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jukebox

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!

-Jukebox

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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?

*DETAILS*!

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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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