Brazing, like soldering and welding, is a method of permanently bonding copper and other metals using heat from a torch. You can create copper jewelry by cutting pieces of copper to the shape you desire and then bonding them by brazing with a torch. Brazing copper jewelry is an ancient metalsmith's technique that is still commonly used for jewelry making. You can find examples of brazed copper jewelry of all types and styles in stores and museums around the world.
Things You'll Need
- Brazing wire
- Charcoal block
- Annealing pan
- Binding wire or clamps
- Copper tongs
- Acid pickle bath
Clean both the brazing wire and the copper you plan to braze for your jewelry with acetone to remove dirt, grime and grease. Dip a rag in acetone and wipe the acetone saturated rag over the copper and brazing wire. Rinse with water.
Arrange the copper using pliers, or the tool of your choice, so the copper seam you plan to braze is as flush as possible.
Place the copper on a charcoal block in an annealing pan. Charcoal reflects heat and makes it easier and faster to braze copper than when working without it. Secure the copper with binding wire or clamps, if needed, so the copper does not move during the brazing process. Use a paintbrush to paint the seam with flux.
Place the clean brazing wire on the seam of the copper. Heat the copper evenly with your torch until the brazing wire begins to melt. Concentrate the heat of your torch on the brazing wire once the wire begins to melt. Use your torch to direct the brazing wire to all portions of the seam, completely brazing it.
Allow the brazed copper to cool to room temperature.
Use copper tongs to place the brazed copper jewelry into an acid pickle bath to remove all oxidation caused by brazing. Remove the copper jewelry from the acid pickle bath using the tongs and rinse with water.
Tips & Warnings
- Always use fire safety precautions when using a torch.
- "Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight; 2005
- "Metalsmithing"; Robert Ebendorf, Michael Jerry, and Thomas Markusen; 1973
- "Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths"; Heikki Seppä; 1978
- "Jewelry Concepts and Technology"; Oppi Untracht; 1982
- "The Encyclopedia of Jewelry-Making Techniques: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques"; Jinks McGrath; 1995
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