BRASS ENGRAVING

ABOUT BRASS   

Brass sink

Brass, like all cuprous metals, is worked while cold. After several strains, brass becomes hard and brittle. It is hammer-hardened then it is reheated, which means allowing it to reach a cherry red color. It has to let cool afterwards to give back its flexibility.

Two advices
– watch well the metal during heating, the color references differ slightly from those of iron and when the metal reaches the melting point, it falls without sparks all of a sudden in the bottom of the foundry.
– when foundry takes place, one must know when to stop before the metal gets too cold otherwise it breaks.

USE OF BRASS

Brass pot
          Earrings in the shape of Tunisian coins

Brass is used for various uses such as jewellery, sinks, art of the table, furniture, decoration, lamps, statutes,  etc.

THE ART  OF BRASS HAND ENGRAVING

The Art of Hand Engraving can be described as the process in which a hardened, shaped, and sharpened piece of steel, called a ‘Graver’, is pushed through the metal’s surface. This is done with one of three methods: by hand pressure (push graver), with a small lightweight hammer and chisel (graver), or with a pneumatic air-driven hammer.

Artisan at the Souq of Tunis, Tunisia.

The graver is ground to a pointed shape adhering to very specific angles. These angles allow the graver to properly enter the metal surface and  travel forward, continuously curling the metal directly in front of the graver face, while leaving behind a small furrow.

The shape of the graver and the angle at which it is held will ultimately decide the furrow shape. The angle can and will often be continuously altered during the process, allowing for the furrow to contain thick and thin graduations of the cut line. If a square-shaped graver is used so that one if its corners enters the metal, it will produce a “V”-shaped furrow. Many graver shapes are available, each leading to a particular style of engraving, and each producing a different result. Usually, the two favored shapes are the “V” and the flat gravers. Personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the tool used.

When using the hammer and chisel method, both hands are required; one to hold the graver, and the other to deliver light hammer impacts against the graver, driving it forward through the material being cut.

   Worker with hammer and chisel

With the push graver method, the graver is generally fitted to a small wooden handle held in the palm. The graver remains stationary, and the item being engraved is held firmly and fed into the graver’s tip, or rotated into it when a circular or curved line is desired. When making a straight line, the graver is pushed forward using only hand pressure. Each of these methods requires a rotating vise, or a similar holding device, to hold the item being engraved.

Focus on brass sinks: Tips

Brass sinks can give long lasting service and beauty to your bar, bathroom or kitchen, if handled and maintained properly. Brass is a durable material, however, it is  soft and can be scratched, scuffed and dented fairly easily. Keep that in mind when bringing glasses, utensils and cleaning materials into contact with the sink.

For ordinary cleaning, use nothing but a soft, clean cloth and mild dish detergent followed by a thorough clear water rinse. Wipe dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Stains and tarnish should be removed with a small amount of good quality brass cleaner. Rub lightly to lift the discoloration, let dry, then polish with a soft, clean, dry cloth. Minor surface scuff and very light scratches can be removed with fine automotive rubbing compound followed by brass polish.

Deeper scratches may require wet sanding with “wet or dry” sandpaper followed by rubbing compound, finishing with brass polish. The severity of the scratch determines the coarseness of the sandpaper grit with which to start. For very deep scratches we suggest starting with 220 grit followed by grits of 320, 400 and 600 progressively. In all cases use the finest grit that will work to remove the scratch.

It’s not recommended to apply any paint-type coatings to the sink, as the coating will eventually wear through, leaving two dissimilar surface materials to maintain – neither of which complements the other.
A bare brass sink can always be brought back to a bright mirror polish with readily available materials (and elbow grease), even if it becomes badly scratched and tarnished.

 

 

 

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