Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Working with copper


#1

I have started working with copper with SS decorations. My question
is about the copper. ( I have worked with the SS before) Copper
seems to have a “texture” when sanded. Is there a special way to
sand and polish copper. Mine came out nicely but I feel there are
techniques that I am not aware of.

Soldering the silver decorations on the copper as well as the bezel
for the stone seemed easy enough but I would like to here or know of
a source for on working with the copper to prepare it
for polishing.

When I get my “rolling mill” I want to embed the SS decoration into
the copper after it is soldered in place unless it would split the
copper. The copper may not take this type of work but I hope it
will. This way only the bezel would be “sticking up” and I could
"finish" the piece before I solder on the SS bezel.

I would like to see some ideas for a neckchain that would go along
with the copper/SS motive. Any home pages like that?? Or who does
this kind of Neckchain??

Larry waiting for school to be out so I can add on a little space so
I can get my rock things all in one place so I can find and use what
I need.


#2

Recently I’ve been working with copper a lot and I’m trying to get
this really intense red by heating and then quenching it. So far I
had the most success by heating the piece face down on a charcoal
block with a big reducing flame and throwing it in warm water
saturated with borax while it’s still red. This works well when the
piece is about 0.5mm thick, but I haven’t had much success with
bigger, thicker pieces. Also, anything soldered on the piece will
not stay on.

Any thoughts?
Ako


#3

I use to make a lot of roses from copper. To turn them red I would
take regular brazing flux (mostly borax) and dissolve a bunch in
water. Then take the rose swirl around in the mixture to coat
everything. Using an oxy/act torch with neutral flame, heat on the
out side of the rose until all of the petals were a bright red. Then
quench in water. The inside of the petals would get a beautiful red.
The outside where the torch work would be red but not as dark. The
roses were brazed together and I had to be careful not to un-braze
them from getting so hot.

The reason probably not working on thicker pieces is probably not
getting hot enough. In order to solder to copper it has to be very
clean. Watch a home repair show on how they solder water pipe. Note
how the clean it up first, then flux, then solder. So for you to
solder the work together first and then try to patina with torch it
will not work because you have to get the copper hotter (bright red)
and all of your joints will separate. Best thing would use a patina
to get the good red you want. If you go to my “webpage” there are
some apples and roses that I patina red. Good Luck,

Warren Townsend


#4

I have gotten the red heat patina on copper and silver pieces at the
final soldering by fluxing the whole piece, and then quenching in
water rather than pickle immediately after soldering.

The red torch patina on copper is beautiful, and deep. I have found
that you can really bring it up by polishing with Zam on a cotton
buff. The patina is deep enough that you won’t polish through it,
and it takes on an appearance which is reminiscent of enamel.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#5

Hi

Have a question on making Copper chain links and other copper
things.

Anyone ever try it, how do you do it. Tried fusing, to weak of a
joint.

Silver solder to tough to clean up.

Tried searching the net for copper solder, no help.

I have queries to Handy and Harmon and several others who have
copper brazing material, but I am not getting responses if anyone
carries the product or if I can get it in less than pallet sized
packages.

There were some posts in 97 on the subject, I was wondering if
anyone had found a source for something that flows well, good color
match and can be obtained in an experimental size, like a pound or
so.

Rio has some, but it is not a good color match.

Thanks
Terry


#6
I have queries to Handy and Harmon and several others who have
copper brazing material, but I am not getting responses if anyone
carries the product or if I can get it in less than pallet sized
packages. 

You can try a supplier that does AC and Refrige equipment it is used
most on the copper pipe/tubing.

One brand name is Dynaflo 1/8" flat after cleaning up it is going to
be the closest color match. About $35.00 for a 28 stick tube18"
long. You can get some some small round copper/phosphorus brazing
round packaged by brenz-O-matic at the big box stores its sold for
their mini OA torch sets. And tractor Supply sells a small 10 piece
tube for around $8.60. Other than Copper welding with OA and oxygen
free copper welding rod( which will prove harder to find than the
copper/phosphorus rod). You can use stranded copper electrical wire,
picked for the dia that matches the size of the joint and material
you are working on. But the strength will not be at it highest due
to the impurities in the wire.

And has been pointed out in the copper casting threads you need a
reducing type oxygen free furnace/melting/casting pot set up.


#7

Terry,

In the past I have used the American penny coin for a copper brazing
material. Make sure it is one of the older copper pennies and not a
newer copper plated zinc penny. Roll it out a bit and cut into strips
or pallions, or what shape would be most appropriate for your work
style. It will melt close to pure copper, but at a slightly lower
temperature. Use a good bit of flux and heat fast to keep oxidation
to a minimum and you may get a satisfactory result.

Good Luck,
Jim

James DeRosa
140 Clifton Drive
Boardman, OH 44512-1616


#8

Just a thought…refrigeration and natural gas piping is copper.
Maybe a company doing this piping in your area would be willing to
share expertise and sell you a bit of brazing rod or whatever they
use.

Good luck!


#9

Hi Terry

I tried a couple of years ago, as well as 15 years ago, to find
copper solder. I did not find it either. The best I could do was use
silver solder and if the silver showed too much I put it in some used
pickle with iron and copper plated it.

Hope this helps

Regards,
Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#10

Terry,

I use pink gold solder. The color match is good. Use plenty of flux
as the copper oxidizes heavily. Use a hotter flame as the pink gold
solders usually melt at higher temperatures. Also be sure to have a
good tight joint. I get mine from Stuller.

