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Thread: Using Copper

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Question Using Copper

    Hi everyone,

    I haven't posted on this forum very often so hope this is the right place to ask this!

    I use sterling silver for my jewellery making and would like to start using copper. I know copper is usually used for beginners to experiment with before using silver but I think some of my designs are going to look better in copper rather than silver.

    I have bought some copper wire and was just going to start using it in the same way as silver but I am getting confused about how I finish it after making the design!

    I am guessing I can't put copper in my normal pickle solution as I would with silver as this would be like putting metal tweezers in???

    Also how do I polish it? Again I am assuming I can't put it in my polishing barreling machine with the silver?

    I am not making anything complicated, very simple designs but I don't want to be left with a piece of copper jewellery that I can't get back to it's nice coppery tone!

    Any advice is really appreciated, thank you!

    Antonia

  2. #2
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    Don't pickle it or polish it when there's silver in the pickle or polisher and it won't plate the silver. It might be best to run the barrel with just the shot afterwards to make sure there's no residue on it.

    Otherwise, have at it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ps_bond View Post
    It might be best to run the barrel with just the shot afterwards to make sure there's no residue on it.
    Or even have a separate barrel and shot, to save time.

    Copper does not retain its best brightness for long, so some people coat it. Protectaclear seems a favourite. http://everbritecoatings.co.uk/small...ting-151-p.asp

    Copper coloured solder is sometimes asked for, and I have used this one: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/2277...FS8z0wodUssKNQ
    It is very hard and needs rolling or hammering flat before snipping.

    Lastly, beautiful patinas appear when heating selectively with a torch alone, and are long lasting, but disappear if waxed. Dennis.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cl Copper Leaf Brooch 2.jpg  

  4. #4
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    I dont pickle copper but it goes in the tumbler with my silver stuff, I only use copper to embellish my rings or pendants, so not a lot of copper on it, but probably about half a cm x half a cm. Do brass the same way. I havent had any disasters yet.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ps_bond View Post
    Don't pickle it or polish it when there's silver in the pickle or polisher and it won't plate the silver. It might be best to run the barrel with just the shot afterwards to make sure there's no residue on it.

    Otherwise, have at it.
    I regularly tumble my copper/silver completed pieces together, as they are already made and haven't had any issues. What do you mean by residue Peter?
    Jules

  6. #6
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    I think the concern was whether metallic copper would rub off on the shot and would then discolour silver. Thinking about it, the soap solution probably prevents that as it does with brass brushes, which if used dry give silver a strange colour cast.

  7. #7
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    I suspect I'm very cavalier about the whole thing. I cheerfully use one pickle pot for both silver and copper (both separately and together - bearing in mind that some designs use both metals) and happily put them in the same polishers, both magnetic and tumbler.

    I've yet to have any problem.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2014
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    Me too George, I use the same pickle pot for gold too although don't use a polisher.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    I suspect I'm very cavalier about the whole thing. I cheerfully use one pickle pot for both silver and copper (both separately and together - bearing in mind that some designs use both metals) and happily put them in the same polishers, both magnetic and tumbler. I've yet to have any problem.
    Google says it's Chevaleuse. That would account for Sarah too.

  10. #10
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    Haha! are we a bad influence Dennis?
    We can always go and sit in the norty corner

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