Question: Suggestion on Brass type to use for knife.

MT Borg

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Dec 17, 2015
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Helena Montana
I am a starting knife maker and engraver. I would like to use a nice brass for a knifes bolster, pins and for inlay. It was mentioned that I should be aware that there are a number of brass types and to get the same brass for each of the components. In searching here there appears to be a number of brasses to avoid, but not named... and none that I could name as recommended.

In looking to Wiki, they have defined a number of brasses, some which imitate gold for use in coins, so of course I would like to use those. They are: the Manganese brass and the Prince's metal.

Any recommendations on those two or what would you suggest. Thank you for all your replies.
 

DanM

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You might want to look at "jeweler's brass" ,CDA #230 alloy (85% copper/15% zinc) which looks a bit like 14K yellow gold. Also called NuGold,Merlin's gold,etc.,but you would need to check the alloy content before ordering as the named alloys are not always the same formula.
 
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All brass will tarnish.The only copper alloy that won´t ´are aluminum-bronzes(typically used in coinage),They are difficult to file and maybe difficult to solder.
 

Ron Spokovich

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Naval brass, of which I only have a couple of the thicker pieces, is so hard that it has to be sawn. It can't be sheared well. My pieces are sawn, and all of my stockpile of other alloys is sheared. I don't know if naval brass is available in pin form, or not, and I don't know how many of the knifemakers use it.
 

Ron Spokovich

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Dec 27, 2012
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I did not mean that naval brass can't be engraved, it's just that while it can be sawn, it can be engraved. The finish may, or may not, lend itself to brightcut work with the finish you want. If you could get small samples of known grades, that's be the way to determine what's best for you.
 

monk

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i have many, many alloys of brass. i know not one from the other ! sure there's a difference between them, as one gains cutting experience, the brass will tell you how it is to be cut. an exception for me has always been brass castings. i've found most to be a problem with pits beneath the surface, as well as cutting rather like a cube of sugar. free machining brass would likely be a safe choice. i don't think of brass as being hard in the sense of the word. rather it tends to resist being cut-- sort of like some aluminum i have worked with.
 

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