Jump to content

Supplier for tiny copper nails?


MeezerMama
 Share

Recommended Posts

I need some tiny copper nails to attach copper hinges/hardware.   Can anyone suggest a source of supply? 

 

Currently I am making my own nails since I can't find a supplier but needless to say that's pretty tedious.  I need a few dozen. 

 

I tried some #3/4 (5/32" long) Copper tacks for Shaker boxes but they are a little too big and the heads are much too large.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Copper is so soft I doubt they ever made copper nails in miniature. You can get the brass ones and plate them in a Sparex solution by adding some steel wool. The brass will have to be clean and free of any lacquer though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris - I agree with Catherine that it would very unlikely that you would find a supplier of miniature copper nails at all let alone one that would meet all your specifications.  But this web site has quite of few people that might me able to help you with a method of making your own nails that would be much easier than the one you are currently using.  Why don't you describe the nail you would want in detail; length, shaft shape and diameter, head shape, diameter and height.  Also whether the nails are to go through the other side and be clinched or the point buried in the wood.  And is the nail expected to provide the holding power to hold the hinge to the wood.

 

I also would be curious to know what function the full size hinge had and what it looked like.  I am not sure that I have ever come across a copper hinge in real life.  I have seen some bronze ones that had a copper tone, but I think all of those were attached with screws rather than nails.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What size are you looking for? One source for tiny copper rivets which you could sharpen into nails was the old model airplane suppliers. I think the brand was "Perfect", they used to make lots of little gas tanks for planes you would see in the hobby shops. I think these copper rivets were used for some kind of hinge flaps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could copper plate the heads of brass nails assuming you can get a grip on the shank. The whole nail does not have to be copper if only the head is showing. You could also do this to brass dress maker's pins and cut the to the needed length afterwards.

 

Here is how to copper plate brass objects at home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=63&v=FnJ0V7B7nKo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Thanks everyone - there were some great solutions.   

 

I was making a sorcerer's trunk.   I textured the decorative front plate using a rolling mill, and since the item did not require provenance, I used copper accents to give it a different look.  I made long copper strap hinges going across the coopered lid and extending over the front as hinged lock hasps. 

 

I tried making my own nails using "hard" copper wire but as predicted, I couldn't drive them.   This is probably fortunate because I needed over 100 and after making a few dozen copper rivets (with heads) I was no longer in the mood to make nails.  I ended up using tiny brass nails which I copper "plated" in an intentionally-contaminated jeweler's pickle solution.  After all that, using a PhotoShop prototype, I decided the copper nails made the piece look too busy so I darkened all the nails to black! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

I'm looking for brass nails to use for leather upholstered piece that I started on Monday.  Hobby Builders Supply & Micromark both have tiny nails, but hbs supply appears 4mm pins are gold plated.  Can anyone tell me if I can age these or should I look for a different product?  At least the miniature product should be "in" scale, whereas I am not sure if dressmakers straight pins heads are too large.  I'm making good progress with it, it is the shenandoah kit, but I want to improve the legs by cutting them out of cherry. 

at hbs, the 4mm length nails indicate they are gold plated in the description vs. the 6mm pins do not indicate plating but brass.  The person that I need at HBS is at a trade show at present time, so I'm wondering,  MeezerMama, where did you source your tiny nails for your trunk so I can order the same product so I can age my nails for my leather piece.

Thanks -

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tamra,

I don't know exactly where my "brass" nails came from, but it's likely that they came from HBS (brads, probably).  They were intended for electrical connections, so it's also possible that they were the gold-plated kind.  Honestly they are just a little large for most 1:12 scale things, IMO, and the heads aren't very round, either.

I aged them using "Blacken-It", which MicroMark used to sell before it was discontinued.  If you're fortunate enough to have a bottle of it lying around, it will blacken most metals except not aluminum or stainless steel - so gold plating shouldn't be an issue.  MicroMark says they will be introducing a similar product in their fall catalog, Pewter Black 4oz. (item #86755, priced $15.95). The item is not yet "live" on their website, but it is in stock and available if you call them.  I can't tell you how well it works since I haven't used it.

FWIW,  Cir-Kit sells brads on their site, it says that they are solid brass (as opposed to HouseWorks which admits to the gold plating). 

