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phosphor bronze...where?

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Hattori-Hanzo

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Hello all.
I've been itching to get hold of a piece of phosphor bronze for a long time for my plane making, I'd like to see how it works compared to brass and how it patina's.

I'm having a hard time finding a supplier that will sell it in small quantities, only needing a piece of flat bar around 160 x 50 x 6mm

Does any one know of a supplier, or any where that sells small bits?

Cheers.
 

paulrbarnard

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Hello all.
I've been itching to get hold of a piece of phosphor bronze for a long time for my plane making, I'd like to see how it works compared to brass and how it patina's.

I'm having a hard time finding a supplier that will sell it in small quantities, only needing a piece of flat bar around 160 x 50 x 6mm

Does any one know of a supplier, or any where that sells small bits?

Cheers.
This one is a bit thicker than you are looking for but there are pages and pages of phosphor bronze on eBay.
 

marcros

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metals4u do some bronze, not sure if they do flat bar.
 

Hattori-Hanzo

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Thanks for the suggestions guys,
Ebay is my usual first port of call but I'm not finding much in the way of flat bar. I've seen a lot of round bar, and also the listing you've posted Paul, but at £125 for a 6" bar it's a little more than I wanted to pay :)

Thanks Marcros, I did see metals4u sell it but again only list in full size bars at £543 for the size I'm after.
You can input custom sizes but it's around £40 for a piece 160 x 50 x 6
Seemed a little pricey but maybe I'm just naive to the price, is it really that much more than brass?
 

Jelly

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Seemed a little pricey but maybe I'm just naive to the price, is it really that much more than brass?
I generally find bronzes to be more expensive than brass, by way of an explanation of why that is:
Phosphor Bronze is 88-99% copper, with trace amounts of phosphorus, then tin and lead as the other alloying elements...​
Brass can be as low as 60% copper, made up with zinc.​
So right away the raw materials are more expensive, add to that the fact that it's usually only specified for functional applications so most stocked materials will be grades where there's tight control of the metalurgy and the price goes up even more.​
 

Hattori-Hanzo

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Thanks for the info Jelly.

I'll have to look into the grades a bit more too, I'm guessing like brass different grades will peen better than others.

I'll keep searching for a good deal but will have to suck up the cost, just hope I don't screw the plane up :)
 

Droogs

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Let me check with the guys next door on Monday and see if I can scrounge some offcut of plate for you

In fact send me a pm on monday morning as a reminder
 

chaoticbob

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You can input custom sizes but it's around £40 for a piece 160 x 50 x 6
Seemed a little pricey but maybe I'm just naive to the price, is it really that much more than brass?
That is a little pricey, but not insanely so - for comparison I recently paid £48 inc VAT for a 200mm long piece of 3" x 1/4 " PB102 from my local supplier, which translates to about £26 for the size you're after. Unfortunately they don't stock 2" though! But that could well be cheap - they base prices on what they paid for a bar rather than restocking cost so if it's been sat on the shelf for 10 years...

I don't understand why the stuff is so expensive compared to brass either, but it seems that's how it is. Jelly's point about raw material cost is doubtless a factor, but aluminium warehouse are offering C101 (near enough pure copper) 50x6mm at £167 for a 4m bar, so it's not dominant. Probably more about guaranteeing metallurgical properties for specific applications where bronze excels, as Jelly suggested. I've no idea if bronze planes fall into that category, perform better than steel ones and warrant the extra cost, but they certainly look nice!

It might be worth giving Smith's metals a ring if you have a local branch - I don't know if they sell in such small quantities, but I had a metre of 2" brass round from them at about 60% of internet prices.
Rob.
 
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Jelly

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Jelly's point about raw material cost is doubtless a factor, but aluminium warehouse are offering C101 (near enough pure copper) 50x6mm at £167 for a 4m bar, so it's not dominant. Probably more about guaranteeing metallurgical properties for specific applications where bronze excels, as Jelly suggested.
Thinking about it more, I suspect the metalurgy drives price more than raw material.

I have two customers who specialise in castings made from closely controlled alloys, who will keep 50-100 tonnes of metal in a molten state under vacuum for several hours in order to run chemical and physical tests on a sample of the melt to ensure its in spec before casting it...

I hesitate to even think how much that costs them, but it's all priced in to the final product.
 

Dave Moore

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Hello all.
I've been itching to get hold of a piece of phosphor bronze for a long time for my plane making, I'd like to see how it works compared to brass and how it patina's.

I'm having a hard time finding a supplier that will sell it in small quantities, only needing a piece of flat bar around 160 x 50 x 6mm

Does any one know of a supplier, or any where that sells small bits?

Cheers.
Try Fabricast in Hull. Google their website.
 

redhunter350

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Try these guys I have used them and always come up with the goods even if it’s not on their list ! Phos Bronze is there by the inch so buy just what you need
The web site is a little convoluted and you have to call them to order, you need to go to the metals list it’s page 18 for PB.
 

toolsntat

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I wonder if a word with a local scrap merchant night bring forth some suitable reclaimed material.
Depends I suppose on if you want prepared thickness or willing to rework the material.
Cheers Andy
 

Hattori-Hanzo

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Thanks for all the help and info guys, will check the suggested places out.

That would be great @Droogs, let me know if they have any thing and how much for it.

Thanks for the suggestion Andy, just done a quick search but not finding much in my area other than car scrap merchants.

The size I gave is just a guide, I can adjust the plane to the material size, though 160mm long is block plane size and I didn't want to go to much smaller than this.

Also, all of the listings I've seen are in Imperial sizes, none in metric. Why is this?

Cheers all.
 
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IWW

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..... all of the listings I've seen are in Imperial sizes, none in metric. Why is this?.......
It's called market dominance, Dan. The large country to the west of you is incapable of coping with the intricacies of the metric system, so the rest of the world is dragged into the past.... :)

One thing that makes bronze more expensive than brass is that tin is more costly than zinc, but scale of production must also be a major factor.

Be very careful buying bronze for peening! Some alloys will be terriffic, while some bronzes will have very poor cold-working properties. I had some silver-bronze once, and it was the nicest stuff to peen that I've ever come across, but it was a scrap that I got by chance for next-to-nothing & I'd hate to think what it costs normally. And make sure you know what state it's in as it comes, for heavy peening, you want it annealed to as soft as the particular alloy can be.

I'm assuming you want bronze for the colour? As far as plane-making goes, any structural advantages over 260 brass would be negligible in this context, and (annealed) 260 has the sort of cold-working properties desirable for plane making. I think 260 brass is less common, but a bit easier to get over your way than in my neck of the woods. It's exceedingly difficult to obtain in plane-building sizes in Oz, unfortunately.... :(

Cheers,
Ian
 

Hattori-Hanzo

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Cheers Ian, I thought it might be something along those lines.

Thanks for the info on bronze, I need to look more in to the grades but will be limited to what I can afford and find.

Just wanted to give it a try really, bronze planes have a real charm about them and I'm curious to see the working differences to brass.
 

Droogs

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Hi Dan, had a check with the foundry today, they haven't been doing much recently so have none avalable in plate form. sorry
 

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