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Accidental patina, and what to do about it


#1

Hi everyone,

I worked on a filigree style pendant for some time. As I still lack
skill with a torch on delicate work, I had to remove pieces and place
them better many times, leading to many picklings and use of water
and a mild soap to wash off the pickle. The piece is brass and I
picked it up and put it down 6 times over a six-eight month period of
time. I went down to the basement in my house(my workspace) the other
day, which I haven’t done in some time because I am nine months
pregnant, and noticed that the pendant had turn that blue-green color
that copper does when it oxidizes. I’ve also seen metal turn that
shade after being submerged in sea water for extended periods of
time. I’m not sure what caused the patina. Was it the many picklings
and torchings, the moisture in the basement, or some other unknown x
factor that I overlooked? Needless to say, I would like to have it be
its former shiny brass color, but I’m unsure how to get that back, or
even if it’s possible. Is there a solution I can buy or make to
submerge it in that will do the job? Could I polish the blue green
away with a tumbler or a wheel? I worked so hard on the darn thing,
and honestly don’t know what to do next. Please advise and I will be
ever so grateful. Also, if you know the factors that achieved this
patina, please let me know as well. I don’t want this particular
piece this color, but in the future it would be nice to purposely
duplicate the results on a planned design.

Thanks again,
Augest Derenthal


#2
...the [brass] pendant had turn[ed] that blue-green color that
copper does when it oxidizes... I would like to have it be its
former shiny brass color... 

Augest, I would guess that the problem was moisture, perhaps along
with something else that didn’t get rinsed off 100%.

What kind of solder are you using? If it’s soft solder, I can’t be
of help, since, although I work with brass all the time, I only use
hard solders.

All the best,
Judy Bjorkman


#3

Hi Judy,

I used silver solder, IT and hard. The parts of the pendant that
turned the most green were the small filigree additions and the
little loops made out of 18 gauge brass wire. The majority of the
piece (a brass stamped rolled edged setting) stayed brassy with a
few patches of patina.

Augest D.


#4
I used silver solder, IT and hard. The parts of the pendant that
turned the most green were the small filigree additions and the
little loops made out of 18 gauge brass wire. The majority of the
piece (a brass stamped rolled edged setting) stayed brassy with a
few patches of patina. 

Augest, I am mystified as to how you hard-soldered your brass piece
without it turning both black and red (from oxides of copper). In my
experience, these oxides are not be removed by scrubbing with soap
and water. I use pickle to remove the black, and then I bright-dip
the piece to remove the red, since these oxides would otherwise
interfere with further soldering. Maybe you know something I should
know!

As for the green patina, I never get this on brass unless I leave a
piece lying around for months on end, possibly in a damp
environment. I have some brass trays from the Middle East which will
develop green spots if water gets on them. (Waxing them helps prevent
that. I never lacquer any of my brass.) To remove the green spots, I
use some type of brass cleaner (Brasso, or, better yet, a mild,
flour-based brass cleaner such as Clenz All) and OOOO (4/O) steel
wool.

I’d be interested in knowing how you solve your problem!

Judy Bjorkman