Originally Posted by Gallivanters
Well done with getting a supplier to deliver bronze straps cut to your specifications. How was the cost comparison? Do you have contact info for them? I'd much prefer to have bronze chain plates to install next time as I'd rather look past the un-sightlyness of dull looking hardware than worry about the constant dangers of rig failure due to the shortcomings of a shiney stainless steel chainplate.
Cost-- most people would use Silicon Bronze and that is a bit more costly than Stainless Steel would be (may 2x-3x or more the price of a good SS). Tobin Bronze, because it is a brass (alloy Admiralty Brass or Naval Brass), is actually cheaper than Silicon Bronze (price similar to SS); we almost went to Silicon Bronze with our chain plates knowing it would last much longer than the Tobin Bronze...Then I though "what, am I nuts--these chainplates were in excellent shape 37 years after installation and not replaced for 76 years and I'm thinking they didn't last long enough?" so we went ahead with the Tobin Bronze. We did use Silicon Bronze for the heavy forestay chainplates, as mentioned.
If not in the USA or another 1st world country where you can get the materials cert/spec sheet with your material order, I would NOT use Tobin Bronze or Silicon Bronze since there are too many brasses that one could hood-wink you with and you'd never know you weren't getting what you wanted.
Via phone (with all vendors). we ordered high quality materials from a variety of places:
They did the chainplates, numerous silicon bronze rod stock (1/2" through 1" cut in 6 or 8 ft lengths mostly) for our keel bolts, a 2-1/2" diameter 12 ft long bronze rod that was used for our rudder stock. They also sold us a 6 ft section of lovely (and huge) 6-1/4" diameter bronze tubing that we cut into the new spigots for our portholes.
We also ordered high quality materials from:
They did a 1/2" thick Silicon Bronze sheet that we used for the forestay chainplates, also numerous copper rod stock (1/4"-3/8") used for large copper rivets hand peened in the rudder as well as rig (remember we've got old-fashioned spars and rigging)
They were much more responsive than Alaskan with quick turn around on custom cuts.
Another source that we never actually ordered from was: http://sequoia-brass-copper.com/
We used a local foundry to cast all the Manganese Bronze stuff. We made all our own patterns.
Nontraditional sources: We did also purchase some large sizes of 3/8" thick Silicon Bronze Plate (used on the bottom of the wood keel as a skid plate) and 1/4" thick Copper Nickel Plate (for making block strapping) from a local, reputable, metal salvage company. If you have access to such a salvage yard (remember "reputable" is very important) you may have access to excellent quality materials at very low cost. In our case, the particular salvage yard gets well-documented leftovers from a shipyard that does many US Navy projects (thus the copper nickel which is actually submarine plate...) When we started our project in 2007, I went to the salvage yard, gave them my card and told them to call me if they got any of a certain list of materials. Over a 3 year period, they called me many times and we obtained great stuff from them at great prices.
We also purchased red brass tubing (for a traditional shaft log), as well as 5/16" phos bronze rod (for running through/cleaning our engine heat exchanger) from:
Hope that's helpful info