Scrapping: Tricks of the Trade

When you’re a scrapper it is important to stay on top of market news, price changes, and other events that may affect your profits at the scrap yard. But it is also important to keep up on the latest tips and information that can help you make more money in a quick fashion.



Staying updated with the latest tips and tricks for scrapping can help you scrap faster and more efficiently. You can watch different YouTube channels and participate in forums to help you expand your tricks of the trade and make more money scrapping. Below we have collected some of the most popular tricks of the trade when it comes to recycling your scrap metal.

Scrap Metal Tricks of the Trade

Keeping track of the best tricks and ways to scrap is important to ensure you are making the most money on your different materials like copper, wire, e-scrap, brass, and more. With the different types of tricks below we have rated them on a difficulty level of 3 stars, with 3 stars being the most difficult.

Magnet Test ★☆☆

We have gone over it plenty of times, not because we like to repeat ourselves, but to make it known how important it is to use your magnet for your scrap metal. If you take a magnet (even from your fridge) and it sticks to your metal it is going to be a ferrous material like steel or iron. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it is going to be a non-ferrous material like copper, aluminum, or brass which are generally worth more money.

Suggested Reading: Difference Between Non-Ferrous & Ferrous Metals



Using A File ★★☆

When you are looking to identify difficult materials, it is handy to have a file on hand. Not a nail file, but a metal file. You can use a metal file to file down coated items or wires to determine the type of metal it is. This can come in handy with copper and brass. Some pipes may be tarnished but if you use a file you can see the color of the metal. The reddish color will be copper and the yellowish color will be brass. If you have different types of wire and use the handle file. A silver color will be aluminum and reddish will be copper.

Suggested Reading: 5 Essential Tools Every Scrapper Needs

Spark Test ★★★

A spark test will require a grinding stone or table top sanding disc. It is a bit of a challenge to get the necessary equipment together to have a reliable spark test but if you are dealing with a wide-variety of metals on a regular basis it could be worth your time and money to learn the benefits of a spark test. A spark test will help you determine the type of metal you have based on the characteristics of the spark it produces. Each metal has it’s own chemical compound and that will be differentiated with a spark test.

Stripping Your Wire ★★☆

Getting your various types of copper wire together can be rewarding when you bring the load to the scrap yard. But if you are looking to make some extra money it is important to know what types and sizes of wires should be stripped for bigger profits. As a general rule of thumb we suggest stripping wires and cable loads that weigh more than 50 pounds and if they are thicker than you pinky finger. If the wire is less than the width of your pinky finger it may not be worth your time to strip it for the return of bare bright wire from inside.

Suggested Reading: How-To: Strip Copper Wire for Scrap



Know Your Tare ★☆☆

If you are constantly using different containers for your scrap when you are bringing it to the yard, it may be a good idea to mark the tare on the side of the container for your own knowledge. Many scrappers use standard 5 gallon buckets to collect their scrap copper, brass, or steel in. Others use whole garbage cans. Whatever containers you use, it could be a good idea to spray paint the weight of each on the side of them. That way when you go to the scrap yard and get your receipt you can double check for the correct tare of the different containers.

Suggested Reading: 8 Tips To Avoid Scrap Yard Receipt Mistakes

No matter what materials you are usually dealing with, it is always good to have some tricks up your sleeves when you are scrapping. At the end of the day most people want to make more money on their scrap so be sure to try some of the tricks we suggest and see if they work for you. You can also share some of your own tricks with other scrappers on our iScrap Metal Forum. Be safe and make some money! Happy Scrapping!