Bill Studebaker (I think) had some true nails that were nicer than the electrical brads. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply.  My friend Kim gave me a small plastic bag with treasured nails in them that were aged so beautifully, so this combined with your forum post was inspiring me.  A member from the Camp Yahoo group, had posted about aging brass using Birchwood Casey Brass Black Metal Finish (3 oz bottle $7.99 shipped).  I purchased it last Friday and it was in my mailbox on Monday - not bad. 

I will try this on the brass nails and report to the forum.  I found a bottle of the 6 mm nails this morning in my electrical supplies, and I've been working on setting those nails tonite; it is very slow.  I set 2.75" in 2.5 hours.  I've used a strong quilting straight pin to create a pilot hole then setting the nails with my strong tipped tweezers.   I think it looks good, but I will probably age them.  I haven't pushed them all the way in.  My mother in law has a leather tufted chippendale sofa, so I need to go see her sofa to make my final decision to age the nails or not, but at least it won't take as long to replace them with aged nails.  I don't think I have a stash of gold plated nails, but I do have a stash of jewelery findings so I'll test some gold plated findings and will see what happens.

I am amazed that we can file nail heads down.  I remember one of my instructors mentioning this, Geoff W perhaps?  Of course we can take a metal file to anything that is metal, but it wasn't in my vocab in my earlier life as a miniaturist.

The nails Kim gave me disappeared in the leather, so I took them out and used the brass 6 mm nails.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, WeekendMiniaturist said:

I've used a strong quilting straight pin to create a pilot hole then setting the nails with my strong tipped tweezers. 

Pete Boorum makes a good set of tweezers for setting nails like that.  He calls them a "hinge pin setting tweezer".  It has 1/8' wide flat jaws with a notch cut/filed in the lower jaw to hold the nail in there while the top jaw pushes the nail into the workpiece.

IMG_5157_600px.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those tweezers are great.  I have a pair - but I couldn't use them for this project, my pin's diameter are a little too large and I didn't want to alter the tweezers as they are very, very useful for those tiny, tiny pins for hinges.  The good news is found my tweezers in my mug, where all the very important tweezers live.  I'm going to purchase another pair if they are available the next time I see Pete & Pam; and can enlarge the opening for the larger diameter pin - if I ever try this again. 

I also used a my multi head mini hammer for the first time for this project.  This little hammer has 6 interchangeable heads, (Steel, Brass, Tapered, Dome, Ball & Plastic) and using the little hammer gently with my quilt pin definitely allowed me to work at a faster pace.  It was $9.99 (;ess 40%) from Hobby Lobby. 

The pin setting exercise on a hinge - that rings my memory; it was Geoff W who told me that I could sand the heads flush and any pin that is too large when I was using brass  or gold pins for my hinges.  He had some of the most beautiful hinges for one of our Chicago classes, I remember purchasing more from him. 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tamra, Mark Murphy had us file our nail heads and the point to make them small enough for our hinges in our Arts and Craft Secretary. It made them so small and even with the pin setting tweezers, many of us had a rate even slower than yours! It did help to work with my apron clamped to my workspace (like a jeweler's apron) so I wasn't spending an equal amount of time on the floor trying to find my freshly filed nails!

Will be anxious to see the results of your new Brass Black product. Pat and Noel Thomas gave me some many years ago that I may still have. No clue as to shelf life, so it may not be good anymore.

Martha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Last weekend I put 200 6mm nails in a piece of wood and dotted the heads with a little bit of "Brass Black Metal Finish".  I used a q-tip and followed the directions on the label as closely as possible. 

(I had to read the bottle under a magnifying glass...  is it possible to print a label with a smaller font?  I think it is a size 6pt font - I am in total denial for need of reading glasses!)

The change from brass to black was easily within a minute.  I rinsed, dried with a paper towel and then left them in my kitchen window sill for sunlight to dry them.  The instructions said to use the brand's wax as a sealer, but since I didn't know this when I ordered the product, I hit the heads of the now altered nails with a  dry brushing activity of some really thin clear nail polish... and started using them Sunday evening... I would guess I could have sprayed with lacquer. 

I have half of the nails in place of the horizontal surface of the base of the sofa; I can see now that I will  need to adjust a few to get a straigher visual line, but finish looks as I wished.  I haven't chased down any gold plated jewelry findings yet, but will do so and will let you know how the product worked in a similar manner with gold plating.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...