Brass and Bronze?

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Cat_P wrote
on Nov 21, 2009 4:44 PM

 Can someone tell me the difference between them? Maybe this is a stupid question and probably something I could have googled but many times I see pieces made with either name but the color looks the same. Or should I say bronze looks like antiqued brass to me.

Are they the same or different?

 

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AndreaM226 wrote
on Nov 21, 2009 5:17 PM

 I have no idea Cat, I've always thought of them the way you do - you don't see a selections for bronze in many of the online shops so I would imagine it's just another term for brass, but I really don't have a clue!  Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, I'm going to go and google it right now.

 Andrea

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Cat_P wrote
on Nov 21, 2009 5:21 PM

 Thanks Andrea, see it's always good to ask cause someone else probably doesn't know either :)

I googled it after I posted this anyway and it appears they are similar. They are both alloys of copper but brass has zinc and bronze has tin. I guess that's why they look so similar.

 

 

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LitaC2 wrote
on Nov 23, 2009 11:47 AM

Cat -

You'd be surprised how often I see "brass" labeled as "bronze".  I've never send bronze as a sheet metal, though.

Lita

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Cat_P wrote
on Nov 23, 2009 12:03 PM

 That's what had me wondering Lita.

When I would browse for antique brass I find a lot of bronze. So I kept wondering what was the difference since it seemed they were so similar.

How can you tell the difference?

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 23, 2009 12:45 PM

When I think of bronze, I think of a metal that is more red in color than is brass.  Maybe there is more copper in bronze than there is in brass. 

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Kokopelli wrote
on Nov 24, 2009 5:37 AM

I knew it has something to do with the alloy that separates bronze and brass, but I didn't know exactly and so I looked it up for you.

Brass is a golden looking alloy, made from copper and zinc.

Bronze is a more red/copperish looking alloy, made from copper and often tin, but can contain other elements like phosporus, manganese, aluminium or silicon.

Hope that helps and I looked it up on wikipedia, just to know. We always learn, right? Big Smile

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Erin@76 wrote
on Nov 24, 2009 11:07 AM

Raw brass is yellow. If you antique it, its sort of golden greenish brown. Raw bronze is closer to the color of bright copper, but more orange and less pink. Bronze is a color right between brass and copper. If you antique it, it goes the color of an old penny.

Many base metals are being sold as "antique brass" or "bronze" as descriptions of the color, not the actual metal. I buy jumprings and chain from the ring lord, and they carry real solid brass and bronze with no finish. You can patina it yourself, or use it without patina (it will develop its own patina over time with no extra help).

Also, real bronze is very hard and stiff to work with. I have some 16 gauge jump rings that are incredibly hard to open and close. Same with wire. Brass is harder than copper (which is very soft) but not as hard as bronze. If you buy the craft wire that is sold as "vintage bronze" color (supposed to match Vintaj natural brass) it is copper wire with an enamel color coating.

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 24, 2009 6:34 PM

Erin:
You can patina it yourself, or use it without patina (it will develop its own patina over time with no extra help).

Erin, do you know how to patina (antique) brass yourself?  I would like to know.  I have some raw brass earwires that I'd like to antique, but don't know how.

 

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Mimz2 wrote
on Nov 24, 2009 11:43 PM

and Pewter and Pleez and the shiney and the matte... Everytime I go into the LBS they use a different name! No matter how many times they try to explain and describe it to me, I never get it. I just stay with the simple "Do you have the antique gold? Great."

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Erin@76 wrote
on Nov 25, 2009 2:43 PM

Sherri S.:
do you know how to patina (antique) brass yourself?

There are lots of ways--they make antiquing solutions that you can buy, like liver of sulphur, or there's one I remember seeing on monsterslayer.com that is more of a "browning" agent. Or you can baste it with cooking oil and bake in the oven.I've never tried that.

I do an easy cheap trick of taking a few cotton balls soaked with amonia and put them in a small zip lock baggie with the jump rings I want to antique. Seal the baggie and they will start to darken right away. If you leave them in there long enough, they will go completely black. The bad thing about this method is you usually don't get an even finish. Its sort of splotchy, but I kind of like them that way.

Erin

 

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 25, 2009 6:19 PM

Erin:

Sherri S.:
do you know how to patina (antique) brass yourself?

There are lots of ways--they make antiquing solutions that you can buy, like liver of sulphur, or there's one I remember seeing on monsterslayer.com that is more of a "browning" agent. Or you can baste it with cooking oil and bake in the oven.I've never tried that.

I thought liver of sulfur was only for antiquing silver?  What I don't like about it is that either the item or the LOS has to be hot to work. I am more interested in a browning agent, so I'll check out monsterslayer.  Thanks for that tip!  :o)

 

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Erin@76 wrote
on Nov 26, 2009 11:05 AM

Sherri S.:
I thought liver of sulfur was only for antiquing silver?  What I don't like about it is that either the item or the LOS has to be hot to work.

I have never used liver of sulfur on brass, but understand that you can use it on silver, copper, brass or bronze. There is a new LOS product that I want to try that is a liquid, not the chunks that you have to disolve in water. Its supposed to have a longer shelf life and be much easier to work with. They carry it at monsterslayer.com. I was going to buy some with my last order a few weeks ago, but they were out of stock. I think its about $10. They also sell it at www.cooltools.us, and have a very informative free video on how to use it. check it out!

Erin

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 29, 2009 12:56 PM

Erin:
There is a new LOS product that I want to try that is a liquid, not the chunks that you have to disolve in water. Its supposed to have a longer shelf life and be much easier to work with.

I actually have a bottle of that out in my garage that I got from Rio several years ago, but never tried it.  And I don't know if it's reusable or if I have to dispose of what I used.  It's shelf life may have already passed by now, I don't know.

But I ordered a bottle of brass aging solution from an "antique brass hardware" store online, and it comes with instructions.  We shall see how that will work.  I really want to learn how to 'antique' brass.

 Sherri S.

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Vicki@93 wrote
on Nov 29, 2009 7:47 PM

Sherri S.:
What I don't like about it is that either the item or the LOS has to be hot to work.
 

Actually liver of sulphur works cold too, just not as fast.  I've used mine hot at night and then cold the next morning too.  It's a slow process, but you can sometimes control it better if you don't have to worry that it will act too fast to get where you want it to be. 

I've also used it on raw copper. In fact, I buy 16 gauge copper from JoAnn's that has a protective coating on it.  When I want to antique it, I have to sand off the coating first.  (I'm looking into hardware stores as possible suppliers of non-protected copper.  The store closest to my house is not a deal compared to JoAnns.) 

I've never worked with raw bronze.  When I work with Vintaj, I find the head pins to be very soft, but I'm not sure what their metal content is.

Good luck with your project!  Let us know how the browning agent works.

Vicki

 

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