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How to Glue Sheet Copper to Wood

Andy Pasquesi

Reflective, colorful and malleable, copper and its alloys have been prized by architects and blacksmiths since time immemorial. Today, however, copper sheeting backed with wood (as opposed to full-thickness metal) is the preferred medium for most craftsmen.

Whether the copper sheet is flat or embossed, the gluing procedure is basically the same: etching the metal's undersurface, applying liquid epoxy and clamping with a batten (i.e., long, flat piece of wood) to set overnight.

Step 1

Load the disk sander with a 60-grit disk.

Step 2

Lay the copper sheet face down on a sturdy surface.

Step 3

Turn the sander on and apply it to the sheet, creating a pattern of circular etch marks across the entire back surface.

Step 4

Turn off the sander.

Step 5

Soak a rag in lacquer thinner and thoroughly polish the newly-etched surface with it. Give the surface 30 minutes to air dry.

Step 6

Pour 3M Fastbond 30NF liquid adhesive into an empty 1-quart paint can until the container is two-thirds full.

Step 7

Dip the paintbrush into the liquid adhesive and paint a thin layer onto the area of the wood where you plan to attach the copper sheet.

Step 8

Paint a thin layer of adhesive onto the entire etched surface of the copper sheet.

Step 9

Lay the copper sheet on top of the wood so that the two adhesive-coated surfaces meet.

Step 10

Lay a sheet of 4 Mil. plastic sheeting over the entire copper sheet.

Step 11

Lay a sheet of 1/8"-thick cork on top of the plastic sheeting.

Step 12

Lay the batten over the center of the cork sheet.

Step 13

Attach a G-clamp around the top of the batten and bottom of the wood every 8 inches.

Step 14

Tighten each G-clamp snugly.

Step 15

Remove excess adhesive from around the edge of the copper sheet.

Step 16

Allow the assembly to dry for at least 12 hours.