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Zebulon Camper

Is junk brass safe?

5 posts in this topic

My boss recently aquired a solid chunk of 3/4x3x10" peice of What looks like yellow brass. I was going to make him an offer on it, but I decided to try and get some professional advice. Knowing about the potential hazards of berillium and zinc, is there any way of knowing if this is safe to work with? Also I have a couple brass door plates but I don't know if they are safe to grind either.

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It looks like your biggest potential issue comes if you want to work it hot. Both for workability (from my experience), and to avoid burning the zinc out, don't go much higher than dull red. It goes from solid to warm butter fast.

Other than that, as far as I can tell, good ventilation and a mask of some sort should do you alright.

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Door plates are usually fine to work cold.  IF they're actually brass, that is.  A lot of them now are brass plated aluminum or steel.  The big chunk, no idea.  I have some about that size that is leaded bearing brass.  

Keep in mind all but one alloy of brass is cold work or casting only, that manufacturers will use the cheapest alloy that will do the job, and beryllium copper is pretty rare stuff.  It's good to be aware of things, but don't get carried away.

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Thanks again for all the helpful advice! just trying to get a bearing on something i just figured out wasnt it's own element, but an alloy :blink:. I don't really like the color of brass, or gold (looks like the effect that cheap spray paint gives to me) that's why I don't use it. I just looked at it and thought of how many knife guards it could make B). Having read a similar post on here (perhaps I should have posted under that topic) I thought i should ask. I did some extensive research on berillium copper and brass earlier so i knew what to look out for, turns out it is very rare almost exclusively used in aerospace, xray equiptment, and hazardous work places. I've spent my whole life learning stuff the hard way, one recent incident in particular kinda put the "10 ft tall and bullet proof", and the "what you don't know can't hurt you" mentality to rest.  Thank you guys for dealing with my ignorance :D!

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Brass bar for knife fittings is actually fairly cheap to buy and looks pretty good, in a historical kind of way.

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