Advice needed for cutting brass

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Sooth, Apr 17, 2005.

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  1. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Feb 19, 2005
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    Hi, I recently bought a sheet of brass .032 thick I believe, which I need to cut to make two "swivel" type hinges for a clock door.

    My question: what can I use to cut this. It's pretty thick, and I've never cut any brass before. I know it's not a very hard metal, but the sheet I have is not too pliable, or flexible. I have minimal tools (see below). Is there a way to score it, then bend it and snap it, or should I use something like a hacksaw, then sand down the cut side, or some sort of snips?

    Tools I have currently: hacksaw, coping saw (don't know if they sell metal cutting blades for these), Dremel rotary tool...

    Suggestions? I haven't started (or tried) cutting it yet. I might even be able to use old scissors (I have those scissors that are supposed to be able to cut through a penny), or borrow a pair of tin snips for this.
     
  2. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Hi, I recently bought a sheet of brass .032 thick I believe, which I need to cut to make two "swivel" type hinges for a clock door.

    My question: what can I use to cut this. It's pretty thick, and I've never cut any brass before. I know it's not a very hard metal, but the sheet I have is not too pliable, or flexible. I have minimal tools (see below). Is there a way to score it, then bend it and snap it, or should I use something like a hacksaw, then sand down the cut side, or some sort of snips?

    Tools I have currently: hacksaw, coping saw (don't know if they sell metal cutting blades for these), Dremel rotary tool...

    Suggestions? I haven't started (or tried) cutting it yet. I might even be able to use old scissors (I have those scissors that are supposed to be able to cut through a penny), or borrow a pair of tin snips for this.
     
  3. mrb

    mrb Guest

    jewelers saw, scroll saw, band saw
     
  4. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Hey Sooth-

    Just to expand on MRB's post...

    Any saw you use will need to have at least 3 teeth per thickness of material. And yes, you will need to leave room to finish the edge.

    Tin snips, wire cutters, big scissors...all can be used to cut brass. It really depends on what shape you are trying to cut out and the thickness of the brass. Small, complex shapes are easiest with a jeweler's saw (teeth pointing towards the handle) and straight cuts are easiest with a hack saw. Finishing can be done with a file, belt sander, etc...

    Good luck with it!
     
  5. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    I'll add a couple more: My scroll saw cuts brass. I use it for heavier thicknesses. For thin brass I also sometimes use a dremel tool fitted with a cutoff disk.
     
  6. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User
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    You can get blades that will work in your coping saw also.
     
  7. Tom Kloss

    Tom Kloss Registered User
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    I did brass and copper forming for many years. Brass stock can be scored with a sharp scriber then placed in a vice, bent and broken at the scribe line. This is only good of initial "cut off" from the bar stock. The scribe line has to be heavy and, if possible, on both sides of the stock. It will leave a rough edge that has to be finished. It can alos be cut rather easly with a nibbler.

    Tom
     
  8. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Thanks for all the replies. I need to cut out two "triangles" to make some pivoting style "hinges". I can sand off the rough edges with various sanders or sandpaer/files. I think I shall look for blades for the coping saw. If not, I will use my hacksaw. I imagine it can't be harder to cut than copper.

    I'll cut off a once inch strip to start with, and we'll see how this goes.
     
  9. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Alright, I know this post is 2 months old, but a recent discussion asked memebers to make the effort to follow up with how their problem was solved.

    I managed to easily score and bend/snap the thin brass sheet using a heavy duty craft knife (like a gyproc knife) and nothing more than a hand drill and a sander (orbital) to make the hinges I needed.

    The finished hinges can be seen here, next to the original set. They're not an identical match, but they are close enough that you can't really tell the difference:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v473/sooth15/New-OldHinge.jpg
     
  10. Tom Kloss

    Tom Kloss Registered User
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    Very Nice Sooth.

    Tom
     
  11. ChrisBeattie

    ChrisBeattie Registered User
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    Very good job. Aside from patina, you really would not be able to tell the difference if you did not have the original to compare.
     
  12. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Thanks for the compliments. I plan to let the hinges patina naturally. I made sure there was no coating or anything on the brass before I installed them to the new door. This way it can oxidize normally.

    This clock is still not done. I've been working on it for months, but it looks fantastic now. I jut have the back to attach (trying to find some nice old square nails to use) and the glasses to paint (can't pick a pattern or colours...)
     
  13. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Timesavers sells square cut nails.

    timesavers.com

    Ralph
     
  14. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Hi Ralph, I did order their 1 1/2 inch nails a while back, but they are about 2-3x too wide. The ywould just tear the back to pieces. They are nearly 1/4 thick at the head.

    The only other size I haven't tried is the 1 inch but these arn't quite long enough.
     

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