How to Form Sheet Brass

Written by rick waugh
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How to Form Sheet Brass
Brass is beautiful all on its own. (brass door detail 4 image by Aaron Kohr from

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
  • Vice

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  1. 1

    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.

    How to Form Sheet Brass
    Some hammers and a small anvil are basic tools used to form sheet brass. (forge business image by Sergey Goruppa from
  2. 2

    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.

    How to Form Sheet Brass
    Metal bends into beautiful shapes. (romantic sunset over villa railings image by Steve Mann from
  3. 3

    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.

    How to Form Sheet Brass
    Use tin snips to cut sheet metal. (alligator shears image by AGphotographer from
  4. 4

    Brass plate can be filed or ground down with a file or a power grinder.

    How to Form Sheet Brass
    Files are needed to round sharp edges. (file image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

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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