Brass from Start to Finish: Recycled Scrap

We recently completed a spectacular residential project with brass floor grilles throughout the home (those pics will be in a post of their own), and this week, I want to share a bit of what went on behind the scenes.  The photo above is the cherry on the sundae!

I am very careful about who I work with.  All vendors are vetted thoroughly by me, and I make great efforts to form personal relationships with the fabricators, and finishers I work with.  This was my first time working with Phoenix Day, and what a pleasure it was. They literally helped us rescue a project that was stranded in Nebraska following the tragic death of one of our fabricators who died on the job.  Unimaginable tragedy, and unimaginable situation to navigate personally and professionally. 

I had a brass order that was completed and just needed to be finished when it was suddenly halted. For us it was a BIG order, but in the industry it would be considered a small specialty niche order.  It is very difficult to find skilled artisans who can work with brass, as it can’t just be welded like steel. Brass is extremely delicate and has to be braised. I used my network, even calling fellow companies such as Parasoleil.  I love that I have a strong enough relationship with colleagues whom I respect in the industry,  that I can reach out to ask them advice.  I couldn’t find ANYONE.  I dug deeper, remembering the brass installation we did several years ago in Oakland where we collaborated with DEKA Fabrication. So, I reached out to them, and bingo! I got a referral to Phoenix Day in Richmond, CA.  

This was a local job and required expertise and skill.  When I went to Phoenix Day to discuss the project with owner Tony, he showed me around their shop. Instantly I knew this was the place. Beautiful high end light fixtures and all things brass lined the walls, the space was immaculate and organized and all the people I saw who worked there were tediously attending to their craft with appropriate protective gear.  

I explained the situation, the customer who was patiently waiting, and my lack of sleep. Normally, the lead time can be 12-20 weeks and they did this for me in 3-4, a favor I won’t soon forget.  Thank you Tony!  He also said he could do the satin finish we needed. Normally we go to Gerber Hinge, without exception, for our finishing but this was a special case. It was a local job, and shipping the brass back and forth was creating a risk and time factor I didn’t want to take on.  

In the end, Tony didn’t braise the brass as he said in little dots to attach the flange. Instead he soldered the entire flange on, making it air tight.  I love that he went this extra mile to think it through (this was for a duct after all), and of course I love that the grilles look beautiful and clean on the underside too.  The finish is a multi-directional satin, and absolutely lovely.  When I picked them up, there were a few scratches which were quickly smoothed out by their team.  It takes a village, many eyes on the pieces, and extra care to meet our high standards.  We did it! 

All items were wrapped carefully and it was while I was waiting for the items to be wrapped, that I noticed this bin of brass scrap.  Proudly, they told me that every single scrap of metal, aluminum , steel and brass goes to a local recycling plant here in Richmond.  Music to my ears. 

Thank you for the outstanding work Phoenix Day!