Clockmakers Brass

wgriffin

NAWCC Member
Oct 22, 2018
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Niskayuna, NY
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Team,
I am looking for some help in finding sources for clock makers brass.
Specifically, I am looking for 3/16" plate made of half-hard leaded-brass (similar to CDA353). I have looked into Online Metals, which does have leaded brass but isn't very hard (~quarter hard, Rockwell B53), but it also seems to be fairly expensive ($200 for a 3/16" thick 12"x12" plate). It is even more on MSC. McMaster does have half-hard 353 at .15" 12"x12" for $100. But not sure how the thinner plate would affect the design...(I am planning to build WR Smith's single-train weight-driven skeleton wall clock and would need to review the design details more closely). i have also contacted a couple of metal supply companies, but they typically don't cut material and want to sell a 96" long sheet.
So for a reality check:
- Are there other places to order clock brass plates?
- Is the hardness super critical?
Thanks,
Wes
 

Allan Wolff

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Mar 17, 2005
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Tulsa, OK
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Wes,
I have had good luck with McMurray Metals. You will need to call them for pricing or to place an order. You will want the CDC353 Brass Sheet. Even with shipping and cut charges, I have found that their prices are lower than anyone else and their service has been great.
Allan
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

Registered User
Dec 18, 2020
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53
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Re hardness I suspect the clock will last a long time anyhow! Just a thought but you could make the plates with bushes (hard drawn wire bushes) so the hardness of the plate is immaterial? Also, unleaded is a pig to cut / machine, you want a bit of lead in there to make life easier. In the UK that is called CZ120. If you change the thickness of the plate you might change the length of the pivots accordingly. The thickness of the plate at the bearing surface should be pivot length minus end-shake.
 

wgriffin

NAWCC Member
Oct 22, 2018
9
0
1
Niskayuna, NY
Country
Wes,
I have had good luck with McMurray Metals. You will need to call them for pricing or to place an order. You will want the CDC353 Brass Sheet. Even with shipping and cut charges, I have found that their prices are lower than anyone else and their service has been great.
Allan
Allan,
Many thanks for the suggestion. I have e-mailed them today to see if they are willing do do the custom size cutting. Thanks again.
Weston
 

wgriffin

NAWCC Member
Oct 22, 2018
9
0
1
Niskayuna, NY
Country
Re hardness I suspect the clock will last a long time anyhow! Just a thought but you could make the plates with bushes (hard drawn wire bushes) so the hardness of the plate is immaterial? Also, unleaded is a pig to cut / machine, you want a bit of lead in there to make life easier. In the UK that is called CZ120. If you change the thickness of the plate you might change the length of the pivots accordingly. The thickness of the plate at the bearing surface should be pivot length minus end-shake.
Thanks for the suggestions. I had not thought much about using bushing material... that could work and then I could use any grade. But as you suggest and based on what I have read, I'll stick with the leaded brass. And good point on the plate thickness... I will have to review the design and check for other impacts/changes that I may have to account for in the various parts. I would hate to build myself into a corner.
PS. I have watched a couple of your videos and have learned quite a bit. Thanks!
 

wgriffin

NAWCC Member
Oct 22, 2018
9
0
1
Niskayuna, NY
Country
I bought some 3/16" 353 1/2 hard from Sequoia Brass and Copper. They have a website.
I used it for the plates on WR Smith Skeleton Clock.
Thanks Kim, I will give them a call as they do show reasonable sizes... although shipping 3k miles to NY might sting a little :)
 

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