How to age metal

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Original Post

How do you age base metal? Is it safe to use liver sulpher?

Posted at 8:11pm Jan 26, 2011 EST


BeadCasita says

i've used lime sulfur (like los) on a silver base metal and it worked ok. i've used it on brass with decent results too.

Posted at 8:27pm Jan 26, 2011 EST

I use the Liver of Sulpher Gel. You can either put your piece in the water and LOS or dip it in till you get your desired results. Then, you can rub the piece with baking soda to get some of the color back. No smell at all.

Never heard of lime sulfer. Where do you get that?

Posted at 11:46pm Jan 26, 2011 EST

StudioDax says

Without knowing the base metal, it's hard to tell.... some chemicals used may actually pit the metal.

You can use an alcohol ink on a dabber to give a distressed or aged look. I've used it a bit on brass and copper with etching, and it works quite well. The inks are pretty intense, but can be diluted by dabbing the tip in rubbing alcohol before adding the ink color (use a dark brown or black for an oxidized age look). Fun to do with colors too for a cool look!

Posted at 12:02am Jan 27, 2011 EST

liver of sulfur is good patina, just be sure to build up many small layers by taking the piece out every now and then. If you leave it in for a long time and let it blacken all at once it is more likely to flake later on.

Posted at 4:00am Jan 27, 2011 EST

StudioDax says

Just an FYI - LOS does not work on all base metal...

Posted at 1:17pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

If you tumble the piece after you patina somethimes it will come off completely - I have this issue with copper & brass. So you want to patina as your last step.

Posted at 1:20pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

I assume by next week this forum will be gone, you'll be able to ask metalwork questions and chat without joining a specific team here:

Posted at 1:20pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

kocajo says

I used sulfur gel on brass with good results, but I actually had better results using straight ammonia. I also had a problem with a varnish that was on the metal and causing it to resist tarnishing. I removed it by soaking it in nail polish remover prior to doing the patina. I was just experimenting. Who knows, I'm probably lucky I didn't blow the house up with all those chemicals.

Posted at 5:16pm Jan 27, 2011 EST

Mylana says

I have used LOS on a variety of objects for test and I got good results with silver plate, sterling, copper, pewter. Mediocre results with brass.

No reaction with brass colored thrift store planter, unknown material silver colored wire, bronze colored wire, or unkown material silver colored chain.

I did read in a beading magizine recently that you can bake metal in the oven with a salt and vinegar solution and it will change the color, but that you have to experiment first with a metal to predict the results.

Posted at 6:50pm Jan 28, 2011 EST