I have been making a piece of lace with pins in a box with the label "Unplated Brass Pins 29 mm x .86", but I am running out of them and I would like to continue the piece with the same pins. Unfortunately, I do not know where I bought them.

Some exploration has revealed that when you see a pin measurement such as 29mm x .86 the first number is the length of the pin and the second number is the width. With this information, I decided that I could reasonably substitute a box of pins that I had that claimed to be "Nickel, 30 x .85" as one would think that such a small width difference in the pin, 1/100 of a mm, would be imperceptible in the size of the loop at the edge of the piece, and imperceptible to the worker. However, the pin felt and acted much differently which led me to wonder whether the difference was entirely in the metal or whether there really was more of a difference in the size of the pin than the measurements seemed to indicate. One suggestion that I received was to lay 10 pins next to each other in order to measure them, as this would be easier than trying to measure a single pin.

To my surprise the brass pins seemed to be closer to .83 mm  in diameter, whereas the nickel pins appeared to be more like .78.

So, I am still seeking a supplier of the Unplated Brass Pins, 29mm x .86.

Here are the results of my experiment.

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I don't have a direct answer to your questions, but I do know that different metals have different degrees of hardness.  Brass is quite soft and bends easily.  Nickel is a good deal stiffer, as is steel with nickel added.  I took a detour from bobbin lace into wirewrap jewelry in the 1990s, so I discovered some of these differences through experience.

I am finding if i do white lace the brass pins make my work dicoloured and grubby, my nexr project is going to be in white so i think i will have to go back to the normal silver pins!

Why did they do brass pins in the first place or maybe now we have the clean none rusting stell pins why do we use the brass ones still.

Pin update. I discovered that I had a box of 100 picot pins #20 that were about the same size as the brass pins, and began to use them. I had paid $3.75 for 100 pins and I didn't know where I had gotten them. I asked Holly about them and she said she was not the source, but that the pins in question were #20 bank pins, which she does not habitually carry. I looked all over the internet for these and finally found a source at Dixieland Taxidermy Supply. They were $12 for a pound. I also decided to buy some #24 bank pins on spec, as I am working in some heavy thread and am enjoying the experience. Dixie Taxidermy Supply got me the pins sending by US mail for a total of under $30. I did the ten pin test and discovered that the original picot pins, the #20 pins and the #24 pins are all .90 mm which makes them a good match for the 29mm x .86. My pin cup runneth over. Two pounds of pins are a lot of pins.

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2 pounds of pins. Yikes!

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