Lime sulphur

I am going to go get some lime sulphur, asap. My only big question
is, does any one know how it works on bronze? I cast in gold, silver
& bronze for some of my heraldic designs. Lots of detail. I just
wanted to know if anyone has used on the bronze, and what their
experience with it has been?

(we got all the way to 20 above 0 today!)

Will the lime sulphur work on steel? I have a knife project to do,
but the guy who does the bluing says he can’t get around to it until
May. The client wants a patina, and would probably be flexible about
the color. If lime sulphur won’t work, what are my other choices for
a knife blade?

Karen Hemmerle

   I am going to go get some lime sulphur, asap.  My only big
question is, does any one know how it works on bronze? 

G’day. Lime sulphur will blacken fine silver, sterling, brass,
copper, bronze and low carat (14ct) gold. In fact, any metal
containing silver or copper. But it MUST be thoroughly clean.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ

   Will the lime sulphur work on steel? I have a knife project to
do, .... If lime sulphur won't work, what are my other choices for a
knife blade? 

Karen, Lime sulphur or liver of sulphur works by creating sulphides
of copper and silver on the jewelery metals they’re used on. These
are generally blue/black in color, with thin layers of the sulphide
giving more transparent colors, like blue, etc.

Steel might react with the stuff somehow, but I can’t imagine just
how, unless it’s acid based. Most likely you won’t get a decent
color from it.

Instead, try a sporting goods store that carries stuff like gun
cleaning products, especially the Birchwood Casey line of products.
They make both gun blue liquid, and Gun Brown liquid, both of which
are just brushed on the very clean iron or steel to produce the
described colors.

You can also heat color the metal, though if your knife is tempered
steel, then blueing it will make it softer, since the temps needed
for a blue oxide are somewhat softer than usually desired. Brown is
a good spring steel hardness, and might be OK. Don’t have the exact
temps handy, but I’m sure someone would have it around. If you’re
"supplier" can’t get to it in a while, i’d bet he/she is heat coloring
the steel, since the chemical way is simply really easy and quick,
and you can do it yourself if you find and buy the liquid. Just be
sure the steel is very clean first (also with heat coloring, since
dirt or oils will leave stains/marks on the colored surface too. To
heat color, you could, if you’re not picky, just carefully do it over
a flame, or even on the kitchen stove, gently heating till the color
develops, and quenching when it gets to the right color. More precise
would be to use a kiln, for which you’d then need to know the right
temps to set it at. The kiln would tend to give you more even color
over the whole piece, while doing it the manual way with a torch or
over the stove would be more prone to give you some variations in
color from one part to the next, since it might be harder to get
exactly the same temp over the whole piece. But then, that might
well be quite attractive too, looking more like the presumably
handmade item it is.


i just did a piece and polished up the black to a nice shine (still
black) with a felt wheel with zam. It took me a bit longer to bright
polish the relief work that I wanted highlighted in the bright
silver. I really liked the way this stuff sticks and looks and
polishes…Got it from territory seed…Lime sulfur…uhuh…nice
black…now… how do you get variations in color? Lisa in still
bitter cold NY…

Hi John! Does lime sulphur work better on gold than liver of sulphur?

   Hi John! Does lime sulphur work better on gold than liver of

G’day Janet Berg - and others. As the metal gold has very few
reactions with anything (why it used to be called ‘one of the noble
metals’), sulphur will not form compounds with it. After all, it
has existed deep underground for billions of years without change
and yet is bright and shiny when you dig it out. BUT!! Certain
gold alloys, like alloys with copper of about 14 carat or lower,
will blacken because the copper part of the alloy will combine with
calcium or potassium polysulphides to give black copper sulphide.
If you want to blacken engraving etc on high carat gold, you would
have to plate the work with copper; abrade the copper from where you
don’t want it, then immerse in the the lime-sulphur etc, and the
remaining copper will blacken nicely. Calcium, potassium, sodium
and ammonium polysulphides, are practically all equally reactive,
but none will work with pure gold. My suggestion is if you want to
work with any of those chemicals, either do it outside - or in the
lavatory with a good vent fan installed!!

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ

All, I have been looking to buy Lime Sulphur, but was unsuccessful.
Can anyone tell me where I can buy it - some of the links in the
archives don’t work? Thank you and best, Will

Will go to your regular garden center it’s sold as a fungicide
there several different brands.

Laura Wiesler

Hi Will, I found lime sulphur spray at a local Agway garden center
here in Littleton, MA. It is a plant fungicide, made by Bonide.
Hope this helps. MaryLou

I’ve tried all the garden supply places in the Binghamton (NY)
area, plus a couple around Newark (NJ), and none of them carry
(or even know about) lime sulphur. One had some lime sulphur in
an oily base – I don’t think that’s what I want for
metalworking purposes. Where can just plain lime sulphur be
ordered? Thanks in advance…

Judy Bjorkman

Judy, Agway carries lime sulphur in Massachusetts; it’s more of a
farm supply store than a garden center. The Waltham Agway near me
has an unusual assortment of stuff, like the udder cream that has
been recommended in past posts. Agway’s website says that they have
a store in Binghamton, NY: Reynolds Enterprises of Broome, 145
Broad Ave. The closest one to Newark is an Agway at 176 Ridgedale
Ave in Morristown, NJ.

Linda in MA, where fall seems to be arriving early

I get sulphur powder at almost any garden shop or nursery to use
for mildew and black spot on my roses. Could this be what you are
looking f or. We never refer to it as “lime sulphur”—but just
"sulphur." It is yellowish green in color, and comes in a paper
tube, like salt. , but taller and thinner, and I just dust it
it on my roses. . Just ask for" sulphur for roses" and check the
label to see if that is wh at you want. If you ask for "lime sulphur"
the clerks may not understand wh at you want. Hope this helps. Alma

Judy: Here’s where I bought mine - they are located in Georgia but
think they have a pretty standard shipping charge. Check out their
web site and talk to them. Maybe they even know some place closer to
you. Can’t say I’m real happy with the lime sulphur at this point
but maybe I just need to play around with it more. I get a nice
black but haven’t yet achieved the variety of colors that others
speak about. So will experiment some more before I give it up. Try
the listing below.