Brass Bullion

In both of my current projects, I'll be using brass to make brackets for mounting the bench seat and the desktop to their respective stands. With the black walnut still acclimating, I decided to tackle both sets of brackets at the same time and then move back to the woodworking. The brass comes supplied in bar stock of various dimensions. Above, you can see me hacksawing a length of 3/16" x 1" brass bar for the bench brackets.

I use the disk sander to neatly square up the end cuts. With the brackets shaped to rough size, I go right to the drill press and bore and countersink the holes for the brass flathead screws.

After boring and countersinking all the holes, I set up the jointer with sandpaper adhered to the bed, and then shape and finish each bracket by hand. This time I'm using 800 grit sandpaper to give the surfaces a nice, even brushed finish. The jointer fence ensures that each edge is square.

Six bench brackets are ready to go. I'll just set these aside and get to making the desk brackets.

For the desk, the process is similar. Here you can see the countersinking operation on the drill press. This time I'm using a 1/4" x 1 1/2" brass bar. I'll need about half of that width to accommodate the movement of the top.

Once all the holes are completed, it's time for a special operation. I'm about to try making a bracket that allows for movement, but instead of including a slotted hole that a mounting screw can slide across, I've decided to make a different type of bracket that is split into two parts that can slide by each other, while still holding down the top.

Here is the set-up I'm using on the slot mortiser to cut rabbets along the one edge that will overlap in each bracket pair.

It's a very slow operation, but I'm able to do it in just two passes. One that takes about 98% of the material out, and a second that provides a fairly smooth finished surface. Below you can see the end result. The parts slide very smoothly past each other, so this will work great. I should note that for normal mortising in wood, I use carbide four-flute center cutting end mills designed for cutting steel, so I'm using the same tooling for the brass as I normally do with wood.

Now it's back to the jointer with some sandpaper to give the desk brackets a final brushed finish.

As I began stacking up these desk brackets, my imagination began to see gold! But, alas, it's merely brass. Although, with the price of copper these days, brass is nothing to sneeze at. Perhaps in my next life I'll make brackets out of gold!

With the bracket-making now history, I'm very anxious to get back to some woodworking.

Hej då, and happy shavings!

Craig