Curious about copper

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ppb

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A question for those "in the know":
Why isn't copper used more often with regard to metal inlays and such? (I suspect it could be somewhat of a prestige thing.)

I have seen photos of thin copper wire inlays in stocks and as high-lights of some carvings. And there are photos that show copper on some extremely ornate rifle stocks - you know, the ones that leave you wondering if there is any wood or gun metal underneath all that ornateness.

I made up a stub and laid some solid copper electrical wire into it just to see what it would look like. I kinda like it. Don't know if I'll ever do this sort of thing again, but one never knows...IMG_0343 (2).jpg
 

TFoley

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VERY nice work, Sir. I have a couple of octagonal barrels just screaming out for lining/banding like that! Pity you don't live a tad nearer, eh?
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Copper just tarnishes quickly and is very soft. For example, the extra copper content in sterling silver is why it tarnishes faster than fine silver. However, copper was used particularly to add color. Here is a gun I made that uses some copper inlays.



dave
 

dave_person

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VERY nice work, Sir. I have a couple of octagonal barrels just screaming out for lining/banding like that! Pity you don't live a tad nearer, eh?
Hi TFoley,
Banding is nice on barrels but you don't want copper or silver at the breech. You want gold or platinum. The copper and silver will tarnish so badly from powder flash that it will become dark gray or blue and look horrible.

dave
 

Brokennock

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Hi,
Copper just tarnishes quickly and is very soft. For example, the extra copper content in sterling silver is why it tarnishes faster than fine silver. However, copper was used particularly to add color. Here is a gun I made that uses some copper inlays.



dave
Do you do anything that isn't stunning? This isn't even a style I usually like, but, I'm in awe of the fantastic work.
Any pics of like your 1st gun or carving/engraving attempt?
 

oldwood

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20 yrs. ago , I came into possession of a bunch of .090 thick copper sheets. I thought it might be cool to make some copper thimbles for poor boy Appalachian rifles. I don't like to go too far afield with a stupid idea , so I did some research. Sheet copper was available on the frontier for metal flashing on roofs by 1795. Visited a plantation house in Franklin , Tenn.. , that was built 1795. The caretaker gave us a tour and said the original copper roof flashing was the way the roof was built 1795. Ok ,so a set of thimbles might have been made by a frontier gunmaker using scrap copper. Competition to use the sheet copper would have come from any black smith shop to use it for forge brazing sweat joints. Copper sweat joints would perhaps be more important than thimbles that could be made more reasonably out of sheet iron. Anyway ,I used some copper thimbles on some of the back woods rifles I've built. The sheet copper turns a pleasant dark color with handling and exposure to black powder residue. I like it used on walnut gun stocks.............oldwood
 

ppb

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Thanks to everyone for your responses!
I appreciate your input and willingness to share knowledge.

Sam - Sorry about the girl...

Dave Person - Very nice work! You must have the "patience of Job" as well as being blessed with admirable talents. Thanks again for your insight
 

Vaino

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My Mother suffered from arthritis and read somewhere that copper bracelets helped.....,so I made one for each wrist that were a little fancy. She said they helped to alleviate the pain and wore them continually....she never mentioned any discoloring of the skin and I never saw any.

The only things I used copper for were vise jaw liners.....Fred
 

Craig "Wildcat" Wilcox

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Copper is often used as a base for the front sight. Don't know why, but, as I really like the color of the copper, I am all for it.

I did get some sheet copper earlier this year, cut it into 2" squares, and practice my engraving on it. It is much softer than brass or steel, but not as soft as fine silver.

As others here have mentioned, it does corrode fairly rapidly. As Oldwood mentions above, in the presence of gun powder residue, it darkens nicely.

And sho'nuff, it will turn a finger green!
 

TFoley

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Hi TFoley, Banding is nice on barrels but you don't want copper or silver at the breech. You want gold or platinum. The copper and silver will tarnish so badly from powder flash that it will become dark gray or blue and look horrible. dave
Understood, Sir. It's just that if the OP could do that with copper, he could also do it with gold - I have two not-quite-old-enough BP rifles with octagonal barrels that would look really spiffy with muzzle-banding in that style.
 

oreclan

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I own an 18--'s "every day" plain percussion rifle that has brass furniture and a copper patch box. There is no entry thimble and the incised carving behind the cheek piece is VERY crudely done even though the architecture look professionally done and the wood has nice curl.
 
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