Friday, April 3, 2009

A Bit About Metals

I love to use a variety of metals. One combination that I find particularly pretty is bronze and stainless steel. Nickel silver also combines nicely with stainless steel because the nickel gives the metal a slightly yellow tinge.

Stainless steel is rust-proof, strong and shiny.

Nickel Silver is also known as "German silver". This metal contains no actual silver. It is an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc. Nickel silver is corrosion-resistant and doesn't tarnish easily, although, like most metals it will darken with age.

Bronze is a dark copper colored metal and is an alloy of copper and tin. It will tarnish, but can be restored and protected with bronze polish or a dip in white vinegar.

Inconel is known as the "uber" metal. It is an alloy of nickel, chromium, magnesium and iron. It is a dark grey color and looks great when combined with nickel silver.

Fine silver is 99.9% silver. It is very shiny and doesn't tarnish as quickly as sterling but is more expensive.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and contains nickel and other base metals. It shines beautifully when polished and is somewhat dull when it begins to tarnish.

Titanium is strong and light. It is especially perfect for armor because it is so light weight and corrosion-resistant. If you have metal allergies, this would be a good choice because it contains no nickel.

Copper is, of course, the colour of a new copper penny! It is lovely when polished and shiny but does tarnish quickly. On some people it tends to leave a greenish stain on the skin and can give off a peculiar odour. Its not one of my favourite metals but is easy to work with because it is quite soft and pliable.

Brass is a yellow-gold color. Again, not one of my favourite metals but only because I don't particularly like how yellow it is. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will darken over time but can be restored easily in a vinegar bath.

7 comments:

sassyglassdesigns said...

Thanks for following my blog; great information on the different metals.

Crystal from KIZZ said...

This is very good information! I need to learn more about metals. Can you buy stainless steel findings? What about bronze...is it pricey?

Crystal from KIZZ

chainedjoule said...

Hi Crystal - I haven't seen stainless steel findings, however, you can make your own. If you purchase thinner wire - say around 22-26 gauge - you can make bead caps or purchase heavier wire - say around 18-16 gauge and make links, clasps, etc. I don't find bronze to be expensive and it can be used in the same way as any metal wire. I order all my wire and links from The Ring Lord in Saskatchewan - not a promo - they're just good at what they do and they're Canadian. For links that I want for specific projects and ones that I would want to sell, I ask for handcut. Otherwise, I get their machine cut links and never have I had a problem with burrs. Good supplier! Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog!

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