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How to glue sheet copper to wood

Updated February 21, 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.

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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.

  1. Load the disk sander with a 60-grit disk.

  2. Lay the copper sheet face down on a sturdy surface.

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

  4. Turn off the sander.

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

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

  7. 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.

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

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

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

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

  12. Lay the batten over the centre of the cork sheet.

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

  14. Tighten each G-clamp snugly.

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

  16. Allow the assembly to dry for at least 12 hours.

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Things You'll 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

About the Author

A Chicago-based copywriter, Andy Pasquesi has extensive experience writing for automotive (BMW, MINI Cooper, Harley-Davidson), financial services (Ivy Funds, William Blair, T. Rowe Price, CME Group), healthcare (Abbott) and consumer goods (Sony, Motorola, Knoll) clients. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Harvard University but does not care for the Oxford comma.

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