Can you spring temper brass?

Joined
Apr 14, 2001
Messages
380
I want to make a liner style lock for a pocket knive. I have one that has a brass lock. How do I go about tempering the brass to allow it to spring into the lock position?

Thanks for your help! -chris

Chris Crawford
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
95
Hardening brass is just the opposite of hardening steel. heat the brass to dull red and allow to cool slowly.

To soften, heat to dull red and quench in water.

John Ownby
http://www.johnownby.com
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2000
Messages
2,869
however I am a manufactureing jeweler and work with non ferous metals evey day and I can tell you of brass, that when purchased as sheet, cold rolled (nearly all is) it is at its hardest state. in that state what you have really is "work hardened" brass, i.e. extruded, rolled or hammered, to compress it's moleculer density. Try this experiment. Take some 1/16 inch brass, three strips as close as possible in width. On a piece of charcoal or soldering brick, heat on up to a dull red and cool under a half of an aluminium coke can; in undisturbed air. On the second one, evenly hammer the piece with a real smooth chaseing or ballpeen hammer, not too rounded, on both sides lightly. Leave the third in it's cold rolled state to test against the other two. I will promise you the one you hammered is by far possesed of the most "spring". If you have a surface grinder, you could hammer out an eighth inch thikc piece then surface grind it to thickness desired in which case, you must hammer evenly so as not to distort or warp, then you've only the hammer marks to deal with...most manufactures just use it cold rolled although perhaps a thousandth or two past "just hard". I have a sheet & wire rolling machine here in my shop and can, in just a few thousandths, increase sheet brass hardness / spring by quite a bit.

regards, mitch
 
Joined
Dec 2, 1999
Messages
9,910
Mitch, so if I want to use brass for the liner lock on my civil war style switch bayonette on my double-barreled flintlock pistol, all I have to do is hammer the hell out of it first?
 
Joined
Nov 27, 1999
Messages
3,745
Mitch, so if I want to use brass for the liner lock on my civil war style switch bayonette on my double-barreled flintlock pistol, all I have to do is hammer the hell out of it first?

Bruce, I like your style!
 
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
3,560
Phosphor bronze is used in spring applications as it is supplied, no need to work it first. Looks like brass when polished.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2001
Messages
380
I guess that's what's in that old knife of mine. Anyone know where to get phosphor bronze?

Thanks -chris
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2001
Messages
379
try McMaster- Carr I seem to recall something like that there. They are easy to get to on the web.

I like that hammer idea. It sounds like fun.
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2000
Messages
1,693
www.mcmaster.com This is the company Eric mentioned. Great folks to deal with. They have about 14 different bronze alloys. IMHO, bronze has a warmer, richer color than brass. I'm surprised it doesn't get used by knifemakers more.
 
Top