Spinning brass

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Forum topic by bondogaposis posted 10-17-2012 11:53 PM 1128 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5157 posts in 2593 days

10-17-2012 11:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Can I turn brass w/ the same roughing scraper I use for turning wood? It is a carbide scraper. I’m just wanting to work a small ferule for an awl that I am making.

-- Bondo Gaposis

8 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4460 days

#1 posted 10-18-2012 12:17 AM

I’ve heard people say they do it, but I’ve never tried it personally.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3350 days

#2 posted 10-18-2012 12:24 AM

I have used brass inlay before and regular turning tools will work for brass. It will dull the cutters faster than when used on wood so expect more frequent sharpening. The shavings will also be much slower and cuts should be lighter. There is no grain on brass, so the cutting is pretty much limited to scraping. Sanding is a bit of a chore, but then there might be other methods of cleaning the brass than low to high grit sandpaper.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3774 days

#3 posted 10-18-2012 12:33 AM

Yes. I also use files held against the brass as is spins. High speed steel will cut brass.

-- My reality check bounced...

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2619 days

#4 posted 10-18-2012 12:49 AM

I use files, rasps and sandpaper.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View derosa's profile


1590 posts in 3077 days

#5 posted 10-18-2012 02:24 AM

The HF clamp with the wood handle in the pic above has a brass ferrule on it that used to be a pipe fitting that you would use a wrench on. I was able to turn it down with a metal file and a gouge, use a little cutting fluid on it and it cuts down on the squeal of the metal on metal cutting. Also wear goggles under the face shield, you really don’t want the particles getting anywhere near your eyes.

-- A posse ad esse

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5157 posts in 2593 days

#6 posted 10-18-2012 01:15 PM

derosa, That is similar to what I’m trying to do, knock off the wrench facets on a gas fitting ferule. Thanks for the tips guys, I’ll post my progress on this when I get back to it. I’m very new to wood turning and making tool handles was big motivation to get onto it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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1251 posts in 2296 days

#7 posted 10-18-2012 01:39 PM

i have used a file for the same thing your doing

-- Joel

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3240 days

#8 posted 10-18-2012 01:51 PM

Having a different lathe for turning metal vs. wood is historically a pretty recent development. When turning brass, you want a negative rake to keep it from grabbing. That means that the cutter edge will be dragging a bit rather than leading with the cutting edge like you do on wood. The carbide will do fine but so will regular HSS. Carbon steel will work as well but it takes a more delicate touch to keep it from overheating. Take light cuts. Keep the tool rest close to the workpiece. Maintain a strong grip on the tool. Don’t expect huge shavings to come off. It will look like the metal chips that they put in metallic paint. You don’t specifically need it for brass, but a light cutting fluid can help at times. I use a little squirt bottle of WD40.

Spinning brass is a different technique. That one uses tools that rub rather than cut and press the metal onto a shaped mandrel while it is spinning. One of these days I want to try to do some spinning but so far, I just haven’t had the time. If you are interested in that too, Penn State Industries has a rest and some tools. There are also some lathes that are set up for that specifically but not really common to find.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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