Where to find heavy gauge copper?

Oleg

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I annealed some # 8 copper wire in a barbeque on charcoal briquettes from instructions found here. I've been looking around but I can't find anything thicker. Correct me if I'm wrong but it must be solid # 6, 4 or 2 not stranded to make # 6 etc. It also must be sold by the foot as I don't need 100', which means probably scrap. Home depot doesn't have solid, they have a Bare Copper # 3 (ground I think) but it is stranded # 3/7. The guys there don't even know what it would be used for. Can anyone say where heavy gauges like this are used, commercial building wiring, heavy equipment or could anyone name a cable produced for special commercial or industrial applications that consists of of these gauges.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Are you looking for a source for annealed wire? Or wire you wish to anneal yourself?

You can buy solid 6 gauge or 4 gauge copper wire at a home good store like Home Depot or Lowes. It is sold as copper grounding wire. If it says "soft drawn" it means that is had been heat annealed, so it should be softer, but to what extent I don't know.

Copper grounding wire.
 
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MrWunderful

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I’m a commercial and industrial electrician.

The largest I have ever seen is #2, and its no joke. I doubt you could even bend it by hand, we use a “hickey” to bend it. Its very rarely used however, mostly for Ufer grounds. Anything larger is considered Rod.


I’m curious as to why you think you need something larger? #6 or 4 seems to be as large as most professionals need, and if thats not enough, multiple wraps or guy wires are used.
 

Oleg

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You can buy solid 6 gauge or 4 gauge copper wire at a home good store like Home Depot or Lowes. It is sold as copper grounding wire. If it says "soft drawn" it means that is had been heat annealed

I do want to do it myself and not in my experience, as stated above it is a composite of strands, eg. 3/7 is seven strands twisted together to the gauge of 3. The examples you gave at Lowes are not available at Loews in Canada, ours is stranded. BUT the border will open soon and it's 128 km to the Loew's in Amherst, they even have it by the foot!

The largest I have ever seen is #2, and its no joke. I doubt you could even bend it by hand, we use a “hickey” to bend it. Its very rarely used however, mostly for Ufer grounds. Anything larger is considered Rod.

I don't need 2 from what you've just said, I need it bigger than 8 though, that seems to be the largest solid strand available in retail stores, commercial suppliers are more likely to sell wholesale price and quantity. I had heard they are not bendable, that's the reason I got for why 6 and below are not stocked. A supply closer to home would be nice thought, where would 4 & 6 be used and to ground what exactly, a building or a piece of equipment?
 

Oleg

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Multiple wraps of #8 are less likely to end up with broken branches than trying to armstrong #4 around a branch.
Okay, might need three or four, one did nothing really. Heads up, understood thanks, 8 while softer it's not really soft, I would like to see what 6 does though, I haven't actually seen 6 or 4 yet so I won't know until I try them.
 

bwaynef

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In a seasonal class I was taking that had a metallurgist as a participant, he explained that wrapping w/ a second wrap of a given gauge gives on the order of 2x strength (there's some synergy there that may account for slightly more than 2x strength in some conditions), where as a single wrap of the thicker gauge gives ~8x the strength.

It was very appropriate for the class discussion at the time, and nobody here asked that exact question ...but it felt appropriate to throw in right about now.
 

Oleg

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Thank you, I think Colin Lewis demonstrated the same on his free Craftsy video.
Thanks all for your input.
 

MrWunderful

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I don't need 2 from what you've just said, I need it bigger than 8 though, that seems to be the largest solid strand available in retail stores, commercial suppliers are more likely to sell wholesale price and quantity. I had heard they are not bendable, that's the reason I got for why 6 and below are not stocked. A supply closer to home would be nice thought, where would 4 & 6 be used and to ground what exactly, a building or a piece of equipment?
The short answer is yes, without boring people too much about the electrical construction industry. Telecom grounds are generally #6 solid, as are grounding electrode conductors in residential (here in silicon valley- all jurisdictions are different)

When we ground a large commercial building or high rise, we generally use a 3/0 ground, which is probably 20-30 #12 wires, as a cable. It is then bonded to the rebar in the foundation slab, as well as the structural steel. That gives any “short” the quickest path to ground to allow Circuit breakers to trip, which stops fires from happening. In reality, its quite a bit more complicated than that, but this is a bonsai forum!
 

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Drewski

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You can find folks selling copper wire on some of the bonsai auction pages on Facebook.
 

Potawatomi13

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Confusion! Normally Bonsai wire sellers have diameter in mm. There is difference from wire "gauge" is there not?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Confusion! Normally Bonsai wire sellers have diameter in mm. There is difference from wire "gauge" is there not?
Gauges are different than mm's for sure. I used to think a pint was a volumetric description. Until I found out that there are dry pints as well that have roughly 14% less volume than wet pints.
US measurement systems keep amazing me. Made the decision to stay away from those if I can.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I’ve not heard of anybody recently having success in contacting Jim Gremel for 4 AWG.

I get my annealed copper wire from Jeremiah McKinney, who took over Julian Adams' wire business.

adamsbonsai2020dec5009001.jpg

I have never gotten 4 AWG from him... but he would be the first place I would check for it.

McKinney Bonsai Wire
 

PiñonJ

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I get my annealed copper wire from Jeremiah McKinney, who took over Julian Adams' wire business.

View attachment 358678

I have never gotten 4 AWG from him... but he would be the first place I would check for it.

McKinney Bonsai Wire
Jeremiah doesn’t have 4. I told him I would buy it from him and he took it under advisement!🤣
In the mean time, I plan to get it from Home Depot and anneal it myself.
 

sorce

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Ask the Scrappers, them fellers wheeling the carts down the hill, or was that Montreal?

I reckon if you spent half a day looking at $50 an hour, you'll still save more money than going to the Store, any store.

Once you have a Scrapper or 2 willing to sell you their copper for twice what they'd get and half what you'd pay, your supply will be unlimited and much greater than others'.

I got some old 1920's stranded that contains sizes between #4 and #6, different than mm.

When we are speaking of attention to the smallest details, which we are of course, having sizes between what everyone else has will give you a better finished product. The scenario will never happen when 2 judged trees will tie so close half a mm of wire difference on a branch makes a difference...but that doesn't mean we can't pay attention to details smaller than the judges are.

#scrapzone

Sorce
 

Oleg

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I bought some 6 at Home Depot and they had 4.
I can't find it here but if all else fails I know where to get it.
Telecom grounds are generally #6 solid, as are grounding electrode conductors in residential (here in silicon valley- all jurisdictions are different)
This is what I was looking for, I know where to start looking. Thanks again.
dry pints as well that have roughly 14% less volume than wet pints.
I did not know that! Always interesting.
I get my annealed copper wire from Jeremiah McKinney, who took over Julian Adams' wire business.
I got my wire from Jeremiah. I got the starter bundle, thanks to Adair for the suggestion, # 8 gauge and smaller. This was a great solution as I see what it should be like in application for most sizes. Really a very positive experience, simple, fast (at my door in 10 days flat) The only problem is price but not Jeremiahs, $58.00 is very good but with shipping and the exchange rate it turns out to be $164.00 CAD, ooch. I'm okay with that as a one off supply and a learning experience but I'd rather not go on like this at that price. However shipping weight was marked as unlimited and the box was a good size, I could get a lot more in it for my $55.00.
 

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