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Soldering copper/brass with pre 1981 pennies


#1

Ok, so I did research on this site for using pennies as copper
solder. But I can’t find anyone who has done this successfully. Is
this just an urban myth type of thing? I have quite a few of these
pennies and it would be great if I could use them for soldering
copper and brass. Also, would this be a hard solder?

Thanks
Ceah


#2

Oh my dear. You have been woefully misinformed. American pennies
have not been made of copper since 1982. At that point they began
being made of 97.5% Zinc and only 2.5% Copper. I suggest that you not
try to use them for solder or you will be likely to get Zinc
poisoning, as I have had the unfortunately experience of having had.
It wasn’t fun. Actually, the US Treasury has for several years now
been attempting to have Congress banish the penny, as it now costs
some $0.016 cents to make one, but of course the Congress will never
do that. Imagine the press.

Sincerely,Gary Strickland, GJG


#3

Ceah

Experience I have with pennies is using Die pressed pennies from
tourist locations.

I’ve had great success using pre-1982 American pennies. In bead
making and other jewelry pieces. Using easy silver solder.

I come across once here and there of post-1982 and when heated they
shrivel up. I have not used it has solder. I’ll be following this
thread as I would love to find a copper color solder for my pennie
projects.

Samantha Ann
Once Upon a Bead


#4

I should also note that he post-1982 pennies are melting at an
annealing temperature.


#5

Basically they are bronze and as such you can melt and braze (hard
solder) copper with them. Brass has a lower melting point so you
cannot utilise it there. Soft (lead) solder should be used for
brass. You can make an alloy of brass and lead/tin solder for use
with brass but there is little advantage in doing so. I am not a fan
of the tin/bismuth solders as they crack when chilled or with age.

Nick Royall


#6
Actually, the US Treasury has for several years now been attempting
to have Congress banish the penny, as it now costs some $0.016
cents to make one, but of course the Congress will never do that.
Imagine the press. 

We did it here, no 1 cent, or 2 cent piece… every thing is rounded
to the nearest 5 cents, in day to day transactions. Online it doesn’t
matter, you could possibly pay with 1/2 cents online… wouldn’t
that be a nightmare.

When the coins were phased out is sort of caused a problem for a
traditional gifting superstition.

You’re supposed to give a copper coin to the person you’re giving a
knife to so you wont cut the friendship. If you’re selling a knife
this is not a problem, as money changes hands.

Regards Charles A.


#7

Go to your local welding shop and talk with them about what alloys
they have that that would match your project material using what
ever melting method you are using.

John Dach


#8
I have quite a few of these pennies and it would be great if I
could use them for soldering copper and brass. Also, would this be
a hard solder? 

Yes, this can be done with copper, and it definitely would be a
"hard solder." However, it’s tricky because the melting points of the
copper and the pennies are very close. It takes a lot of heat, and
the pennies don’t always flow very well. Give it a try on something
simple and not too large. Hammer out the pennies into as thin a sheet
as you can and cut that up into paillons. Let us know how it worked
out.

Judy Bjorkman


#9

My apologies. You did say pre-1981. Ignore everything I said. I will
open mouth, insert foot.

Gary


#10

Charles, Are you in Oz? Never heard of that custom. Reminds me of
that ancient Italian custom of grabbing your testicles or a piece or
iron when a hearse goes by! Speaking of pennies. I have some
c.1920’s British pennies from when I was kid. They are 30mm in
diameter and weigh 9 gms. Just weighed some on my antique 75 y/o
Ohaus metric balance. It’s nice to be an antique and have antiques,
too. Gary Strickland


#11

Gary - I wouldn’t think of giving knives to someone without demanding
paying of a penny. If you don’t do that, you risk cutting the
friendship. Gave knives to my stepson and his wife and they paid a
penny. (I’m in Canada.) It’s origin I think lies in Ireland, Latin
America and maybe other places. There are many superstitions about
knives - these are some. I’ve made a few knives in my day and kept
the folklore to the best of my ability.

  • A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.

  • A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain
    of labor.

  • If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your
    friendship will soon be broken.

  • It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.

  • It is bad luck to close a pocketknife unless you were the one who
    opened it.

  • Unless they are immediately straightened, crossed knives on a
    countertop or table indicate that an argument will ensue.

  • In previous centuries a knife was a very personal possession,
    carried at all times by its owner and used for hunting and work as
    well as cutting food.

  • A steel knife was regarded as being protection against fairies and
    curses.

  • A house could be protected by a knife being thrust into the door.

  • A baby protected by a knife stuck into the headboard of its cradle
    (certainly not a recommended practice now!)

  • A knife could also be thrust into the mast of a boat for luck,
    although the word ‘knife’ was never spoken at sea.

  • A knife falling to the ground means the arrival of a male visitor.

  • A knife with a white handle could be used to divine whether the
    enquirer’s future spouse would be fair or dark. The knife was spun
    round, and if it came to rest with the handle pointing towards the
    enquirer, the spouse would be fair; if the blade pointed at them, the
    spouse would be dark.

Barbara on a moonlicht nicht.


#12

Hello Charles,

We have the same tradition in Sheffield in the UK. If you make
someone a gift of a cutting blade you are severing the friendship, so
you include a 1p coin (we still have 1p’s!) with the gift and they
can buy the blade from you. My old boss served a year as the Master
Cutler of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire (Hallamshire is an
area around Sheffield). At the Feast he hosted as part of his tenure
a gift was made of a paper knife to those attending. In the box with
the knife was a shiny new penny that the recipient was meant to leave
in a bowl on the table to ‘pay’ for the gift. He had coins sent back
from all over the UK where people had forgotten to do this!

Best wishes,
Charles


#13

Barbara, Wow. I simply had no idea! You have greatly elucidated me!
Middle-class Americans don’t know any of these traditions.

Thank you. I’ve always wanted to incorporate knife-like designs into
my jewelry. there is an ancient Egyptian glyph in the form of a
sickle that I’ve always wanted to do in silver and gold. It
represents plenty, or course, and is quite a beautiful design.
Ancient jewelry often influences me. I’m in NYC, so I am constantly
inspired by the jewelry at the Met.

Especially Neolithic Chinese and Etruscan. I never cease to be
amazed at the knowledge of our Orchid members. Often I feel like I
have so little to contribute.

Gary


#14
I wouldn't think of giving knives to someone without demanding
paying of a penny. 

This superstition is not commonly known in my circles - people
express surprise when they hear about it. I never heard it until, in
Korea, I gave my future wife a kitchen knife and didn’t understand
her reaction. Didn’t seem to hurt, though - we were together for 47
years.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY