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Thread: Practice metals?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    47

    Default Practice metals?

    Hello all,

    I was just wondering - what metal wire you think is best for practicing making settings and setting stones with?
    Brass, bronze, copper or silver? (or something else I haven't thought of).

    Which in your opinion would behave most similarly to gold? eg. how hard or easy it is to push claws over a stone etc.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    Best,
    Elizabeth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    South Australia
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    Default

    Copper is the usual pick, it is less expensive than Gold more similar to Silver, however most tend to use it for practice in place of of Gold, engravers brass is probably closer to gold
    although it is not readily available and needs to be ordered in Australia, don't know about the UK, I'm guessing that is your location

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
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    In our first year at college we were taught completely in what they called base metal but assume it was copper. That included setting, soldering, silversmithing, all basic skills. Once you had learnt all the skills on a cheap metal it could then be transferred to any metal.
    I know this doesn’t answer the question about gold but I think you’ll adapt your skill set to suit

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Default

    Thanks China, yes, am in the UK. Never heard of engravers brass, do you know what the difference is between it and normal brass?

  5. #5
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    Oct 2015
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    Default

    Thanks Caroline, that's helpful to hear

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    671

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    You can buy red brass/jewellers bronze/nu-gold from alchemy and ice. I love using it as it has a nicer colour than the bog standard brass

  7. #7
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    Dec 2014
    Location
    South Australia
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    Ah now you have put me on the spot, I believe engravers brass has a more consistent grain structure, producing a even "feel" and no hard spots and is a bit softer than your normal engineering type brass.
    May be known by another name in the UK. I've not purchased any for a long time I am at the stage now that I only use copper, most times I don't need to practice and I go straight to the precious metal
    Last edited by china; 14-03-2020 at 02:29 PM.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    157

    Default

    CZ120 (CW612N) Engraving Brass Alloy https://www.smithmetal.com/cz120.htm
    CZ108 (CW508L) Brass Alloy https://www.smithmetal.com/cz108.htm
    gilding metal https://www.kernowcraft.com/products...er-and-zinc-d1

    I've used CZ108 extensively for the patterns for 1/43, 1/20, and 1/9th scale model cars and motorcycles its available in sheets and wire. I can say it is very good and can be used for jewelry and engraving practice or finished pieces although your skin may turn green. Its harder than silver but can be annealed in the same way as silver and most golds.

    Gilding metal is available in sheets and is a good alternative to silver if you want to hit it with a hammer, for hand raising of beakers, goblets etc. I think the cz108 is better for jewellery.

    Copper is softer than the brass but can also be used for practice and also in combination with any other metal used for jewellery or hammer work when contrasting colours are required.

    Sterling Silver is fine for practice, it is softer than gold but it can always be melted down again if you find you don't like your finished piece.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Oh wow, lots of interesting stuff to think about. Thanks everyone. I think I will both use copper and investigate the engravers brass.
    Thanks again

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