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Bronze for the first time


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Hello everyone!

I need advice from people who have used bronze before. I am using bronze for the first time for my sword fitting. Pommel and guard mostly. I have never used bronze beforehand my questions are what type should I use. Should I lean more towards a silicon alloy or tin? Also where is the best place to find bronze stock? I have looked online and it had been more difficult then I at first anticipated.

Any advice will be much appreciated!


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Do you mind paying for international shipping from halfway around the world or will you tell us where you are at?  What colour do you want?  How much exposure to weather will it see?  Will you be casting the pieces or fabbing them? How much wear will it get?  Will it need to resist impact/shearing?  How much can you spend on it?


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Are you forging it or just stock removal?  If forging go with a silicone bronze, and don't work it past a dull red heat.  Or else.  

Fair warning, bronze is not cheap.  Here in the USA I've always ordered from Atlas Metals.  Google them, if we were in the knifemaking section I'd give you a link but everywhere else on IFI commercial links are a no-no. 

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 In the US,  try Alaska Copper and Brass in Seattle , Portland or San Diego or Atlas Metals in Denver.

For small quantities in limited alloys try onlinemetals.

For forging, best to use silicon bronze or naval bronze . Naval bronze in my experience is easier to forge with a slightly wider range of forging temperatures. Also quite a bit cheaper .

Silicon bronze is a bit redder in color, but they both look about the same with age or a darkening patina.

Be prepared for some expensive mistakes if you forge it hot . Temperature is  really critical with the material falling to pieces above an orange heat , but it moves easily at orange all the way down to black heat. It shows tool  and hammer work beautifully and is great for carving and stamping with hot work chisels.

I make all my hot work chisels and gouges with thin sharp edges or narrow profiles from S-1 , forged at yellow and allowed to cool in air.

The bronzes weld well with Mig with a HE-Argon- Co2 mix and a fair amount of preheat . Also can be Tigged with He. or gas welded with bronze rod.

I just finished up the last bit of a 4' x 8' sheet of 1/4'' Naval Bronze plate that I bought about 15 years ago for about $1,200 . Probably double that now.

Free machining  leaded yellow brass  is less expensive and  is noticeably easier to file ,saw, drill or machine than the bronzes but difficult to weld.  I doubt that it is forgeable because of the lead and high zinc content.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, welcome to the club.

Have no experience of forging bronze or welding with process 141/142 (TIG), solder it ones with silver wire. The bronze guards I made are from ALU/Bronze witch is easier to drill, saw or hone down.

Pure bronze is quit hard but easier to cast.

But how several members already mentioned it depends what you are going to do.

Here in Belgium the Bronze is also expensive between 6 and 10 USD/lbs scrap/pure certified ingots.

Good luck, Hans

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  • 2 months later...

Just finished my first alloy-project and made from 6lbs pure copper and 12oz pure tin (Sn) a nice badge of bronze. Because of difficulties and expensive effort to get pure bronze base material I decide to make my own bronze ingots. Quit an exiting process, but after all very nice to see the result.

Started to melt the copper on 1980°F without a pyrometer (slow spinning of the liquid metal in the crucible). I flux the melting bad and remove most of the dross. Pre-heat the tin on top of the furnace and add it slowly to the crucible. The alloy was swallowed by the base material without any huge signs of oxidation. And yes, I stirred the stuff to make shure I have a good mixture of the alloy, despite of the advice to avoid this -but without temperature control I couldn’t relay on the physical laws.

Practice the rehearsal in the good ventilated solid forge shop outside with all kinds of recommended PPE’s like helmet + face shield, mask, safety boots, leather apron, high temperature gloves and so on.

Ready for the next badge and keep on rolling (melting)

Cheers, Hans     



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As you heat the metal to a liquid it will often absorb gasses from the furnace/air and release them as it cools making spongy casts full of bubbles. (copper is particularly bad about this). There are methods  that can be used to degas a melt before pouring; some of them quite archaic in process. A major copper scrap refiner used to dump an entire tree in the melt of several tons of copper---and had their process designed to allow them to do this safely! I've used a VERY DRY charcoal rod to degas copper by stirring it.  For Aluminium a nitrogen bubbler can be used.  I suggest researching your alloy and how it's handled.

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Make it? Good heavens no, I'm not even remotely interested in that. I'm not set up enough for it, plus the moisture here worries me for melting any metals. If online metals can be believed though, I can buy it in 1/8th x 1" x 12" sections for what I consider a reasonable price.

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Hi Gents, my bronze is ‘brewed’, like our beer, after the German ‘Reinheitsgebot’ (pureness regulation)  zo 10/12% tin and 88/90% copper no more no less, like a pouring/cast bronze has to be.

If you talk about phosphor bronze, or aluminium bronze of even arsenic bronze, this are bronzes with a specific use, to made it extra hard, more resistant to salt water or acids or got a good turning result on the lathe.

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19 hours ago, genesaika said:

Make it? Good heavens no, I'm not even remotely interested in that. I'm not set up enough for it, plus the moisture here worries me for melting any metals

this thread is about making bronze and you asked about this flavor of it so I assumed you did.

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