instead of using brass wire with its attendant problems such as; hardness, low tensile strenght and paint adhesion, I recommend (and always use) nickel silver wire.
the advantages of nickel silver wire are multiple insofar that:
- it is relatively soft in its natural state, which suits many situations, such as locomotive piping;
- it can be hardened by using tension or by twisting the wire on its own axis with a pin vise or similar device in relatively long legths, where a harder wire is required. one of the advantages in this method is that you can control the hardness by the number of turns being applied to a length of wire;
- due to the initial softness it can easily be shaped into tapers, such as round to flat, the end can be flattened to form hand grabs, it is easily drilled to allow pins to be inserted to simulate the bolts on hand grabs;
- it holds paint far better than brass
- and above all it is available in long coils so that you dont have to put up with short 300mm lengths.
My source for nickel silver wire in the US is Precision Scale Model Engineering (www.psmescale.com
) Great supplier who will gladly ship worldwide.
No connection with PSME except as a happy customer.
have fun & stay cool