So today we need to talk about copper, brass and steel. WIRE that is!
I love copper wire. I use it all the time. I use it in garden art, in jewelry and nearly any thing that hangs. I love the fact that the older it gets, the better it gets! So does brass and steel (if you leave it out to rust), but copper still holds my heart!
The price on copper has gone up so high it hurts to buy it. I have never bought copper wire through a whole sale outfit, but, I’ve bought it in large quantities from companies knowing it was a good deal. YET! It still hurts.
The last copper I bought was 20 gauge from a jewelry warehouse. They changed their supplier and I didn’t notice. IT’S HORRIBLE!!! It’s covered with a thin layer of plastic. NOT NICE!!! It doesn’t say it any where in the literature or on the packaging. What hurt worse? I bought 20 spools in 25 foot lengths. Pay attention Shelley!!! That’s all I could think of after I got it home and was trying to use it! It’s still very usable! BUT! It will never get that old, aged patina on it that I love so much. OOPS!
SO! Here’s an idea. If you’ve read this blog before you know I have a thing about metal recycle centers! OH MY! Do I ever!
About a year ago I stumbled upon one right here by me. It had been there a long time, yet I just never “thought” of a reason to stop in. Then I painted my house. While doing that I asked the painters to help me load up an old metal cabinet in my yard. They did and I drove off to that recycle center. Oh was I surprised when they gave me a $23 check. In other words, that cabinet weighed 230 pounds. They were paying 10 cents a pound for clean scrap steel at the time. WELL! I was so happy I found some more. Then on the next trip, not only did I sell them metal, I found some metal I wanted to buy. YEP! They sell any thing they have there. WELL! Nearly anything. There are a few things, by law, they can not.
On that glorious day I bought a few coils of brass wire at $2.25 a pound. I was so happy and they thought I’d lost my mind. They couldn’t believe any one would want to pay that kind of money for wire!!! WELL! Let me tell you ,,, I WAS OVER THE MOON HAPPY!!!
Since that day I’ve been buying most of my copper wire from them. Before that I was buying large gauge copper at a metal recycler who has a contract with the local phone company. They are called an investment and recovery company. They take any thing the phone company has to get rid of. They go through it and sell most of that to scrap company’s. They used to have a day or two a month when they were open to the public and you could go shopping in a certain area that was full of phones of any type, office furniture and every thing you can imagine a large company has and wants to upgrade.
Well, the copper I was buying from them was large mostly #2 or #6 gauge. They charged me 2 different ways depending upon the grade of the copper. Remember, we are talking wire that was used as a grounding wire for your home phone service or that you find on the side of most utility poles. NOT smaller gauge you could use for most jewelry. The prices were going through the roof for the copper. At one point I had to stop at $4 a pound. It only took a few feet and I was at a pound. OUCH!!!!
When I found my local guys I asked about prices. NICE!!! Here, it’s copper no matter the size or grade! The price goes up and down with the current market. BUT! I have yet to pay more than $3 a pound.
Today! I’m going to show you approximately how much copper, brass and steel wire you can buy for only $3!!!
I PROMISE, if you love copper, you will love this!!!
First let’s look at some copper I bought recently.
Yes, this cost me a fortune. BUT! Not compared to a store front price!
|This little bit cost me $24, one week ago, and it's 14 gauge.|
|This bucket full I bought several months ago at only $2 a pound! The small coils are 14 gauge and the long "mess" is 20 gauge.|
|These are the gauges I use to tell what size any wire is. I worked 25 years outside for power and telephone.|
|When you insert a wire into the slot, it should fit nicely. This is 10 gauge wire.|
|This wire is 14 gauge.|
|I forget exactly, but I spent about $55 on all this.|
Now, let's see how much I paid per foot!!!
|Let's measure and weigh this coil.|
|7 strands that are about 74 inches each strand.|
That's 518 inches or 43' 2" total.
|I left it in a coil for easier weighing. It weighs 7.9 ounces.|
At last weeks price of $3 per pound and this coil being 1/2 a pound.
It only cost me $1.50 for 43 feet of 14 gauge copper.
