Need assist on building a butterfly house w/copper roof

I've been asked to build a butterfly house with a copper roof.
I plan on using WOak for the house and finishing it w/ an outdoor oil, shouldn't be a big deal.
Then comes the copper roof.
I've found .016" thick copper sheets at a local artist supply store.
I never really worked with and probably don't have the right tools to work with metal. What's the best way to cut the stuff and clean the edges.
Tin snips and a couple of files come to mind, but, not sure what my results may be?
Also, how should this be secured to wooden base roof. Would brass nails works? Should .016 brass be drilled out first or can it be easily nailed through?
Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated.
ThankX, Ron
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Ron wrote:

Copper is very easy to work. It comes in several flavors, such as annealed (soft), half hard (half hard), and tempered aka hard. I'm not sure what type you'd get from a craft store, but any of them will work. The softer copper is easier to bend, but it is also tougher to get really sharp corners and it shows marks more.
Brass nails are not a good idea if you're planning on having them exposed. No nails should be exposed in the first place. Traditionally the copper flashing and roofing is held in place by concealed copper cleats nailed to the sheathing. The next panel interlocks and covers the cleat, then the whole seam is either folded over or soldered.
Treat yourself to a new tool which is cheap and will make the end result far more professional looking. http://malco.malcoproducts.com/products/seamers/12f.asp
Cut some paper as a template and fold it to make it fit, then transfer the marks to the copper for cutting.
BTW, oak and copper don't get along really well together. Their interaction will stain the oak and corrode the copper (probably not a big issue in your lifetime and particulalry for a bird house, but you should be aware of it so you can make your own choices). http://www.npl.co.uk/lmm/docs/corrosion_of_metals_by_wood.pdf
You can finally find a home for some of those old beater chisels and screwdrivers on this project. Grind them to a profile and use them as punches to create perforated metal designs like on a pie safe, or use them to emboss a pattern on the copper like roof shingles).
You'll like copper.
R
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Ron wrote:

Sounds very thin. I'd expect to use 22 swg (UK wire gauge) minimum, which is about 0.028" Usually I use 20 or even 18 gauge, because I can recycle it from old water heaters.

Copper is lovely stuff to work with. Doesn't need much tooling, so you can afford to tool up for it and get some tools that remain useful afterwards.

Tin snips, but get the right sort. A couple of Wiss brand are about the best (not Chinese copies, unless they're good). You can't usually use Gilbows (big snips) because thin copper will squish itself down between the jaws, rather than cutting. You can even use scissors, and for that thin stuff I might well do (pointy Chinese florists' scissors).
You'll also want a few wooden mallets, or ideally a 1lb cast iron Thor hammer with rawhide faces. A small gas blowtorch is also very useful, as you can use it to anneal the copper after working it has made it turn hard and brittle.
You'll also need a number of custom-made anvils and dollies, made up to suit your various edges and ridges. Just use a hard timber.
For guidance on the techniques of silversmithing, from small jewellery to medium sized coppersmith, an excellent book is Tim Mcreight's "The Complete Metalsmith".

A folded lapped edge, with large-headed copper nails through it. These are cheap - bronze boatbuilding nails are stronger, but a frightening price. Don't use iron or you'll get minor corrosion problems and major staining. You should punch the holes through the copper first, using a steel nail.
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