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Question about brass shim stock & metal working
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11 posts in this topic

I need to tap into the forum's experience... I need a malleable brass sheet that I can shape, but I need it, in theory to be thick enough to still cut it with a jeweler's saw, in the event I cannot cut it with some kind of metal cutting shears.

Any thoughts about thickness of brass?  and size of jewelers saw blades you would use?  It appears that shim stock is Type 260 and half hard from online metal suppliers.

I am finding an assortment from Amazon and Zoro, etc, etc...

Brass Shim Stock Assortment, Number of Pieces 12, Thickness Range 0.001-0.015 Inch, 6 x 12 Inches, Cold Rolled, Half Hard Type 260 Brass

And dead soft brass from Rio Grande...

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Jewelers-Brass-6-x-12-Sheet-16-Ga-Dead-Soft/130116

I welcome your comments.

Tamra

 

 

 

 

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I get brass products from onlinemetals.com. They are located in Seattle WA. They are great to deal with and have fair prices. 

Guy

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How thin do you want Tamra? K&S sell a packet of brass shim with a few different thicknesses in there, as soon as it is too thin for a jeweller's saw it so thin that you can cut it easily with all purpose scissors. The thinnest sheet I have is thinner than the tin foil that is used for cooking.

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Thanks Guy & Elga for the response.  Guy I have also purchased from Online metals last year; just wish I had ordered an assortments of metal;  ie, nickel silver in round and sheet stock, brass is multiple dimensions...  I don't have a local online metals location, so I have to pay the shipping; I need to go and check out the store in Fort Wayne, Indy or Chicago next time I am in a larger city.  I do have a MSC distribution center within 7 miles of me, but they mark everything up so you have to spend more to get a more reasonable price.... the MSC distribution center is like a candy store though...place order, drive 7 miles, pick up order; happy customer - continue working on project.

I called K & S yesterday, and they use 260 brass and the bendable brass is NOT available in sheets... I think this is going to require some experimenting...as I don't know what will work or not work.  I'll look for the .005 rolled stuff from K & S at the hobby store options this weekend...   Elga, if I understand what I am reading on the jewelers websites; I think the .001 brass sheets that you are referring to, that is thinner then household aluminum foil is used for gold leaf.  I never understood why gold leaf was so inexpensive... but now I think I understand.  I will have to find my packet someday and see the content disclosure statement on the package.

Tamra

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I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're looking for. You can easily anneal brass by heating it with a torch until it's red hot. That makes it soft enough to shape. 

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Yes, I do remember annealing brass in a class once... I am trying my best to avoid hot metal and flames! I am only willing to flame acrylic edges for shelves over my kitchen stove at home - just don't tell my husband.

Micro thin foil is available in wonderful colors with the cricut supplies, the rose gold color was beautiful; don't know what I would do with it but it is beautiful, and while I didn't purchase any, I am guessing that this is the thickness of gold leaf sold in the small packets at our US craft retailers... I have access to Michael's, Hobby Lobby & Joann Fabric and Crafts.

I did find a roll of brass sheet at Michael's; I'm gathering ideas and supplies for my summer project--- just trying to finish a few things before I start something else.

 

 

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I believe gold leaf is much thinner than foil. I'll be interested in seeing what you do this summer!

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Yes, I do agree that metal foil is thicker then metal leaf.  I was pleased to find a copy of the Rio Grande catalog delivered this morning to my doorstep... and they also have lovely metal leaf available in beautiful colors in this catalog - yep another hour of my life gone to browsing a paper catalog.  I hope someone purchases some metal leaf and gives us ideas for its use.  Obviously we can use gold leaf for furniture, but so many lovely colors available now.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dead soft can be a bit more difficult to saw. I prefer to glue down really thin stock, it also means you can have a long grab handle to work with without needing a big piece of metal. Use burr-life or a bar of french milled soap/ cheap hotel soap on the saw blade. Sawing sounds happy when it is going well.

If you want to saw thin metal sheet, glue it to a piece of thin scrap wood (shims work great) with a water soluble glue like a cheap white school glue. Let the glue dry, then use a very fine tooth blade - ideally three teeth are the thickness of the metal. You can also glue several layers together with pieces of paper between each metal sheet (works to make wood multiples too),

Once the sawing is done, soak the stack in water to dissolve the glue. We do this when sawing very thin sheets of metal for jewelry.

A chart for selecting saw blade size:

https://www.riogrande.com/Content/Saw-Blade-Specification-CG-html

I love the 8/0 laser gold blades, but check they are facing the right directions when putting into saw frame. I use my finger and magnifiers to double check.

To anneal brass you can use a creme brulee torch or heat in flame of gas stove. Here is a link:

http://www.jewelryartistsnetwork.com/index/annealing-101/

Brass has many different alloys with differing properties. Many contain zinc, so always anneal in a well ventilated area. Also, it will oxidize every time you anneal it. You can "pickle" in a warm citric acid solution if you don't want the work pre-antiques or plan to solder it.

There is a brass called Nu Gold available "dead soft" from Rio Grande (and others) that I have used for metal forming. Rio has as thin as 26 gauge - 016" (0.41mm).

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/jewelers-brass-6-x-12-sheet-26-ga-dead-soft/130126

Here is a link to chart of what gauge numbers mean:

http://www.engineersedge.com/gauge.htm

Most cities have somewhere that offers introduction jewelry classes. Junior Colleges can have really reasonably priced classes and in one semester you can learn so much that you will use making miniatures.

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Thanks Lynda for the additional info, you have shared some helpful tips  for my metal working quest.  I have briefly looked at educational opportunities locally, spring and summer classes would be ideal as I am not retired 4th and 1st quarters of each year are very busy so no energy to do any serious creating... but I do like this suggestion.  We do have a new makerspace that I can tap into, but it is a fledgling makerspace and not as advanced as I would like.

 

 

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Thanks you for all the info Lynda--

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