Author Topic: Annealing copper head gaskets  (Read 569 times)

Online Minto

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Annealing copper head gaskets
« on: 29.05. 2020 23:03 »
Hi all,
I have 3 copper head gaskets to choose from, the one that was on the bike before I stripped it, one that came with the gasket set from SRM, and one that I bought last year which claims to be pre-annealed.
I first attempted to anneal the old gasket, with my plumbing blow torch, which now feels harder than before. Then I tried the same with the SRM gasket, same result. I am struggling to get enough heat in to the metal. Can I bring these two back to life by reheating them?
The other gasket I have feels loads softer than either the old gasket or the SRM one (before m attempt with the blow torch). Should I just go with that as it is?
Cheers y'all
Jase
52 A10 plunger
Aprilia RSVR

Online berger

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #1 on: 29.05. 2020 23:10 »
have got a gas cooker? if so hold it over full flame gently moving it about until it glows at you and throw it in the sink provided you have water in the sink. when you take it out of the water you should be able to eat it, if your into that kinda thing *whistle*

Online RichardL

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #2 on: 30.05. 2020 00:59 »
have got a gas cooker? if so hold it over full flame gently moving it about until it glows at you and throw it in the sink provided you have water in the sink. when you take it out of the water you should be able to eat it, if your into that kinda thing *whistle*

Not sure if Berger means an outdoor gas cooker. I do mine by laying it across the hottest gas burner of our kitchen range and hitting it with two propane torches (bottle type) at the same time. Keep at it until every zone has had a chance to glow. I let it cool naturally, but with copper I don't believe it matters. Probably shouldn't bend it to see if it's soft, because that will work-harden it. If all your gaskets were of the same material, they should all he able to be annealed to the same hardness (by which I mean, "softness").

I've also, for laughs, tried annealing in our fireplace.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cOul-aIO_lg&feature=youtu.be


Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2020 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDEon September 27, 2020 (if it's not cancelled and we are free to move about by then). Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Online Minto

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #3 on: 30.05. 2020 02:39 »
Berger,
If I try eating it, won't  I be visiting the bovine dentist again?
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Online Minto

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #4 on: 30.05. 2020 02:44 »
Richard, I came across your bid on YouTube as while ago, nice one. Did I see on some other post that you're in Chicago? What a fantastic city, we visited last year and I was blown away. Just a brilliant time
Jase
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Online Greybeard

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #5 on: 30.05. 2020 08:21 »
I bring mine into the kitchen. We have a gas hob. I lay the gasket over the hottest burner and also apply heat from a plumbers gas torch. The gasket doesn't need to be uniformaly cherry red but try to get all areas to that colour during the heating. I then pick the gasket up with a pair of long-nosed pliers and drop it into cold water. The last part is not essential but it shocks off most of the oxide. I finish cleaning it in the sink, with a Brillo pad or wire-wool.

Online Minto

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #6 on: 30.05. 2020 09:18 »
Right, looks like I'm cooking today then.
Ill try the SRM one first.
Jase
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Offline ianbsa

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #7 on: 28.06. 2020 12:06 »
I know I'm new around here and last thing I want to do is sound like a show off..but.
To anneal means to cool slowly, if u chuck it in water it'll just harden up again.
 I make a little kiln from any old bits of brick stone etc then heat to cherry red then keep the flame on it gradually backing off...it can take a few minutes but the trick is to let it cool very slowly, leaves it soft as butter.

Offline chaterlea25

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #8 on: 28.06. 2020 12:58 »
Hi Ian,
Yes and no!
With copper quenching will leave it dead soft, different to  most other metals
This was taught to me as an apprentice and is in the text books
It has worked for me for the last 45 years
Quenching in heavily salted water (brine) should also remove the scale, I have tried it  But maybe not enough salt as it was only partly succesful

John
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Offline ianbsa

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #9 on: 28.06. 2020 13:14 »
Well I've learnt something new. Just googled it, thks John...tho I still don't understand how cooling it quickly in water softens it....It kind of goes against everything I thought I knew, kind of the opposite of case hardening steel with a quick dunk in oil/water.

Online berger

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #10 on: 28.06. 2020 16:14 »
mmmmm when do the pubs open *beer* *beer* steel , copper etc etc different metalaly bits or moleculeeeey things , I have always used water, might try some horrible beer someone left me *bright idea* *beer*

Offline BSA_54A10

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #11 on: 29.06. 2020 03:41 »
Well I've learnt something new. Just googled it, thks John...tho I still don't understand how cooling it quickly in water softens it....It kind of goes against everything I thought I knew, kind of the opposite of case hardening steel with a quick dunk in oil/water.

Quenching does not make any difference because there is no phase change occuring as there is in iron, steel or martensitic brasses.
It will definately clean the oxides from the surface.
Failed attempts at annealing generally happen when using lpg or oxy gear because you have held it at temperature for too long
Pure copper adsorbs carbon, oxygen & hydrogen quite readily and the higher the temperature the more it will adsorb
Bike Beesa
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Offline UKlittleguns

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #12 on: 29.06. 2020 15:00 »
Hi Everybody,

This might help.  A direct quote from Newnes Engineers Reference Book 1960 edition.

Heat treatment of copper and copper alloys page 1282.

"For commercial copper, anneal at 500C or 600C for massive sections.  Cool down slowly or water quench.  Water quenching is quicker and gives a rather softer copper".

Best Regards

Online Jules

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #13 on: 11.07. 2020 02:54 »
I just read this post, because I'm still focused on the frame and gearbox rebuild right now, however, I'm intrigued - it seems (from this post), that annealing the head gasket is "required" prior to refitting, which I can understand after years of use then reusing, but why would you anneal a brand new one??
AND, on the topic of head gaskets I read a post some time back that made reference to a co. that made various thickness copper head gaskets, I've tried searching but cant find it, can somebody put me onto that please?? The reason I ask is that I rebuilt the Golden Flash engine many (many!) years ago and its been sitting ever since, and back then the only new pistons I could find were HC, which I didn't want but had no choice. Then recently I read a post about various thickness head gaskets to reduce CR, hence the question....thanks

Online KiwiGF

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Re: Annealing copper head gaskets
« Reply #14 on: 11.07. 2020 07:13 »
I just read this post, because I'm still focused on the frame and gearbox rebuild right now, however, I'm intrigued - it seems (from this post), that annealing the head gasket is "required" prior to refitting, which I can understand after years of use then reusing, but why would you anneal a brand new one??
AND, on the topic of head gaskets I read a post some time back that made reference to a co. that made various thickness copper head gaskets, I've tried searching but cant find it, can somebody put me onto that please?? The reason I ask is that I rebuilt the Golden Flash engine many (many!) years ago and its been sitting ever since, and back then the only new pistons I could find were HC, which I didn't want but had no choice. Then recently I read a post about various thickness head gaskets to reduce CR, hence the question....thanks

A used solid gasket will have been work hardened by the action of being compressed by head bolts. They can be re-used multiple times as I guess they (permanently) compress very little each time they get used.

A new solid gasket may be soft but more likely will be supplied work hardened by the action of the raw material its made from being rolled to thickness, or maybe when its stamped out, I’ve only bought a few solid copper gaskets and they were all supplied in a hardened or semi hardened state.

A properly annealed gasket can be easily bent between two fingers and has no “springinesss” in it at all, it stays bent without any spring back.
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