Quality of Brass

        Hi Andrea,  Brass that was used to make "Old Clocks." 
The brass that we currently get in the US is remolded down
shell casings that were used in Vietnam, Korea, WW II ect. 
The quality of the Brass used in shell casings is lower than
that of "Clock Brass"  Did you ever wonder what happened to all
of the old American Antique Clocks?  i.e. the Banjo Clocks  and
all the old watches? I think they can be found in the company
of the Old 100 per cent Silver Dollars. Food for thought.
Susan Chastain. 

Dear Susan: Verrrry interesting… thank you for replying.
That’s a lot of shell casings! I had thought it might have been
a particular alloy. For instance, we stamp in what is known as
"rich low" or “red” brass, which is is an 85/15 alloy (85 percent
copper). Other stamping houses sometimes use 70/30 or "high"
brass, which is only a 70 percent copper content. Bomb
shells…hmmmm. Thanks again, Andrea

Hi Andrea, I was surprised to find this out also, my husband
was in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Korea. He said they were
everywhere, If you go to the West Coast you will see lots and
lots and lots of oriental shops with brass made objects in them.
I guess it won’t be long now before we see objects’d Art coming
out of Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Eldorado Canyon. There is
one thing for sure Artist sure do alot of recyling. Susan Chastain

Cartridge brass is 70 % copper 30 % zinc . Oriental material
can be anything but has been largely war scrap and may not be
refined properly (the zinc burns out) Everything you see isn’t
from uncontrolled melted scrap there is a fairly large US
industry in recovering copper and refining it properly in the
US. The material produced is what you may buy . The brass you are
looking for is probably one of the red brasses with 80 to 95 %
Copper. If you want any commercial grade you can find it and
it can be high quality. Brass is copper with zinc. Bronze is
copper with other alloy metals which may include some zinc. This
can be confusing Jesse

If you want some first hand knowledge about bronze and brass,
you might give Atlas Metals (303-623-0143 in Denver Colorado).
Dave is very helpful and knows a bunch!!! Do/did WE really
collect and ship those shell casings back from "the wars"
mentioned above?? As far as I know, most of that materials is
left where it fell and ultimately, if used at all, is picked up
and used by the “locals”. Most good casting metals are “newly"
smelted and alloyed metals, not “old”, unknown metal mixes.
There is too much to loose in expensive castings to save a few
pennies on unknown materials verses new, known materials. I cast
Everdure Bronze for sculptures, and I would not use anything that
could cause un necessary and un needed defects. There are metals
that are not made anymore (true wrought iron for one) but I bet
that Atlas and other metal suppliers have and can supply you with
"Clock Brass” or other metal alloys as needed.

My 2c worth.
John Dach
MidLife Crisis Enterprises
C.T. Designs
Cynthias sculptures are at: http://www.mlce.net
Maiden Metals,
A small bronze foundry, no web site yet!!

One can also try for brass At Alfa Aesar, High purity metals
1-800-343-0660. They handle all sorts of materials… Bob