How to glue sheet copper to wood

Written by andy pasquesi | 13/05/2017

Reflective, colourful and malleable, copper and its alloys have been prized by architects and blacksmiths since time immemorial. Today, however, copper sheeting backed with wood (as opposed to full-thickness metal) is the preferred medium for most craftsmen.

Whether the copper sheet is flat or embossed, the gluing procedure is basically the same: etching the metal's undersurface, applying liquid epoxy and clamping with a batten (i.e., long, flat piece of wood) to set overnight.

Load the disk sander with a 60-grit disk.

Lay the copper sheet face down on a sturdy surface.

Turn the sander on and apply it to the sheet, creating a pattern of circular etch marks across the entire back surface.

Turn off the sander.

Soak a rag in lacquer thinner and thoroughly polish the newly-etched surface with it. Give the surface 30 minutes to air dry.

Pour 3M Fastbond 30NF liquid adhesive into an empty 1-quart paint can until the container is two-thirds full.

Dip the paintbrush into the liquid adhesive and paint a thin layer onto the area of the wood where you plan to attach the copper sheet.

Paint a thin layer of adhesive onto the entire etched surface of the copper sheet.

Lay the copper sheet on top of the wood so that the two adhesive-coated surfaces meet.

Lay a sheet of 4 Mil. plastic sheeting over the entire copper sheet.

Lay a sheet of 1/8"-thick cork on top of the plastic sheeting.

Lay the batten over the centre of the cork sheet.

Attach a G-clamp around the top of the batten and bottom of the wood every 8 inches.

Tighten each G-clamp snugly.

Remove excess adhesive from around the edge of the copper sheet.

Allow the assembly to dry for at least 12 hours.

Things you need

  • Batten (a long, flat strip of wood at least 1.5" thick)
  • Disk sander
  • 60-grit sander disk
  • 4 Mil. plastic sheeting
  • 1/8" cork sheets
  • 3M Fastbond 30NF liquid adhesive
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Rags
  • Three to eight G-clamps
  • Empty 1-quart paint can
  • Paint Brush

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