old, dirty pennies and
requirements past my capabilities but in reality just the melting of
the metal would burn off the zinc so I would have gained nothing.

Another suggestion was to use copper but gold plate it before
enameling. This is within my capabilities and I realize the gold
would tend to shift the color of my enamel. I could probably do more
tests for color match. More importantly I have been told, by an
experienced enamelist, that the gold plate layer would alloy into
the copper base at the enameling temperatures and essentially be

For you enamelists out there - I am working with a transparent
"purple" that shifts to blue in shade and red in the sunlight. The
depth of enamel is restricted and the color must be uniform so I
will not be using flux as a base layer.

At this point I would just love to find that allusive supplier that
carries what I need. Any suggestions?

Karla from sunny Southern California

I think I’ve seen it as Tombac (normally 85% copper 15%zinc). When
used for enameling should be 90% copper 10% zinc. Melting point 990
degrees C. Highly malleable. Because of the zinc content it does not
stand up well to repeated firings…

google for Tombac and see if that gets you better results.

Justine Wetherington

You have you facts right!! 90/10 Commercial bronze has also been
called guilders metal but the extra zinc may not be desirable. The
best place for is:

Gilding, 95%

Commercial Bronze, 90%

Jewelry Bronze, 87-1/2%

check these people they may have coils only??

Copper and Brass sales
Los Angeles
13338 Orden Drive
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Telephone: 562-623-4444
Sales: 800-926-2600
Sales Fax: 800-926-8310

I have been through the same searches for myself and bought what
Thompson had. I have run some searching through today and
it looks like it is only rolled in coils or strip. This means larger
quantities usually.

I found seven suppliers possible searching sheet and 12 searching
strip but no sure thing. my regular suppliers for copper and brass
don’t show up for this product.


Gilders metal is commonly called alloy 210, Nu-gold (pinchbeck
metal) is #226 88% copper12% zinc this is what has pretty much
replaced the gilders metal in most suppliers catalogs. Melting point
for gilders metal is 1935’F, nu-gold is 1886’F.

If you move to the Phosphor Bronze (A) 95% copper 5%tin and up to
0.35% phosphorus is added, Melting point is 1945’F might meet your
requirements.there are a number of bronzes with varying amounts of
tin in them from 1%TO 20% tin.

You might want to contact your enamel makers tech line and see if
there would be any change in use when using bronze.

As were to find it in smaller amounts at fair prices.

Type in the search box Phosphor Bronze/ commercial bronze it is the
first alloy description box.

been there haven’t hand to search to long, since the search engines
came on the scene.


I am searching for what seems to be a rare item......Gilders

do you mean " gilding metal" ? i buy this in 1.2mm thick sheets, if
you get desperate I can find from the suppliers where they come

If you move to the Phosphor Bronze (A) 95% copper 5% tin and up to
0.35% phosphorus is added. Melting point is 1945'F might meet your

This alloy might be problematic for enamelling. Tin oxide is used as
an opacifier. I can’t remember where I read it, but phosphorus might
also cause problems; but my recollection could well be incorrect.
And then there’s also the problem with expansion coefficients

However rules are made to be broken. Who knows, something
interesting might arise from using it.