How are we doing so far??? Are you following what I'm saying? I hope so. If not, drop me an email!!!!
Right now I can buy a 250 foot coil, of this same wire, at my local, large hardware store for $85. That's not too bad. But, that's 34 cents per foot.
Go there and you get almost 5 feet of wire for $1.50.
Go to my local recycler and you get 43 feet of that same wire for $1.50.
HUM!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's try this again only with steel!!!
This is a coil of wire I bought 2 years ago from the telephone company's investment and recovery contractor. They get every thing the phone company wants to get rid of. These guys then take that and part it out, scrap it or sell it to the public. Their choice. I love these guys. I've been going there for 8 to 10 years??? Some thing like that. They've come a long ways and are easy to deal with.
I've been using this spool off and on this past summer. It's not full, but close. This is the wire that holds the telephone cables up in the air between utility poles. It's either steel or stainless steel. This roll happens to be steel. Let's see what it cost me!!!
OH! Are you ready to cry??? Don't go any farther until you find a box of Kleenex!!!! It's okay. I'll wait for ya!!!
|This coil weighs 2 pounds 8 1/2 ounces.|
First let me say,,, some one can't add! OH! That would be ME!
So, this next bit on steel wire,,, if you read this once, then noticed the footage has changed. That would be because I oopsed big time! Sorry! STILL! This is an amazing deal.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR NOT BARKING AT ME:) !
Trying to figure out exactly how much wire is on here is nearly impossible. BUT! I do promise there is a minimum of 400 feet on this coil. I figured that by weighing the full coil, then weighing 10 individual rounds off that coil. Each single round was 12.5 inches. Then I did the math and came up with over 420 feet. HUM???? Probably. I retired nearly 5 years ago and I was thinking we ordered these at work in giant rolls of some where around 5000 or 10,000 feet. DANG! Wish I still worked there!!! :) HA! I lied!!!!
2 years ago I paid 3 cents per pound for this coil. I bought a couple. That's all they had! You see, this isn't some thing they get in every day.
This whole coil cost me about 10 cents!!!
Today this would have cost me about 30 cents!!!
Okay! Shall we move on to brass wire?
You bet 'cha!
|This is a small bit of the 14 gauge brass wire I bought nearly a year ago.|
|I measured and weighed, in grams, a single coil of the brass wire.|
|Then I weighed, in grams, these 2 small coils together.|
|Then I remembered this would weigh enough to look at it in ounces.|
So! Let's see how I did here!!!! READY??? Smile, now you know where to find some of this stuff!!!
Now you need to know that the price of brass today and one year ago are different! YEP! It's cheaper today!!!!
Last year it was $2.25 a pound. This year ,,,, only $2 per pound! So, I paid too much... :) !!!
A single coil measured about 16 inches long and there were a little more than 24 coils. The coils weighed in at 6.6 ounces. SO! That's 384 inches plus. At $2.25 per pound OR 14 cents per ounce...
I got 32 feet of 14 gauge brass wire for 93 cents!!!
There's a lot more of that here and I'm working on getting some more steel wire! YUM!
I go through a lot of wire when I hang things like this!
|That's 10 gauge copper running through the middle of all that driftwood and recycled wine and beer bottle glass!|
Around here, any thing "beachy" and fun sells!
I hope you get some good ideas on how and where to buy wire at. I try to make art with affordable prices. When you're using copper wire than can be hard. Unless you find a good deal. Then, every one wins!!!
Do your self a favor and look into any metal recyclers you may have in your area. If you find one close by, go visit them. Ask what they have that you can buy. Then! Do like I do. Clean out any thing and every thing you own that's metal and you're ready to get rid of. Take it in, sell it to them, then buy your new wire with "their" money!
If you've followed the last few weeks of this blog, you know that Joy and I have been picking up aluminum cans just for fun to see how much money there is out there. WELL! Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning Joy and I walked 10 blocks and we now have 2 full 30 gallon trash bags of smashed cans!!! WEE HAW!
That should add up to about $14.
Make that $14 worth of wire!!! :)
If you need any help or have any questions, please drop me a note! I'll help in any way I can.
Thanks for stopping by and have a good one! Shelley