A brass sheet

Everything You Need To Know About: Brass

From early civilizations to today’s modern world, brass has been a constant companion. This durable and easy-to-work-with alloy can be found in everything from cars to kitchenware — making it the perfect material for all your creative needs! You don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer to appreciate the beauty and practicality of this metal.


With so many potential uses, it would be hard not to appreciate its strength and versatility — from decorating your kitchen right down to being part of engineering projects. Unlock brass’s possibilities by learning more about this remarkable material today!

What is Brass?

A brass mechanical watch


Brass, or red or yellow brass, is a metallic alloy made from copper and zinc ores with small amounts of other elements, including tin, lead, and arsenic, making it a bright gold-like appearance. The proportions of copper alloy and zinc can vary, but brass is always composed of at least 80% pure copper and 20% zinc content.


There are many reasons why brass alloy is so popular, but perhaps the main reason is its unique properties and contribution to modern society. Brass alloys have been around since the bronze age and have been used to make everything from brass instruments and plumbing fixtures to jewelry. Because of its durability, corrosion resistance, and affordability, many people still use this metal for these same purposes today. 

The Manufacturing Process of Brass

A man working on brass


Crafting brass is a complex journey that involves more than meets the eye. It takes both science and artistry to transform raw materials into beautiful objects. The creation process involves machining, forming, heat-treating, and annealing for optimal strength before it can become its recognizable bright gold appearance. Each step adds something special until we finally have one of mankind’s most enduring materials — brass.


The process of melting brass begins by heating the metal until it reaches its low melting point at 1,050 degrees Celsius and 1,999 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the metal has reached its melting point, it will liquefy at the edges first before flowing towards the center of the container where it is heated. 


The heat level must be increased gradually throughout this process to avoid uneven heating or cooling, which could result in cracks in the final product. The zinc content gives the finished product a yellowish tint and increases its strength, while copper alloys produce a deeper color and add elasticity to the alloy. 

Cold rolling and annealing

Cold rolling is a process that involves passing the brass sheet through a series of rollers at different temperatures. This process reduces the thickness of the sheet, as well as increases its diameter. Cold rolling also improves the material’s flexibility, tensile strength, hardness, and yield strength.


Annealing is another process that helps improve the mechanical properties of brass by heating it to a specific temperature, usually around 600 degrees Celsius, for a short period. After cold rolling or annealing has been done to your material, it will be ready for further processing according to your specific needs.

Hot Rolling

Hot rolling is a process used to produce flat products from steel or other metals by passing them through a series of rollers under high pressure. The pressure causes the material to elongate and become thinner as it moves through each successive pair of rollers until it reaches its desired thickness.


This process can occur at room temperature or above 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). In brass manufacturing, hot rolling produces large sheets of metal cut into smaller pieces for use in various products such as jewelry or plumbing fixtures.

Finish Rolling

The finish rolling process is one of the final steps in manufacturing brass. It involves passing the metal through a series of rollers, which press it into a particular shape. This step is necessary because if your sheet metal isn’t thin enough or uniform enough, it will affect the performance of your finished product. It also helps to ensure that the metal will be solid and consistent enough to be used in products like springs and other mechanical components.

Uses of brass

Different-sized brass bowls


The brass alloy has been used for thousands of years because of its malleability and durability. It is one of the most versatile alloys and is used in a wide range of products. Brass can be used in musical instruments, decorative applications, architectural construction, lighting fixtures, electrical applications, and much more!


Brass is the go-to material in plumbing fittings and fixtures because of its affordability and corrosion resistance. From faucets to valves, contact with water won’t cause predicaments down the line — ensuring cost-effective solutions for years!

Why Use Brass Products For Your Project?

An intricately-design brass door


Brass has many advantages, making it an excellent choice for your next project since brass alloys are very durable. It can take a lot of wear and tear without falling apart, meaning it will last long after your project is complete. 

Brass is an inert, non-toxic metal.

Brass serves as an excellent material for applications because it is corrosion-resistant. Its natural tarnish creates a protective patina that prevents rusting but can be polished away if undesired.


Beyond its inherent properties, naval brass is easily enameled or plated with various metals to increase its aesthetic value while still offering great corrosion protection in nearly any environment – even submerged!

Brass Can Be Formed Into Many Different Shapes and Forms

From bright gold to matte black, brass offers a wide range of finishes sure to fit any budget — which is especially convenient because when compared with other metals like steel and aluminum, brass alloys are less expensive and easier to work with.

