Christine Cox

Beveling Metal

Susan Robson Tobin writes:
I was wondering if you carry a piece of equipment or a tool that helps one to create a beveled edge on metal? I want to put a beveled edge on some of the metal I bought from you but have no clue as to how to go about it. Is there a cheap and an expensive way? Whatever advice would be appreciated.

My response:
To bevel the edges of metal, you’ll just need a flat hand-file. Nicholson is a good American brand, available at most hardware stores. Buy one with a handle. You’ll file better if your hand isn’t being poked with a steel tang. You can also buy a handle separately and install the file yourself.

Beveling with a file

Think of beveling as just knocking off the corners of the edge of the metal

Remember that a file only works on the push stroke. Hold the metal against something solid, like the edge of a table, so that an edge faces up. Hold your file at a 45 degree angle to the edge of the metal. Push. I think of it as cutting off the corner of the edge of the metal. The steeper the angle between the file and the edge of the metal, the more bevel you’ll have.

If you are doing a lot of pieces, use blue painter’s tape to adhere 150 or so grit sandpaper to a flat table. Hold the metal at a 45 degree angle, being sure to support it carefully so that it doesn’t bend, and pull the metal toward you. This sandpaper-on-the-table thing is also my favorite way to get nice round corners on metal sheet. I keep a piece of 150 and a piece of 400 grit taped to my table at all times.

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Comments on: "Beveling Metal" (4)

  1. Christine, so pleased that you have a blog. A question: While attempting to solder bezel wire on metal (to make homemade bezels), I misjudged how much of both gel flux and solder was necessary. The bezel has way, way too much of both flux and solder. I would like to save the piece of metal. Is there a way for me to remove the flux and solder and start again? Someone wrote in a forum that you could use a commercial remover but she found it to be expensive and the ingredients were acetone and isopropol alcohol. I tried such a mixture with no luck. Thank you in advance.

  2. Susan, you mentioned “gel flux” and soldering bezels in the same question. Did you solder the bezel with a soldering iron or a torch? I ask because soldering with the two tools is completely different and requires different fluxes and different solders. The two art-forms can’t be mixed.

    If you used a torch (my specialty), you’ll need to unsolder the bezel. Here’s how: flux and bring the whole piece up to soldering temperature again. When it’s exactly at soldering temperature (flux is clear), lift the bezel off the back plate with a pair of cross-lock tweezers. From here the only way to clean up that solder is mechanically; read: sanding.

    During a normal soldering process (again, with a torch), you can remove excess flux easily with pickle (an acid for removing flux and oxides from metal).

  3. Sorry if I caused confusion. I was using a torch. I used gel flux on the bezel wire and little bits of solder that I cut off a long roll (hammered flat and cut into tiny pieces). I covered the bezel wire with gel flux and then used the solid solder bits around the edges of the bezel wire. It was obvious to me that I was using too much of both solders – but I had one corner of the “box” I was making on top of the piece of metal I bought from you that would not “connect.” it would not connect in the corner and it would not attach to the metal. I kept putting more solder on it hoping that it so would eventually close. It did not.

    Do you sell soldering pickle? If so, where may I find it? Thank you, as always. I find your advice to be so helpful, thorough and am deeply grateful for it. 😀

    • We don’t sell pickle, but I use pH decreaser (pH down) from a pool/spa store. Remember to do what you oughter and add acid to water.

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