Copper Countertop Tips

Copper is tricky to work with. Here are a few thoughts on using it for countertops. April 17, 2009

I started welding and metal-working at the age of 10, built a mini-bike when I was 12 - but I've never worked with sheet copper in any fashion. I need to build a copper countertop. I was wondering if any of you have advice or suggestions as to the thickness and grade (or hardness) of copper that would work best? My customer is into rustic stuff, so I'm not worried about staining or dents, etc. I know that "dead soft" copper (normally used for gasket material) would be really easy to work. I envision "rolling" the edges with a rawhide mallet, as opposed to a break-type corner. Any pitfalls I need to watch for? By the way, the copper will be laminated over an MDF substrate.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor Z:
Be careful, some foods react to it badly and I have read that some if not all contact cements will also.

From the original questioner:
I searched the forum for info on copper prior to my posting, and I read where it takes special attention to adhesives - it really surprised me that that would be the case. Just goes to show how much money/grief can be saved by taking a little time to pick the brains of others, as I would have used regular contact cement and never thought twice about it!

I called Revere Brass, a company started by Paul Revere many years ago. I talked to a nice fellow who has worked at that company for 39 years. He suggested I not even try to glue the copper down, as most all adhesives won't hold. He also told me that it will not matter as to the hardness of the copper, as it will all scratch and dent.

He told me it is very, very difficult to remove all of the oils, etc. from copper sheet, and that it (the sheet) will be oil canned (a term that indicates a metal sheet is not truly flat - you push down on a bubble here, and it pops up over there).

Apparently, the imbedded oils cause the most problem with adhesives - then add to that the ever-present stresses from the oil canning and you've got a problem waiting to happen.

There's a company in a town 120 miles from me that custom-builds gaskets for the oilfield - a 36" x 72" x .032 sheet of dead-soft copper will cost $452.00, and I have to drive over to pick it up. That's over $25 per square foot. They can get thinner material, but I was told it would cost even more.

From contributor H:
Have you thought about using metal laminate, such as Chemsurf brushed copper aluminum? There are many other laminate manufacturers that make metal laminate.