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Using brass and copper with silver

hi . I have just been given some copper sheet and brass sheet, which
i will be using with silver in some jewelry designs. the copper sheet
is 0.7mm and 1.0mm thick and the brass 1.0 mm and 2.0mm thick, i
only have a jewellers saw and i am wondering what size blades i
would need to saw these sheets. can anyone advise?

what kind of solder will i need to join copper or brass to silver or
indeed copper to brass? I am wondering if there are any other
considerations in combining these metals in a design, preventing
tarnishing for example?

Your help is much appreciated. One day i would like to think that i
will be in a position to contribute to this forum a little more, but
for now i read and learn with interest and post questions . regards


Nikky- One thing about combining metals, especially in rings–
They have different coefficients of expansion. That means, if you
put copper over silver all the way around a ring, for example, your
nice tight seam setup will open up on you as soon as the heat hits
it. Of course, it will go back when it cools, but that’s not much
help if you’re trying to solder it. I don’t have a perfect solution,
but I generally wrap the ring with thin titanium wire (steel binding
wire melts more easily, and might get soldered to your piece), then
solder from inside the ring. Not exactly what you asked, but maybe
save some puzzlement if you find yourself in this situation. HTH

The way to judge blade size is to make sure that you have two teeth
for the thickness of the chosen metal. The Rio catalog is pretty
accurate about sizes so you could hold a piece of the metal against
their chart. Regular silver solder and fluxes will work fine. Too
much solder will show against the metal color so you will have to
learn the minimum amount that will work. There are some copper
solders but they were not easy for me to work. If you want them look
to see what they offer for something called Merlin’s Gold or NuGold.
Both of these are gold colored brasses. I have found these solders to
be hard to melt. If you are putting a piece flush on a larger one, it
would be best to sweat solder it on. Watch the brass. It can suddenly
melt without warning. Copper on the other hand, is hard to melt while
soldering. By the way, you do know that you will need a torch,
pickle, and flux made for silver soldering don’t you. You are
unlikely to find these at the corner hardware store.

If you do not have access to classes, I suggest that you buy “The
Complete Metalsmith” by Tim McCreight. It is inexpensive and
explains many techniques. It does not have the pretty colored
pictures of other books but then, it doesn’t cost as much either.

Good Luck
Marilyn Smith

Just to add to Marilyn’s post here are two more books that, though
older, I recommend to my classes as excellent for teaching basic
silversmithing (jewellery) techniques.

1… ‘Creative Gold & Silversmithing’ by Sharr Choate ISBN

2… 'Jewelry Making For Schools, Tradesmen, Craftsmen’
by Murray Bovin ISBN 910280-01-0

Karen Seidel-Bahr
the ‘ROCKLADY’ @Rocklady
May your gems always “Sparkle”