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I recently came into possession of a decent quantity of brass bullet casings of a few different sizes.  I know brass isn't cheap, so I figured "gee, I wonder what I could make out of these in the forge?"  Of course, brass isn't the easiest thing to work with, and from my 5 minutes of googling it's not an easy (or even safe, necessarily) thing to just melt down, especially bullet casing brass.

So, any suggestions on what to do with it for knife use?  Anyone done anything decorative with such things before?  Is it easier to melt than I thought?  Is this just a stupid idea and I should send them to be properly recycled elsewhere?  (I give it 50/50 odds on the latter.) 

(I've no idea what the right topic is for this thread; Mods, feel free to move elsewhere if I guessed wrong.)

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i unfortunately dont have any thing to add, but would love to know what others may say. Ive got cases of spent .303 brass that could use a new use

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Re-load em' or melt em' down fer knife furniture  ...................

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There was a guy who melted down a bunch of cartridge brass and then machined an AR lower from the casting. Brass is copper and zinc mainly, so the trick would be to avoid breathing the fumes while melting and casting, and not overheating the melt and losing too much zinc. My non expert opinion based on my research. Youtube has a lot of casting vids.

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   When it comes to copper, brass and bronze I look for "low hanging fruit", meaning low cost processing. Brass in the form of spent shell casings is more trouble than it's worth. If you are already set up to do serious casting and you can get thousands of cases for free that's a different story. Most ranges collect brass and sell it to companies or individuals who re-load so finding a steady stream of them at the magic price point (free) may be problematic.

   I did make a stag handle Bowie for a customer once who was a member of the Single Action Shooters Society. I used a dremel tool to cut the rim and base off of some .45 Long Colt shells and used them to cover the handle pins. Standard woodworking Forstner drills will match the diameter of some calibers of shells so they can be flush mounted into handles. If you can match the caliber to a hunters favorite caliber it might give you a boost on skinning knife sales. I took photos of the Bowie project and added them to my portfolio so when potential customers flip through my work they will see it as an option. You can also inform your hunting clients that they can bring you the spent case from a trophy hunt to be incorporated into a commissioned knife. I have found big game hunters to be quick to reach for their wallets when commemorating the success of a hunt:)

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I don't have hunting clients, or other kinds of clients; I'm just a hobbyist making knives for fun arts and crafts as a break from my otherwise all-digital existence. :-)

Using the shell casings as handle pins is an interesting idea. They'd probably need to be filled with something though to give them better rigidity, no?  Or is there enough glue that it's just decorative?

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2 minutes ago, Larry Garfield said:

I don't have hunting clients, or other kinds of clients; I'm just a hobbyist making knives for fun arts and crafts as a break from my otherwise all-digital existence. :-)

Using the shell casings as handle pins is an interesting idea. They'd probably need to be filled with something though to give them better rigidity, no?  Or is there enough glue that it's just decorative?

Not as pins! I counter sunk the structural handle pins and then covered them with the base of the shells, like little brass buttons positioned so you can read the stamping on the base of the shells. You could inset the shell bases in any area of the handle as ornamentation independent of the structural pins.

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