[Woodworkers] Copper metal working

Richard Allen rla_buy at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 30 21:18:59 PST 2021

I have turned copper on a wood lathe before.  I would take a 7/8” rod about 2” long an turn a sphere at one end.  The end being held by the lathe could be turned down to a suitable diameter so the sphere would be attached to the rod as a single piece of copper.  Another option would be to drill and tap the 1” sphere and thread some of your 3/8” rod to screw into the taped sphere.  Copper drills fine.  Plan on discarding the drill bit as sometimes the copper will “weld” to the drill bit.  I would do the drilling with the 1” sphere in a chuck on the lathe.  I would turn down the 1” sphere by mounting the 3/8” rod in a chuck on the lathe.  Copper turns with a scraper.  It is a fairly slow process but 10 minutes of scraper work and 15 minutes of sanding and polishing should give you a sphere shape to your likening

> On Mar 30, 2021, at 5:02 PM, chuck.steger--- via Woodworkers <woodworkers at lists.sawdusters.org> wrote:
> Hope everyone is safe and healthy!
>    I need some advice on working solid copper. I’ll give you some context on what I’m doing.
>    I designing and building a Heritage Box for someone. Everything that goes into the design and construction will have some elements from their cultural background. Their mother and grandparents lived and worked in a copper mining town in Chile and copper was a big part of their lives. To bring copper into the design, I will attach the legs to the box using copper rods. Since the legs taper, I will use 1/8”, 3/16”, and ¼” rods and leave a ¼” gap between the legs and box. But this is subtle and I wanted to add something else. So I want to add a copper sphere at the top of the box. I drew up the design full scale and the sphere looks good at ¾”. So, I started researching copper spheres and what I found are jewelry spheres ½” and less or solid spheres 1” and greater. I ordered the 1” spheres which are actually used for plating copper.
>    So here are some of my issues/questions/concerns:
> Is there any way possible to reduce the diameter? I thought about some kind of holding contraption on a lathe and then using files but that just sounds like a bad idea.
> The sphere weights in at 3 oz. Now that may seem light but it’s a little heftier that I wanted because I don’t want it to tip the box over when hinged open. The box footprint will be 8”x12” so it may be OK. I will build a prototype as I always do so I’ll find out. Also with a prototype it will be easy to see if 1” is too big. A ¾” hollow sphere would be perfect but I can’t find that.
> Will solid copper drill OK? I would like to drill a hole for a rod to anchor the sphere to the box. I will epoxy the sphere to a cradle but a rod would be so much more secure IMO. And, given the weight, I would feel better.
> Here’s another take …. Is there a way to cut the sphere in ½” I only have WW bandsaws so even with a metal blade, WW bandsaws run too fast, don’t they? The thought process here is maybe I take the two half spheres and attach them to the side of the box as an adornment. The design will be mostly Asian so spheres might look good.
>    So you can see the design is in total flux. I’ve started building the prototype out of pine.
> Chuck
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