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Gunmetal?


#1

My sister bought necklaces for her bridesmaids that were made from
various beads and a type of wire said to be “gunmetal” by the lady
who made and sold the necklaces to her.

I have since found out that gunmetal is a type of dark coloured
brass but I haven’t been able to find any suppliers who sell gunmetal
wire - not even metal merchants who deal with various types of brass
for industry. Recently however, I was in a craft store and was
looking at some colourful spools of wire that appeared to be copper
coated in translucent nylon (or something similar) of various
colours. The spools weren’t labelled properly (nothing ever is in the
craft shops around here) and the only info on the stickers on them
was the colour and diameter of the wire. There was one colour
labelled “gunmetal”… and so it got me to wondering if this what was
acutally used on the necklaces my sister bought.

Could anyone shed any light on this? What is most likely here? I had
liked the idea of working with a dark coloured brass… and would
prefer that more to working in dark coloured copper because brass
tends to be more stiff and would be more suited to the type of
jewellery I want to make with it. Is it worth continuing my search
for actual gunmetal wire or am I not likely to get anywhere with
that?

Thanks,
RR Jackson


#2
My sister bought necklaces for her bridesmaids that were made from
various beads and a type of wire said to be "gunmetal" by the lady
who made and sold the necklaces to her. 

Were these on gunmetal CHAIN or wire? To the best of my knowledge
"gunmetal" is a dark plating applied to brass chain. I have seen it
on ready made chains. Rings and Things in Spokane Washington used to
carry it in footage chain. When it was really “in” you saw it on lots
of inexpensive austrian crystal necklaces.

The craft wire you mentioned I have seen too: it is usually a copper
core with a coating almost like a colored plating; you can get
aluminum wire too that has been anodized and colored. I have played
around with these and the coating cannot take much handling, plier
bending, etc. If what you do involves something complex it will
chip/nick/wear off quickly. Plus the core color will show at the
ends. Annealing or polishing is not possible.

Lin Lahlum


#3

“Gunmetal” is Tin Bronze casting alloy 88% Copper,10 % Tin, 2 % Zinc.
It is not a wrought alloy that is drawn into wire. The “color” is a
natural patina on the alloy. I know that many manufactured objects of
brass and often steel are given a “Gunmetal” finish that is merely a
tinted lacquer.

I suspect if you find this color on wire it is a lacquered brass and
may not be suitable for your use.

i first suggest you look up: http://www.metalliferous.com/ and
download page 12

You might also call: http://www.malinco.com/Craft/brass.html

jesse


#4

Hi,

Gummetal is 4140 Steel what is “Blued” which is a chemical process,
that has a simple version and a hot tank version. There are other
methods for other colours such as parkerizing, which is a dull grey
and a brown colour process from the Brown Bess days about 200 years
ago. These colourings were to help prevent rusting or for the look.

The colour itself can be replicated thru several patine methods that
I have seen. Try Prizm art supply out of Toledo or Pittsburgh for
some of the Patines that they carry.

Hope this gives you a clearer picture and once in a while I made
jewelry from old gun barrels.

Jerry


#5

Gunmetal is actually just a name for that particular colored plating
on the base metal. It’s usually used on copper or brass. You can
find “gunmetal” findings and chain in most jewelry supply catalogs.

Diana


#6

To my knowlege, “Gunmetal” is a color. It is, as one might expect, a
bluish, greyish color bordering on black. Guns are made only out of
steel - some of the auxiliary parts are brass or something, but the
actual mechanism can only be steel.


#7

Gunmetal is a bronze with varying degrees of zinc added to the
copper-tin, the most typical would be in the 4-5% range.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#8

Gunmetal refers to the natural patina color of cast historical
Bronze cannon. It is in no way related to steel guns or a steel finish
other than as a lacquer finish.

As such it would not be very durable in wearable jewelry piece. I
have stripped a lot of it off brass objects in the process of getting
a polished brass finish.

You could attempt a chemical duplication on brass wire but it would
need to have a clear lacquer cover coat to stay that way.

jesse


#9

Ah, the confusion here is probably due to gunmetal being both a
colour and an alloy of bronze. The colour is the bluish grey shade
that steel gun barrels take after heat treating and bluing (a
phosphor related process I think). Gunmetal the alloy is a
particular mix of bronze which was used to make cannons before
metallurgists had worked out how to make iron into steel. The alloy
is still used in a number of applications industrially, so getting
wire should not be a problem, polished it would be a deep reddy
brown, but could be patinated to a dark brown or black in the same
was as sculptural bronze.

Chris Penner
collarsandcuffs.com


#10

John,

To my knowlege, "Gunmetal" is a color. It is, as one might expect,
a bluish, greyish color bordering on black. Guns are made only out
of steel - some of the auxiliary parts are brass or something, but
the actual mechanism can only be steel.

I’ve been involved in competitive shooting sports for over 45 years.
Many firearms have aluminum receivers, and some are nearly all
plastic. I have a Colt .45 that has an aluminum receiver and
stainless slide, weighs 14 ounces with it’s titanium firing pin. But
no brass. The steel ones are often treated to obtain different
colors, hardnesses and wear characteristics.

Wayne


#11

Hey “Freak Style”!

Firearms must handle the extreme instantaneous pressure of a round
being fired. For the gun itself, the best material is hardened steel.
If I remember correctly, your necklace seller was struggling with
English. She may have been referring to the brass that makes the
cartridges (“bullets”) that the gun fires.

While I can’t give “recipes” for working with cartridge brass, I can
give cautions. Not all cartridges are brass. “Steel-case” means
exactly that. I’ve used aluminum case rounds in my pistol. Between
magnets and friendly gun dealers, you can cull the non-brass. Some
gun ranges sell fired brass, and you’re certainly welcome to scout
the tables at a gun show, for a nominal admission fee.

Any cartridge you intend to work with must be expended! Look at the
butt-end for a central dimple where the firing pin ignited the
primer, and make sure the cartridge is empty and clean. Gunpowder and
heat are a deadly combo!

The projectile, or bullet, is the part that actually kills/destroys!
Some are lead, some “jacketed” with other metals. They are not to be
included.

There are many kinds of primers, too. I know nothing about the
hazards attending to Berdan, non-corrosive, or other primers.

Or, you can scuttle all the above worry and just patinate some
brass/silver/nickel wire to the shade you desire. Look under
"bluing"! Check out products by Birchwood-Casey!

Be safe, and best of luck to you.

Dan - IJS


#12

Here is another source of copper alloy wire:
http://www.radcliffwire.com

see this page:
http://www.radcliffwire.com/alloy_copper.htm

jesse