How do you figure out what type of metal an item is?

To show you what to think about, Kevin pulls a few pieces of scrap metal he picked up out of the scrap barrel. First he picks up an old 30 millimeter cartridge from one of the A10 (“Warthog”) close air support airplanes. It’s been sitting out in the sun a while, not only down in Tucson, where it came from, but also in Kevin’s art studio yard. So it’s got a pretty good patina on it.

You really can’t tell what kind of metal it is, but it’s from a gun so Kevin speculates that it must be brass. He cleans the surface with a wire wheel, then a flap disc, then finally a grinding stone. He didn’t get any sparks against the stone grinding wheel, yet it’s bright and shiny. Kevin Caron had guessed it might be aluminum or maybe stainless steel, but because there were no sparks, it’s definitely stainless.

What else did Kevin find out back? A monster lag screw he picked up along the railroad tracks. It’s definitely steel – he shows how it is attracted to a magnet. Think about where you found the item and what it’s being used for. It was found along the railroad tracks you’d want things that are high tensile, strong, so the bolt might be high carbon.

Kevin also found a horseshoe. Well, of course, they’re made of steel. You can do whatever you want with those.

He also found a propeller from an outboard motor. It’s actually fairly light for its size, so that would immediately say aluminum – titanium is too brittle. Kevin points out, though, that there is a spline inside the propeller – you want to pay attention to whether there is more than 1 material in the item. From the weight and its use and the fact the magnet doesn’t attract, he suspects it’s stainless steel.

Next Kevin shows a section of blue green metal that was obviously cut off. It’s fairly heavy and has a wild blue, green patina on it. He shows where he ground some of the finish away – it’s copper.

Once you figure out what you have, you need to figure out if you have the right welder and other tools.

Kevin hopes that helps. He appreciates you watching and would love it if you’d give this free how to video a “like.”

Before you go, you might want to catch him doin’ a little down home storifying ….

See this video now ….