Brass is a very durable material that requires little upkeep.

With its impressive resistance against corrosion even when regularly exposed to the elements outdoors or through heavy daily use, you’ve got yourself an ideal material for outdoor projects!

Increase the durability of your projects by using Rotax Metals Brass Products!

Imbue your projects with the timelessness of history and beauty! At Rotax Metals, we carry brass products that can give any venture an exquisite touch while adding in durability you can trust — perfect for countless industries and applications!


Rotax Metals provide multiple services to help you get the most out of our products. Whether you need to purchase a single piece or an entire order, we have something for you! Increase the durability of your projects by using Rotax Metals Brass Products. Call us today to learn more!

How to Clean Brass with Vinegar and Other Products Found in Your Home

All copper alloys develop a crust made of oxide and carbonate, called patina, when exposed to the air. Brass is no exception. After all, brass sheets, tubes, and bars contain about 67 percent copper, which is the primary reactant during patina formation. Fortunately, brass develops patina more slowly than copper and its other alloys, making it easier to polish.

Brass comes in over 60 different types, most of which are lustrous. You’ll know patina is already forming when brass starts losing its sheen. Then, it will turn duller and darker until the patina becomes apparent. The good news is that patina is only superficial and can diminish when scrubbed off with metal polish.

What’s in metal polish?

You may be wondering what substances there are in the metal polish that allow it to dissolve tarnish or patina. As it turns out, there’s more than a handful. The quality of commercial metal polish products may vary from brand to brand, but they all have the same mixture. These are the substances they have in common.

• Ammonia
• Silica
• Thiourea
• Denatured Alcohol
• Acids
• Petroleum Distillates and Naphtha

All of these substances are corrosive. When combined, they become the ultimate tarnish remover. But commercial metal polish is not the only product that can clean brass. Familiar products like vinegar are also excellent at cleaning metal.

What makes vinegar an excellent metal polish?

Many people use vinegar for cleaning home furniture and fixtures. They use it to disinfect wooden cupboards or give their metal frames and trims extra shine. But what makes cleaning brass with vinegar possible? Why do tough stains come off faster when soaked in vinegar than when washed with bleach? The answer lies in its chemical composition.

Vinegar is produced through fermentation. In this process, bacteria break down sugar into alcohol, the same method used for making wine. But that’s just the first level of fermentation. There’s another level in which alcohol is further catalyzed into acetic acid, the chemical that makes up vinegar. The main reason vinegar is an effective cleaning agent is that it’s an acid. And like other acids, it can corrode a wide array of substances, including patina on brass.

Things to Remember before You Clean Brass with Vinegar

While vinegar may not seem that harsh, as proven by how mild it feels when applied on the skin, don’t underestimate its ability to corrode substances on metals. It’s important to note that there are several ways to ferment organic extracts. Meaning, vinegar may also come in different types. Some are more potent than others.

Before you start rubbing your brass item with vinegar, find out how it was produced. The ideal vinegar for cleaning is the one that’s made in a lab—acetic acid mixed with water. Also known as white vinegar, this type is more potent than those produced from fruit extracts. If the vinegar seems too strong for your brass item, dilute it in water. If that doesn’t work, then consider going for a mild type like cider vinegar.

Keep in mind that vinegar dissolves not just the patina or stains on your brass surface. You may not notice it, but it can dissolve brass itself, depending on its potency. So, when you polish brass with vinegar, be careful not to scrub or buff too hard. You don’t want to damage the surface of your brass item, especially if it’s just a cladding to a different material.

How to Clean Brass with Vinegar

You can choose to clean your brass items with vinegar alone. But you can also mix it with other household products. It has been proven many times that homemade metal polish is relatively as effective as its commercial counterparts. The only difference is you will have to put some effort into making the metal polish. Here’s how to make homemade metal polish with vinegar and how to use it.

1. Prepare your vinegar and equal parts of salt and flour. You can also use corn starch or baking soda if you don’t have flour. Mix these three ingredients to form a paste. If you don’t have vinegar, pure lemon juice is a good alternative.

2. Clean your brass item thoroughly. Wash it with soap and water to remove oils and dirt that might get in the way of your homemade metal polish.

3. Make sure the surface of your brass item is parched. Moisture can reduce your metal polish’s effect.

4. When you’re ready, apply the paste on the surface of your brass item and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. That should be long enough for the vinegar to break down the tarnish on your item and for the salt and flour to extricate it.

