fireplace backplate material


I intended to create my own backplate for a fireplace, and - as I was thinking about etching it - I am investigating on the most suited materials: so far I saw mentioned just iron, but I would be more confortable with bronze: it can be used? Any other materials are possible?
thanks!
Alessandro Magni
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Consider that some bronze alloys might start melting at around 850-degrees C. so the temperature of your fire might be of some concern. There are alloys which melt at relatively higher temperatures that could be useful if you are fond of intense blazes but I'm fairly certain any of them will melt more easily than iron. Of course if your fireplace is purely decorative then you could carve the backplate from wood and cover it with bronze leaf. <g>
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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I'd go with cast iron. Bonze has a melting point too low for fireplaces, IMO. Iron so good for another 1000 degrees or so.
What do you plan to etch? Consider making a plaster or wood carving and having it sand cast in iron if you want something special.
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On 14 Feb 2007 02:05:36 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

What about brass? I think our first andirons were brass, and our first fireplace tools, like tongs. But the part of the andirons that was brass was out front an inch or so, and the part under the fire was iron. And tools aren't in there for that long. So look into it.
When I think of bronze I think of sculpture, where it is meltable and pourable. I used to think they started with a big cube or rectangle of bronze and used a hammer and chisel to make a sculpture, but I was never sure what kind of chisel one could use.

I was going to say that you're Italian and should know all about this stuff already, but I decided that' swhy you wanted to etch your backplate, because you're Italian.
I think blacksmiths, welders, fireplace stores, and artists who work in metal will also be able to give you good advice.
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There are many bronze alloys. I think the ones with phosphor and a low tin content would be fine for your purpose -- if cast thick enough. You're not going to melt it with a log fire 10" or so in front of it, but if it's not a heavy casting, say at least 1" thick, you'll sure be able to warp it.
A nice thing about bronze near heat is that it will never look the same after a fire than it did before. It can take on beautiful colorations, and when it gets too dark you can go back to new with just a weak sulfuric acid wash.
Try a 5% phosphor bronze.
Keith

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