Working with brass

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
I'm making some curved and rounded laminated table legs. They will be screwed to two round disks above and below the middle of the legs. I'm considering plugging the screw holes with brass. Since this can't be done until after final assembly, I can't use a router to flush it. I'm concerned that trying to sand it flush, since it's harder than wood (oak), I'll end up with a hollow around it. Never having worked with it in this type of application I'm looking for advise on how to accomplish this. If I screw it up I'll probably end up having to make new legs. Is it worth the risk or should I just go with wood plugs. Two other questions, 1. there different grades of brass (want some shine under surface coat - probably waterlox
2. I'm going to fume with Ammonia, will this affect the brass? - While I'm at it, will the Ammonia gas affect clear epoxy filling i.e. river table?
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Fuming with ammonia will ABSOLUTELY affect the brass color. That is the preferred method in professional hardware shops for antiquing brass. I ammonia fumed some hardware on a trunk. I bet if you do a search you'll find the thread. If you lacquer the brass beforehand it won't discolor, i imagine.

In his campaign furniture book, Chris Schwarz makes a jig for a file that prevents you from filing more than flush. Basically just a block with a slot routed for the file, and you double stick tape the file in. You can get 90% of the way there leveling the brass like that, then finish with sandpaper, but because you're not using the sandpaper too much you will hopefully not end up with mounds.

You can skip using brass plugs and just use larger brass screws... leave them proud enough that the slots are above the surface of the wood, then file them down.
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
Thanks Richard, maybe I'll just use oval headed brass screws and leave them slotted, then I can put them in after fuming. I'll have 12 or 24 depending on my final design, pictures to come much later.
 

kserdar

Ken
Senior User
I used Aluminium to plug my holes -
stool.jpg

My wife liked the exposed ends. So they stayed.
 

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