5. Wipe away as much paste from the surface of your brass item as possible using a clean cloth. Then, start buffing until the metal’s untarnished surface reemerges.

Restoring your brass furniture or fixture shouldn’t be a stressful task. If you know how to make homemade metal polish, you’ll find cleaning brass with vinegar fun and productive. There’s nothing more fulfilling than to see your antique possessions come to life again.

In case you are looking to make furniture, and you want its luster to last for a long time, find trusted brass suppliers like Rotax Metals. They provide high-quality copper materials and they supply to large enterprises across North America.

How Do You Make Homemade Brass Cleaner and How Do You Use It?

There are more brass items in your home than you probably think. The knobs and hinges on your door, the metal frame under your bed and lounge tables, your curtain rods, and some of your furniture pieces–they are most likely made of brass. While this metal is undoubtedly beautiful, it has its fair share of undesirable qualities, the most apparent of which is its susceptibility to tarnishing.

Like any other copper alloy, brass tarnishes when exposed to the air for a prolonged period. The oxygen in the air combines with the copper in brass to form copper oxide, a substance that gradually thickens and conceals the brass item’s shiny surface. As a result, the object loses its brilliance. Many describe brass as gold-like because some of its types have the same color and sheen as gold. The only difference is that brass loses its luster over time, while gold doesn’t.

The good news is there are easy ways to bring your brass items back to their glittery state. Like most other non-ferrous metals, you can polish brass using standard metal polish, and you don’t have to go far to obtain one. You can prepare your solution using products available in your home. Here’s how to formulate your homemade brass cleaner and polish:

Salt and Lemon Mixture

– Salt and lemon extract are both abrasive substances. When combined, they form a substance harsh enough to dislodge the copper oxide buildup from the surface of your brass item. Not only are these materials accessible, but they are also more affordable than commercial polish.


– Did you know that ketchup has a pH of 3.85? That acidity level makes it an excellent metal polish. While it may not be as effective as today’s commercial metal polish, it’s cheaper and exciting to experiment with.

Baking Soda and Lemon Paste

– Replace the salt in the first formulation with baking soda. You probably use baking soda to clean your kitchen countertop, fridge, or stove, and it works all the time. That’s because baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a substance that can neutralize both acids and bases. Mixed with lemon, you can create the ultimate brass polish.

Vinegar, Flour, and Salt

– We all know that vinegar is acidic. Salt is quite harsh, too. If you want to make a paste, so your polish sticks on the surface of your brass item and does not evaporate when you let it sit for an hour, add flour.

Tomato Sauce and Paste Mixture

– With the same ingredients as those of ketchup, you can expect the same effect on brass when you apply a tomato sauce and paste solution. You’ll find it even more efficient since tomato paste is more concentrated than ketchup.

How to Clean Brass

Now that you already have a homemade brass cleaner, all you need to do is to follow this easy-to-do brass cleaning procedure:

Prepare all the brass items that need cleaning. The last thing you want is to throw away your homemade metal polish before realizing that there are more items to clean.

Separate the pure brass items from the brass-clad ones. The latter most likely have a thin layer of brass on its surface, and buffing too hard could peel it off. Separating them allows you to apply the right pressure on each item.

Wash your brass items with soap and water to remove all dirt and grease. Brass cleaners don’t adhere to oily surfaces. Also, if there are dust particles left, they might scratch the surface of your brass items as you scrub with the cloth.

After carefully rinsing the brass items with clean water, dry them thoroughly. You don’t want to apply the brass cleaner on your brass items’ wet surface. Moisture will reduce its effectiveness.

Once your items are ready, apply the cleaner on all surfaces and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

Get a clean cloth and buff your brass items until it becomes shiny again. Don’t leave any section unpolished to achieve the best result.

Where to Buy Brass Supplies

You probably noticed that some of the brass items you have tarnish faster than others. This variation has to do with quality. How the brass that makes up those items were manufactured can affect its tarnish resistance.

When thinking of buying brass furniture or fixture, take your search up a notch and be meticulous about where the raw materials used to make the item came from. If they came from a reputable supplier like Rotax Metals, you could be sure that your furniture or fixture not only makes a perfect addition to your home but last long as well.

Check how many years the supplier has been in operation. If possible, take a peek into their brass sales and find out what supplies most customers buy. That way, you’ll have an idea how much they know about copper alloys like brass and what advanced methods and equipment they use. You’ll never go wrong with a manufacturer that has at least half a century of professional experience in metal processing and distribution.

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