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  1. #1
    Registered user. Sooth's Avatar
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    Default Antiquing Brass Parts

    Oh I'm sure this has been discussed before, and just about everyone has their own little concoctions to do this, or their preferred "Brass Black" type product, but I'm here to share MY trick.

    I've always had a hard time aging/antiquing brass parts. I always like new parts on an old clock to look the part, and I've tried a bunch of different things.

    One that's supposed to work really well is plain old BAKING SODA. You mix a very thick paste out of the soda and water, and leave your parts in overnight.

    I tried this on some brass parts yesterday, with dismal results.

    But the brass parts I was aging had already been put through another solution, so maybe the baking soda only works with really clean brass. I will have to try it again later.

    The other solution that I tried before the baking soda was this putrid mix:

    1 part vinegar
    1 part lemon juice
    1 part bleach
    some salt

    It said to leave the parts in the solution for only 30 minutes, or longer "if desired". I left the parts in there 3 HOURS, and I got these results:



    Not at ALL what I was after. Although, it gave the brass a nice etched look. Almost like a frosted appearance, which is why I'm sharing the photo.

    ***

    After all that, I was discouraged, and I tried the trick I used LAST time. It's very simple, and anyone can get good results. I simply heated the brass parts in a kerosene oil lamp, making sure to get soot on it.

    The heat darkens the metal slightly, but the soot impregnates the metal (only on the very surface), and it's nearly impossible to buff it all off. Simply use a rag to buff it clean, and you can easily get something that looks like these samples, in about 2 minutes flat.





    The above is a swivel hinge I made from sheet brass for a replacement clock door (Boardman & Wells). I just installed the hinges a while ago.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Have you tried liver of sulphur (sulphurated potash)? A solution of it is routinely used to darken copper and copper alloys. Sometimes available at craft stores; chemical supply houses will usually carry it, in lump form. I recently bought some at a craft store, "Maid-o'-Metal" brand, along with a bottle of liquid "patina" that adds green patina to brass.

    Click Here for an online source.

    bangster


    [edit=1752=1182178806][/edit]
    1. Check out the REPAIR HINTS & HOW-TO's forum! Click Here.

  3. #3
    Grandpa
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Hi Sooth,

    Is the first picture after using the baking soda or after the putrid mix?

    Oh I see it etched your finger print.

    Gramps

  4. #4
    Registered user. Sooth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Bang:

    I do have some liver of sulfur solution for antiquing copper, but I have read that it doesn't work well on brass, so I didn't try it.

    Gramps:

    The first photo is after the "putrid" mix, haha, but after soaking overnight in the baking soda, it pretty much looked exactly the same (it didn't really do anything).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Home chemists should be aware of the dangers of mixing acids with bleach..

    http://www.cleaninglink.com/Safety_Library/Bleach.htm

    Ralph


  6. #6
    Registered user. Sooth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Wow, scary stuff. I wasn't aware that the above solution could be very dangerous, so I'm very grateful you posted this.

    Thankfully, I only mixed a VERY small amount, and it was only left out for about 3 hours in a large open room (kitchen, which I wasn't in for that time period).

    I did notice that once the bleach was added, the mix started to fizz and bubble, and I wasn't quite sure how safe it was, so I didn't touch any of the formula with bare hands (used a toothpick, then rinsed everything in water).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    I found this interesting website that you may find helpful

    Click Here

    bangster
    1. Check out the REPAIR HINTS & HOW-TO's forum! Click Here.

  8. #8
    Registered user. Sooth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Page not found...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    You can sometimes darken brass by simply using ammonia. Take a cap full and set the cap in the bottom of a bucket. suspend the part above a couple inches on a thread Cover the bucket with a lid or simply a towel.

    the type of ammonia used will determine the time. the stronger the shorter the time. With real strong ammonia like the concentrate clock cleaners undiluted can produce a dark finish in 20 minutes to 1/2 hour.

    Jim DeRosier

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    I found this by accident. I mixed some liquid gun bluing with water and added some tarnex and placed the brass parts in the solution watching the process till you see the amount of patina you want and depending on the application I will either rinse the part and let it air dry or just remove it from the solution and let it air dry. I never measured the amounts or anything but it usually produced great results.

    Kenny

  11. #11

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Sooth - I like the kerosene lamp trick, and the look it gives. Thanks!


  12. #12

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sooth
    Page not found...
    What about this 'un?

    Click Here

    bangster
    1. Check out the REPAIR HINTS & HOW-TO's forum! Click Here.

  13. #13
    Grandpa
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Like Ralph said, We must be carefull of mixing bleach and other chemicals like ammonia. They produce a gas that could hurt you very bad even take your life.

    Please be carefull

    Gramps

  14. #14
    Registered user. Sooth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    Yes that's very true. That's why I was really hoping to get good results with the baking soda one. It's easy to get, dirt cheap, and very safe.

    Other ideas I've seen include suspending the pieces above a bath of vinegar in an enclosed space.

    But in the end, the trick I use is so much faster, and gives very good results.

    If you miss a spot, you can just put it back in the flame some more, then rebuff the piece.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Antiquing Brass Parts (RE: Sooth)

    It amazes me that Sooth has given an OUTSTANDING TIP on darkening brass and most of the posters are telling of their own lesser methods. I have never seen such a safe, quick way of doing this as Sooth has described!! Thank-you so much for sharing with us, Sooth. This is fantastic!!

    Jeff Major

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