As far I as I know there is nothing else out there that is even
close to a good color match. I have seen stuff advertised but never
found it suitable.

One pound? What are you making? The volume certainly would make pink
gold solder problematic.

When I am doing large work, I use the Phos-Copper brazing rods. It
is silver colored when cleaned up so I will flash plate it to get the
color. also patinas well.

Bill Churlik
@Bill_Churlik
www.earthspeakarts.com


#11

Hi Terry, Copper brazing/welding rod is available at most hardware
stores. It doesn’t need flux, flows beautifully and is copper based
so it is copper colored. I just learned about it myself and have
been experimenting with it. So far I have found it to be a very
strong joint. It typically comes in a small package of 2 foot rods
of round or flat stock. It isn’t very expensive and will last you
quite a while. Hope this helps.

Ellen Starr
Starr Design


#12
Silver solder to tough to clean up. 

Silver Solder on Copper:

Work clean (not, too much solder), lots of heat, and flashing it in
contanminated pickle (put a steel bolt in some warm pickle) is
another fine option.

Good luck and have fun,
K. David Woolley
Fredericton, NB
Diversiform Metal Art & Jewellery


#13
I use pink gold solder. 

Bill, this is an interesting suggestion. The only problem I’d wonder
about (besides cost), is that, over time, the copper will naturally
"oxidize" and the pink gold solder will not, leading to lovely
bright seams. Have you had that problem?

Judy Bjorkman


#14
making Copper chain links and other copper things........ Anyone
ever try it, how do you do it. Tried fusing, to weak of a joint.
Silver solder to tough to clean up. Tried searching the net for
copper solder, no help. 

Hi Terry- here is my suggestions with soldering with copper—

1.You need to start with extremely clean copper in order to solder
with silver solder- make sure you wash the metal (with a grease
dissolving soap- and some abrasive like pumice or baking soda) until
water doesn’t bead up on the surface—( and try to handle only the
edges of your metal while transporting it from the sink to the
solder table)

2.When you are soldering make sure to use plenty of flux to protect
your copper from oxidizing- (use more flux than you would normally
use- this gets a bit messy…)

  1. Then- to make a good color match- after soldering is finished
    (with silver solder) and all your filing or sanding is done- you can
    use a contaminated pickle solution ( put a piece of binding wire
    into a bowl of warm pickle and immerse your copper piece in it) to
    plate your silver solder to a copper color- thus achieving a color
    match with your copper.

If all else fails- try riveting!!

I hope this helps-

Good luck!- Maureen Brusa Zappellini (from the land of millions of
gem shows…see you all soon!)


#15

Hi Terry

I was wondering if anyone had found a source for something that
flows well, good color match and can be obtained in an
experimental size, 

I’m not sure if this product is any help to you or not. It’s a
plumber’s thing found in our Home Hardware stores in the plumbing
section. It’s supposed to join copper with a better bond than solder
according to the info on the packaging. I’ll check out the actual
name of the stuff next time I am in town. It comes in two sizes of
bottles and I did buy one of the larger bottles but took it back
because it was half full. Apparently that is the way they come!!! A
bit of a rip off since it looked about the same amount as was in the
smaller bottle that was half the price. Now that I am working more in
copper myself I may give it another try. I am assuming that you only
need a tiny bit since it is quite expensive.

Sheila in Ontario Canada


#16

Regarding melting coins - remember: the nickel weighs 5g, with a
75/25 Cu/Ni ratio. The American nickel is now worth 7 cents at
today’s prices for nickel and copper. And the older copper pennies
are worth about 1.8 cents.

To prevent folks melting down nickels (or pennies for that matter),
the United States Mint, in anticipation of this practice, implemented
new interim rules on December 14, 2006, subject to public comment for
30 days, which criminalize the melting and export of pennies and
nickels. Violators can be punished with a fine of up to $10,000
and/or imprisoned for a maximum of five years." But doubt they will
worry about folks melting a pennny now and then.

Jon


#17
The best I could do was use silver solder and if the silver showed
too much I put it in some used pickle with iron and copper plated
it. 

How does this hold up to wear, like on a ring? Does the plating
eventually wear off?

Jeanne


#18

Bill

Thanks for the suggestions, I may wind up getting pink gold. The
project is nothing all that big, just trying something new, but when
you get into industrial metals arena, a pound is usually about the
lowest value you can find.

Terry


#19

Ellen

Could you send me the product ID for yours, I ran across the
Bernzomatic PC-3 rod and found it to be silver in finish and on the
stuff I was using it on to be quite weak. I have also been trying to
locate some of the Washington Metals products to play with but no
luck so far. If you have some that finishes copper colored that would
be great.

Terry


#20
Could you send me the product ID for yours, I ran across the
Bernzomatic PC-3 rod and found it to be silver in finish and on the
stuff I was using it on to be quite weak. I have also been trying
to locate some of the Washington Metals products to play with but
no luck so far. If you have some that finishes copper colored that
would be great. 

What you are looking for is copper/phosphorous brazing rod. Your
local welding supplier will have it. After it melts it will have a
grey colored surface but it looks very close to copper in color
after it is cleaned and polished. It is not very ductile and will
crack if you bend or stress the joint so make sure to do all your
forming work before soldering. There are also
copper/phosphorous/silver brazing rods that are more ductile but
depending on the silver content can start looking too pale. The
copper/phosphorous rod is used without flux on copper to copper
soldering but when joining brass or brass to copper use a paste flux.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550