Sheet brass, with its rich colour and malleability, can be made into many beautiful and useful objects. It is suitable for jewellery, sculpture and practical household items. Brass has been in use since at least Roman times, and hand-formed artefacts still exist from many different eras. Unlike gold, brass must be polished, otherwise a patina will slowly form and spread on the surface.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Small ball peen hammer
- Small anvil
- Sheet brass
- Wood blocks
- Tin snips
- Hand files
Beat brass into the desired shape with a ball peen hammer. Place the sheet over various corners and surfaces of an anvil and strike it with the hammer to achieve many different shapes.
Hollow out a bowl in a block of wood. Place a sheet of brass over the depression and hammer down to create a bowl.
Bend brass plate by putting it in a vice and hammering the upright end downward and flat. Mechanical bending machines are also available, but this is not the kind of equipment most hobbyists have in their homes. Homemade bending jigs can be made using hinges and hardwood.
Cut brass plate with tin snips or a hacksaw. Plate can also be cut with a cold chisel and hammer, but this leaves a messy edge that must be filed or ground down. Plate can be drilled and holes can be created with a metal punch and a hammer. Shaped punches can be used to make designs in the metal's surface.
Brass plate can be filed or ground down with a file or a power grinder.
Tips and warnings
- Thick sheet metal can be difficult to shape, depending on how strong you are, how much time you have, and what you want to make. Twenty-four gauge sheet metal is a good thickness to start with, but try samples of different gauges.
- Always be very careful when cutting or handling sheet metal. You can cut yourself very easily with a sharp edge.
- Wear eye protection when working with metal, especially when cutting or grinding.
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