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Copper forming!

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  • Copper forming!

    Anybody into working copper?

    My wife's aunt just contacted me about a project that I'm all about tackling: gas burning copper lamps. It's got a little roof, glass windows(and a door), some will hang and some will be on posts. I've done very little work with copper, but I'm all about expanding my horizons and I think this could be fun. There's a book called "Metal Techniques for Craftsmen" by Oppi Untracht that looks like it's the place to start, but I know there are some experienced guys on here that might be able to lend some insight!

    Thanks in advance,


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  • #2
    I did years ago when i was a sheet metal worker and had access to the copper and nice tools to work it. I have 1 piece left i made in high school...Bob
    Bob Wright


    • #3
      ive brazed, soldered and tig welded copper. the key to anything copper is cleaning it very very well.


      • #4
        The custom copper lamps I have seen made are almost all soldered. They don't look to hard to build if you have access to a break, and a shear or CNC plasma to cut the parts. You could cut the parts by hand but I can't make the cuts nice enough to make the small thin strips that they tend to need at the corners.

        Think origami. I would get some chip board that artists use and draw the lamp out on it. You can the cut out your shapes and make the folds to hold the parts together. You can glue the pieces together just as if you soldered them. If you have access to CAD and a plotter you could do patterns and then attach the pattern to the copper sheets and cut along the lines. I used to use this method to build architectural models and a few "prototype" lamps for my design classes. I never had time to do any in metal although I did make one as a final out of plexi.

        Good luck post some picts as you go along.


        • #5
          I'm leaning towards tig welding it, but we will see. I've been on the "inter-web" for the last few hours looking up what goes into a gas burning lamp, for whatever reason I had an oil burning type set-up on my brain at first. Looks like you need a mantle, a burner, and a valve.

          I emailed my LWS about getting some deoxidized filler metal. Any suggestions as to the gauge of sheet I should use? I want to cry every time I see how expensive this pretty stuff is


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          • #6
            I have used the mantle type lamps. They are very bright and harsh. I used to go to an old victorian church while doing my architectual studies. They still had the old gas lamps and lit them for special services like easter and Christmas. It looked basicly like a bare flame, sort of an extra big candle flame. I think all it was was a oriface and a turn valve. This might be a nicer look if you can figure out how it works.


            • #7
              Sounds like a fun and educational project for sure. I've only barely started to learn a little bit of coppersmithing myself. We had to make some 45-degree T's in 4-inch copper pipe because they weren't available locally and we didn't have time to order them from Oz.

              We've already been using special tools that can take a hole drilled into the pipe and it expands it into a solderable lip, but those tools weren't available for this size either, so after drilling the big hole, we expanded the lip with just hammers. After a while, it would work-harden, so we'd have to stop periodically and anneal it again. The first T took about four hours. The second one took two.

              Silver soldering (brazing) was much more forgiving than soft soldering would have been.


              • #8
                Mac702, post picts man, post picts! I'd be curious to see how you make those. More of a curiosity but it might be useful for a decorative project or something in the future.


                • #9
                  Roger wilco. I'll get them up by Monday eve., which'll be your Sunday afternoon.