jewellery grade copper
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Joined: September 26, 2008
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jewellery grade copper
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Posted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:08 pm
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where do you folks find your copper for jewellery??? i can get stuff from the local hardware depot, but it doesn't have the sheen i'm seeing.
same for gold and silver? are there any preferred jewellery supply places you reccommend?

Joined: August 10, 2005
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Posted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:37 pm
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Copper is copper, as long as it's pure copper you can shine it up yourself.
For silver and gold a precious metal dealer is always better than a shop, you'll get a better deal.
I use suppliers in the UK so I won't list them here but I'm sure others will have some suggestions.


Maille Code
V2.0 T7.3 R5.4 Ep Feur MAg/Cu Wm$ Cbjpw$ G0.5/3.0 I1.5/12.0 N322.150 Pajs Dacdjsw Xa7g631p4t24w64 S88 Hipsu

Joined: September 26, 2008
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Posted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:12 pm
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ok then, for polishing copper wire...what's the best option? tumbling?

Joined: June 02, 2007
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Posted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:41 pm
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I think tumbling is the best option for polishing almost every kind of metal.


Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae. [Of all these the Belgians are the bravest/strongest.]
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Joined: August 10, 2005
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Posted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:46 pm
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Vinegar - a bath in vinegar for a few seconds then wash with soap and water, of course tumbling is good too but this is cheaper (if you don't have a tumbler) and quicker. You can do this with finished pieces.


Maille Code
V2.0 T7.3 R5.4 Ep Feur MAg/Cu Wm$ Cbjpw$ G0.5/3.0 I1.5/12.0 N322.150 Pajs Dacdjsw Xa7g631p4t24w64 S88 Hipsu

Joined: June 22, 2007
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Posted on Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:07 am
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Oh, tumbling gives the best results by far. Get one - you will be glad you did because it's well worth the money. I have the Lortone 3A, with stainless steel shot.

Although I would recommend removing tarnish before tumbling. So, yes, go with the vinegar suggestion above.

Joined: July 15, 2008
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Posted on Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:04 pm
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This is the complete newb question. Is the tumbling only for freshly cut rings, or do you put finished non-delicate pieces in as well? Also, when working with metals like copper, brass and bronze does anyone wear gloves during the contruction to keep oils from transfering from the fingers to the metal to slow down tarnishing?

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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:38 am
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well i've heard of washing your rings afterwards with soap and water, then rinsing and drying them well to remove oils and whatnot. then i guess you just tumble them clean.

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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:42 am
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I've thought about the glove idea. Specifically, something like a white, thin (cotton, perhaps?) glove. Haven't actually gotten around to trying it, yet.


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"When you have bigger wire, you make bigger maille. It's neat like that." -Cynake, January 15, 2009

Joined: July 15, 2008
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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:17 am
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Elemental Dragon wrote:
I've thought about the glove idea. Specifically, something like a white, thin (cotton, perhaps?) glove. Haven't actually gotten around to trying it, yet.


While cotton gloves like the kind typical thought of for handling antique books sounds like a good idea, I believe that power-free rubber gloves might make a better choice simply due to greater tactile feeling. If you happen to be latex allergic, there are alternatives that can be found in most any medical supply site online.

Here's something interesting I came across...

Acid - What's the Big Deal?
by Sam Dalton

It was somewhere around five years ago that the subject of acid hit the scrapbooking world. Before that, we did little about it—primarily because we didn’t know that much about it. Professional preservationists knew about it. Computer manufacturers knew about it. As did archaeologists. And even though there were rumblings among scrapbookers about acid, most of us back then didn’t pay much attention to all the brouhaha. Well things have changed. Today acid sits right up there with fingerprints and lint as one of the most egregious perpetrators of damage. We spend hundreds of dollars on acid-free products—everything from papers to pens—just to make sure our scrapbooks remain as archivally safe as possible. Yet there is one element we’re missing—one very important link in the acid-free chain. Our hands.

Here are four points you should consider about acidity on your hands:
Is it really that bad?
Our hands are naturally acidic. They register on a pH scale at 5.5. That’s a little less acidic than black coffee, which registers at 5.0. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral—or acid-free. In a recent tip sheet entitled “Tips on Preserving Photographs: Helpful tips for preserving your precious documents and memorabilia” published by the Iowa Conservations and Preservation Consortium, researchers emphatically stated “the acids in human skin oils will cause permanent damage over time.”

What about gloves?
While preservationists, and even most stamp collectors, have worn gloves while handling materials for some time, scrapbookers have not picked up this habit. Let’s be honest. How many of us really wear gloves? Cotton gloves are uncomfortable and surgical gloves make our hands sweat. Both leave us with little tactile sensation in our fingertips, hampering creativity.

