Copper is undeniably one of the most versatile, naturally occurring metallic element on the planet. It even gains the distinction of a unique reddish-gold color in pure form. It can mix with other metallic elements to form a stronger alloy that can, in turn, be used in a wide array of applications.
Its innate malleability and astonishing physical properties made copper a top choice for most artisans, craft designers, architects, and even jewelry makers for their respective projects. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, finding where to buy copper sheets is really the least of your concerns. Understanding how to choose the copper sheet you need to work with is a lot harder.
Pure copper is flexible, ductile, and slightly expensive. Since copper is softer than its alloys, pure copper is the easiest to work with as it can be drawn, stretched, hammered, or rolled without breaking. This property of pure copper makes it ideal for artists, designers, and jewelers to use for their respective projects.
Guidelines to Choosing Copper Sheets for your Project
While amateur artisans are satisfied with just letting their favorite copper sheet supplier give them the material without much thought, if the copper sheet is indeed applicable in their projects, it takes a real copper connoisseur to choose and buy copper sheets with the correct specifications.
In buying copper sheets, there are three specifications worth mentioning: (1) sheet thickness, (2) sheet temper, and (3) sheet finish.
The copper sheet’s thickness can definitely dictate which projects it is more compatible with. For craft design, the thickness of the sheet can range from 0.016-inch to 0.040-inch. Those with thickness lower than 0.016-inch are called copper foils (instead of sheets), and are mostly used in electrical wiring and various little arts and crafts projects.
Aside from thickness, the copper’s hardness can vary depending on your project requirement. Copper hardness ranges from H01 (soft) to H04 (hard). Of course, it you are looking for a copper sheet for intricate, delicate projects like etching or embossing, it is better to get the softer copper. The opposite is true if the project requires a sturdier copper sheet such as creating sculptures or roofing.
Finally, it helps if the finished product is pleasing to the eye. The copper sheet’s metal finish can also vary depending on its fabrication. Some suppliers let their sheets get some patina on it (greenish hue) to make the surface color a bit more interesting. While other suppliers offer sheets that are treated with special lacquer to give the sheet a unique finish.
Purchasing the copper sheet with the accurate specifications will not only save you money on trying to replace ill-fitted sheet, but it will also save you some valuable time spent working on the project.
Facts About Copper, geology.com
Copper: Characteristics, Uses And Problems, gsa.gov