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I made a split cross out of 1inch stock tonight and I wanted to give it a brushed brass look.  Once I had forged the cross I cooled it off then wire wheeled the scale.  Then i heated it back up and brushed it with my small brass brush.  After it cooled some I used a beeswax/turpentine/japan dryer mix to coat it.  It ended up bring a mostly black color with an uneven shine from the wax. I really was unhappy with the finish.  I want to know the best way to end up with a "golden" or brushed brass look in the end.  Thanks

 

 

 

Chris

 

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What I usually do is brass brush it untill you are satisfied with the finish and when you get it just where you like it ( Quench it ) and it will remain at that state of finish.

Some time I will let it set there a few minutes and watch the color transformation and quench it to stop the color where i think it looks the best.

I usually shoot it with clear laquer instead of the beeswax mixture

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It is important to remember that brass brushing is done at a black heat, generally anywhere 400-800, not even beginning to glow. Generally if you are good with the brass brush you won't need to wire brush either. If you really want to preserve a brass brush finish, instead of warming back up for the typical wax, try a clear enamel made for metals. I use it on anything which will not be in contact with food, but may need protection.  I.E. candy canes, hooks, leaves, marlinspikes, and anything else. 

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I like a brass bruch from Northern tool.  It has a yellow plastic handle.
Not all brass brushes are brass.  Check with a magnet to see if yours is steel brass coated.  It has to be nonmagnetic to work and as said before too hot also doesnt work.  You should see it start to plate then as it cools it will take more and more yellow

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I like to order brushes from these guys!  they have good prices and excellent selections... you do have to order boxes of them though... I kinda like having a nice stock on hand... pull out a new one whenever I need it!  I got started with them because I wanted some real BRONZE brushes (not just plated bristles) and they are not easy to find.  I love the bronze brushed finishes... though they are at least 5X more work than a brass brushed finish!  The bronze has a narrower window for the plating and burns away at higher heats, also heat patinas very easily... so it takes patience and perseverance to get it to look nice... be quick with the quench when you get it too!  They have nice wood handled brushes in both brass and bronze as well as any other kind of brush you might ever want!

 

http://www.brushresearch.com

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I like a brass bruch from Northern tool.  It has a yellow plastic handle.
Not all brass brushes are brass.  Check with a magnet to see if yours is steel brass coated.  It has to be nonmagnetic to work and as said before too hot also doesnt work.  You should see it start to plate then as it cools it will take more and more yellow

Can you explain what plating is?  I think the main problem I had was trying to brush the cross when it was a red heat.  I didnt realize that it had to be a cooler temp. 

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The brass brush is actually creating a very thin alloy at the surface of the steel (this is what was meant by plating... similar to a plated finish).  The action occurs at around 350 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit... so well below red heat.  You can start brushing at red heats and thereby clean scale off and this is good strategy for small thin stock that will cool quickly.  It gets a bit tedious to do that with large heavy items though, as the cool down takes a long time and guys like me get impatient!  At the higher heats the zinc in the brass just burns away.  On big stock you will also use a lot of brushes if you start out at red heats!  

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Wire brush off clean first then you may have to try it at various heats depending on sizes of brass/copper being used, you will probably find still at black heat, possibly up towards the higher range a tad. 

 

Trial and error should determine it for your situation, it's not unknown to use the edge of a brass rule when the brass brush was not available.

 

One advantage/disadvantage is you just highlight the higher forged areas, where a wire brush can cover most of, if not all of the forging it is used on.

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  • 9 months later...

Wire brush off clean first then you may have to try it at various heats depending on sizes of brass/copper being used, you will probably find still at black heat, possibly up towards the higher range a tad. 

 

Trial and error should determine it for your situation, it's not unknown to use the edge of a brass rule when the brass brush was not available.

 

One advantage/disadvantage is you just highlight the higher forged areas, where a wire brush can cover most of, if not all of the forging it is used on.

 

 

John B,

 

I have some scrap copper tubing of various diameters.  I'd like to start putting a finish on my leaves.  What would you suggest as far as making the copper more friendly?

 

Intuition tells me to thin it on the anvil or rough up the edge with a file or rough sandpaper....

 

Thanks

 

 

Mike

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John B,

 

I have some scrap copper tubing of various diameters.  I'd like to start putting a finish on my leaves.  What would you suggest as far as making the copper more friendly?

 

Intuition tells me to thin it on the anvil or rough up the edge with a file or rough sandpaper....

 

Thanks

 

 

Mike

Just split it and open it up, or use as is, depends on the tube wall thickness really, up to 1/16" (1.5mm) is OK,  the heat in the workpiece is what will transfer the copper to it,

 

 

With any scrap copper tubing, unless I needed it in its tubular shape for a project (candle holders, bulrushes/catstails?),  the first thing I do is to cut it into manageable and useful lengths, anneal, then split it and flatten out and stack ready for use.

 

What would I use it for?

 

Water features where rusting with steel or iron would be a problem,

 

Leafs, bulrushes/catstails, flower petals, cut into different sized discs for roses etc

 

The pieces can easily be used for ladies or kids classes to make roses and ornaments, ring trays/ashtrays, etc

 

It is surprising how wide a tube becomes when opened up and flattened,  

 

Have fun with it.     

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Could one take like brass filings or powders, same with bronze and copper, and take the piece to the proper heat and sprinkle the powder in? I've never played with this way of coating, I've wanted to just curious is all.

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Could one take like brass filings or powders, same with bronze and copper, and take the piece to the proper heat and sprinkle the powder in? I've never played with this way of coating, I've wanted to just curious is all.

Try it!  You'll have some success... though the brush method is generally subtler and easier.

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