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
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
Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated.
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.
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).
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.
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
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
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
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
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