I have learned quite a bit working with metal the past couple of weeks. There has been an immense learning curve and I love it!
I have been working with copper this week. Why Copper? because I can afford copper, it is easier to work with and I can get it at ACE. I know what everyone is thinking ACE sells copper? Yes and so does Home Depot and any other place that sells electrical wire. I am using copper electrical wire and it is working great! I bought 4′ of 14 gauge wire (all I had to do was cut the plastic green coating off of it) for $0.25 a foot, I wish I would have bought ton more. I also bought 1′ of 4 gauge, 1′ of 6 gauge and 1′ of 8 gauge I am very pleased that I discovered this because waiting for wire is driving me crazy because all I want to do is work on stuff and I can’t because I don’t have the stuff.
I have learned some important lessons in using metal such as don’t try and catch a falling recently soldered piece with your hand (your hand will thank you for it!) Always wear safety glasses, wash your hands after filling the butane torch and keep a fire extinguisher with in arms reach (they are all common sense but sometimes when you get in the groove and you forget!) Don’t use Dremel Bits that are not compatible with metal (they will break and it will just piss you off!) After breaking my two drill bits I now wish I would have bought the awl opposed to the center prick (which works great but now I need something to drill holes through.)
I also wish I would have bought the ball peen hammer but I decided to forgo the hammer and get wire instead. I have learned that nickel silver is a pain in the ass to solder with a butane torch and soldering copper to nickel is not fun or easy. I was informed by my brother that I need a hotter torch than butane to get a nice seam with nickel (information I wish I would have had a week ago.)
It has been quite an experience but I am having fun and trying new things always has a learning curve. I know my learning curve hasn’t been as tough as some and I’m sure there are things I haven’t even thought of that will eventually come up. I enjoy it and plan to for a while, now out to the workshop before the little man wakes up.