How to Soften Copper

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Copper is a bendable, flexible metallic element that's normally reddish-brown in color. If you hit it repeatedly, it becomes harder. On the other hand, copper can be softened even more than it naturally is. You may want to soften copper so you can bend it without crushing it or distorting its shape. To do this, you'll need to apply a sufficient amount of heat to it, then cool it. Read on to find out how to soften copper.

Things You'll Need

  • Basin
  • Long-handle pliers
  • Propane torch
  • Flint striker
  • Fill the basin up with cold water and set it near your work station. Slowly open the valve on the propane torch just until you hear some hissing. Hold the flint striker a few inches in front of the torch tip. Squeeze the striker to ignite the propane torch.

  • Adjust the flame on the torch so it's an inch to 2 inches long. You'll need a very hot, but rather gentle flame to soften copper.

  • Hold the copper firmly with a pair of long-handle pliers. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat---that's why you can't hold it with your hand while you soften it. The pliers will keep the heat away from you.

  • Heat the copper with the propane torch by slowly moving the flame across it. Make sure you heat the entire piece. Continue to soften the copper until it changes to a red color.

  • Shut the propane torch off. Put the copper in the basin of cold water to cool it down. The faster it cools, the softer it will become. Once the copper has cooled, you'll be able to bend it with your fingers.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you hold the torch flame against the copper without keeping it moving, you'll end up melting it.

References

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