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I Forge Iron

Forging Copper?


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Howdy guys and gals. I am new to this forum and have a question about forging some copper. I have come across some electrial buss bars that are 1/4"x 1-1/2" and have a silver coating on them. One of my projects incorperates copper bamboo in a wooden frame and I would like to make some hinges and a latch for it. Would it be safe to heat them in my propane forge without some kind of deadly fumes? Not sure about the silver coating on the copper. Thanks a lot. Mike.:confused:

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Welcome aboard Mike:

Copper buss bars often contain beryllium and are quite toxic if heated, ground, sanded, etc. anything that puts it in the air is very bad for you.

Next time you're in Seattle hit Alaska Copper and Brass (If I recall the name correctly) they carry all sizes and grades of copper, brass, bronze, etc. and you won't put your health at risk. Worth the extra money in my opinion.

Once you have some safe copper it forges wonderfully. You have to pay close attention as it work hardens or it'll split, crack and otherwise fail on you. However, once you learn what it sounds and feels like you can really do wonderful things with it.

You don't have to forge it hot but can if you like. What I do is start my general shaping cold and when it starts to work harden I put it in the forge and bring it to a low red heat and go back to forging till it starts work hardening again.

You can forge weld it too, brush clean, flux with borax and bring it to a bright red, be gentle with the hammer and it'll stick nicely.

Brass and bronze are more of a challenge to forge but some experience will do the trick. You also have to have the right alloy, some forge nicely others not at all.


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quite toxic

and Frosty receives this Sunday's Master of the Understament award :P

as in a Category 1 Carcinogen

recycle ($$) and repurchase known stock ;)

Furthermore, it can be heat-treated to improve its strength, durability, and electrical conductivity.

making it a prime candidate in a bus bar application (there are pure copper bus bars however its still a risk and you have the unknown plating) Edited by Ice Czar
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