Can’t you just wash your hands?
Washing your hands usually gets rid of all contaminates—except acid. In fact, when you wash your hands with common bar or liquid soap (which are very high in alkalinity), your body compensates for the sudden rise in alkalinity on your hands by going into acid production “overdrive.” You would be better off to simply rinse your hands in clear water.

Why can’t you just wipe off your fingerprints?
The problem is not fingerprints. It’s the acid in fingerprints, which stays even after you’ve wiped the fingerprints off the materials you’ve touched. Of course fingerprints are unsightly and should be wiped off with a lint-free cloth, even if your bare hands have been acid neutralized.

In conclusion, what can you do to protect your photos and paper from the acid in your hands?
Gloves are effective; But they’re not very practical when working with materials that require a delicate sense of touch. Ask the folks who handle microchips. If you prefer not to wear gloves, you might consider a new acid-neutralizing lotion that has just come on the market. The lotion, called Hands Off™, provides about two hours of work time with each application, and you get to work with your bare hands. Just remember you’ll still have to wipe off your fingerprints. Only this time you won’t be leaving behind a splotch of acid.


Not sure how much this would effect tarnishing, but it certainly offers another interesting alternative to gloves.

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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:25 pm
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i used to play handbells... which are made of brass. we had to be VERY careful at all times not to get even the slightest fingerprint on them, or even hold the handle without gloves (the white cloth kind) on. A fingerprint would turn into a big black spot within days, which would take a lot of work to get back off.

i can imagine that copper-based rings would have the same problem, although they're easier to clean - you can't just dip the handbells in vinegar. Smile

as for gloves, i use 'nitrile' gloves almost exclusively. not only are they non-latex, but they're resistant to lots of chemicals as well. the ones i have right now are from Costco... they work great for everything i use 'em for. Although i haven't tried weaving with them on, i haven't had trouble with tactile feedback at all.

one other thing about latex... from what i understand, those who are allergic to it can be sensitive to very small amounts. i don't know if it's possible to get enough residue from the gloves on your jewelry that it'd make someone have problems with it, but it might be worthwhile not using latex at all just to be safe.

Joined: March 21, 2004
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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:41 pm
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I usually dip my copper and brass pieces in lemon juice and water for a few minutes. 1/2 and 1/2. Then I give it a good rinse and let it dry. woks for me... although the 'non-tarnish gold wire' from darice turns a nice red when exposed to the lemon juice. so much for non tarnish.

I've also used (don't laugh) tobasco sauce. I have brass drains in my kitchen sink and after cleaning up after buffalo wings one night I noticed that the drains were exceptionally shiney. after a couple experiments i determined that not only is hot pepper sauce delicious, it's also a sooper metal cleaner. I began using a diluted solution on my copper beer brewing heat exchanger. works like a charm... but it's a bit expensive.

and I have read (but not tried) watered down ketchup. I would assume that any mild acid would clean any of these kinds of metal no matter where it comes from.

also great info on the tumblers guys. I have been considering one for some time but when faced with a choice between wire or a tumbler, i have always chosen the wire. =D And I also wonder if the consensus was tumbling pre or post assembly.


Hail to the king, baby.

Joined: June 27, 2008
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Posted on Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:20 pm
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Dreemr- I always tumble AFTER assembly- My usual/preferred metal is silver- (and, lately, copper-) Several months ago, I had to buy some pre-made rings, at a local silver shop, to finish a project. They were very nice rings, but waaaay over-tumbled, and difficult to work with due to the high-shine and the slickness of the rings. (It's not a shop specializing in maille supplies, and I'd had to buy them by the number, instead of weight... Surprised )
I don't have burring problems, but I use Kodiak's tip of keeping a piece of sanding foam block at hand when weaving, to brush away sharp edges.
Anyway- In my tumbler, I first do a white rice tumble, to get the crap off the rings, and then I do a walnut shell tumble- with strips of silver polishing cloth thrown in, for a shine. Then I give them a light wipe-down with another polishing cloth, when I take them out.
As fo my enameled copper, I put them in a bowl of lemon juice and salt. Agitate them a bit, with my fingers, as I pass by, and after a day or 2, rinse with water and lay out to dry.


A friend will help you move... A true friend will help you move the body.

Maille CodeV1.0T4.1R3.8FbyzMtWhCwG1.290/0.511I6.5/2.0PjDjS08

Joined: March 21, 2004
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Posted on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:49 am
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awesome! thank you very much for the info.


Hail to the king, baby.

Joined: June 27, 2008
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

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Posted on Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:04 am
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Oops- I kinda got away from the initial question... Rolling Eyes As I've said in other copper-related posts, here, I use scrap copper, of which my boyfriend has an endless supply.... From electric guitar pick-ups, to telephone wire, to commercial grade construction wire, etc... Very Happy


A friend will help you move... A true friend will help you move the body.

Maille CodeV1.0T4.1R3.8FbyzMtWhCwG1.290/0.511I6.5/2.0PjDjS08

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