Master Guide to Hardware Industry Brass Forging

Brass forging uses the localized compressive forces of a hammer or die to shape brass — an alloy of copper and zinc. It has long been a preferred method for shaping hardware components and other industrial parts. This technique offers distinct advantages over other metalworking methods and finds numerous applications in various sectors.

Interstate Metal, Inc. specializes in custom metal forging, using closed forging processes to ensure precision and quality in every project. Our team of experts is dedicated to delivering excellence in every aspect of our work, from precision engineering to personalized services and technical advice.

Methods of Brass Forging

Click to ExpandMaster Guide to Hardware Industry Brass Forging

Brass forging is a versatile metalworking process that can be performed using various techniques depending on the final product’s desired shape, size, and complexity. These methods include:

Open Die Forging

Open die forging, also called free forging, shapes a workpiece between two flat dies using hammering or pressing until the desired form is achieved. This technique is suitable for producing simple shapes and is often used for large parts that cannot be accommodated in closed dies. It allows for flexibility in shaping and is ideal for creating customized pieces.

Closed Die Forging

Closed or impression die forging involves placing the workpiece in a die set with one or more cavities of the desired shape. The metal is then compressed using a hammer or press, forcing it to fill the cavities and take on the form of the die. This technique is suitable for producing complex profiles with tight tolerances. It ensures precision and consistency in the final product, making it ideal for mass production.

Hot Forging

Hot forging produces larger and more complex parts, as it allows for greater deformation of the metal. During this method, the brass billet is heated to a specific temperature — typically above the recrystallization temperature — which makes the metal more malleable. It is then placed under a die and forced into the cavity using a hammer or press, applying pressure to shape the metal.

Cold Forging

Cold forging is ideal for producing smaller and more intricate parts, allowing for greater precision and control over the final shape. With this method, the brass billet is not heated but instead shaped at room temperature. It involves passing the brass billet through a series of dies with varying shapes to create its final form.

Brass Forging vs. Casting Methods: A Detailed Comparison

Brass forging and casting are two common methods used to manufacture metal components. While both techniques have their merits, forging stands out as a superior method for producing high-quality, durable parts. Below is a detailed comparison between the two:

Material Properties

Brass forging shapes a solid billet of brass through compressive forces, which aligns the metal’s grain structure and results in a stronger, more durable component. The resulting part boasts superior mechanical properties, including higher strength, toughness, and impact resistance. This makes it ideal for applications where reliability and performance are critical, such as in the hardware industry.

In contrast, casting involves pouring molten brass into a mold and allowing it to cool and solidify. While this helps produce complex shapes and intricate details, the resulting component may have less uniformity in terms of grain structure and mechanical properties. As a result, cast brass parts may be more prone to defects such as porosity and shrinkage, which can affect their strength and reliability.

Surface Finish

The forging process can produce parts with a smooth surface finish, reducing the need for additional machining and finishing operations. This saves time and cost and ensures a high-quality final product. The smooth surface of forged brass parts also contributes to their corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal.

Meanwhile, casting can result in surface defects such as roughness and irregularities. In such cases, it may require additional machining and polishing operations.

Design Flexibility

Brass forging allows for greater design flexibility, enabling the production of complex shapes and intricate details. This makes it ideal for creating custom components tailored to specific applications.

Casting can also produce complex shapes, but the design flexibility may be limited by the constraints of the mold. In addition, certain features — such as undercuts and sharp corners — may be challenging to cast without additional machining or secondary operations.


The initial setup costs for forging can be higher casting methods. However, the overall cost per part can be lower due to reduced material waste and machining requirements. Additionally, the longer service life of forged parts can lead to cost savings over the product’s lifespan.

On the other hand, casting can be a cost-effective method for producing large quantities of parts, as the setup costs are relatively low. That said, the cost per part may increase if additional machining and finishing operations are required to achieve the desired quality and surface finish.

Applications of Brass Forging in the Hardware Industry

Brass forging is widely used in the hardware industry to produce components for a variety of applications, including:

  • Commercial levers: Forged brass levers are extensively used in commercial and industrial settings due to their strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. They can withstand heavy use and harsh environments, making them ideal for high-traffic areas such as hotels, hospitals, and office buildings.
  • Plumbing fittings: Brass forged fittings are commonly used in plumbing systems due to their corrosion resistance, tight seals, and ease of installation. These ensure leak-free connections and long-lasting performance, even in demanding environments like residential and commercial plumbing systems.
  • Door hardware: Forged brass door hardware — such as handles, knobs, and hinges — offers both functionality and style. These components are designed to withstand frequent use and provide a secure and elegant solution for residential and commercial doors.
  • Electrical components: The superior conductivity and corrosion resistance of brass make it an ideal material for producing electrical components such as terminals, connectors, and switchgear.
  • Hardware fasteners: Brass forging is used to produce a wide range of hardware fasteners, including bolts, nuts, and screws.
  • Lock parts: Forging is integral to producing lock hardware, including lock bodies, cylinders, and keys. These components require exceptional strength and precision to ensure security and reliability in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.
  • Furniture: Brass forging is employed in manufacturing furniture components like legs, brackets, and decorative accents. These components not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of furniture but also contribute to its structural stability and longevity.
  • Decorative hardware: Forged brass is widely used in decorative hardware applications, including finials, curtain rods, and ornamental fixtures. The intricate designs and durability of forged brass add sophistication and charm to interior and exterior spaces.
  • Architecture: The strength and durability of forged brass make it ideal for architectural hardware applications such as railings, balusters, and staircases.
  • Marine: Brass forging provides corrosion-resistant and durable solutions for marine hardware applications, including cleats, hinges, and porthole fittings. These components withstand harsh marine environments, ensuring safety and reliability on boats and yachts.

Interstate Metal: Your Trusted Partner in Custom Metal Forging Solutions

Interstate Metal, Inc. has been manufacturing and distributing brass, copper, aluminum, and lead-free brass alloys since 1990. We can design directly from your blueprints, using the most current CAD/CAM/CAE software technology for the utmost design, engineering, and manufacturing accuracy.

Our headquarters is located in Santa Fe Springs, California, where we serve a large customer base throughout North America. We also have a mill capable of manufacturing custom orders to your specifications. Additionally, we offer various additional services — from cutting and chrome plating to logistics, industrial services, and supply chain management.

Contact us or request more information to learn more about our processes and services!