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Patina book recommendation


#1

I will be teaching a patina workshop soon. I’d like to be able to
recommend a non-technical book to my students that would be
inexpensive for them to buy, if they want to pursue it afterward.
Something that does not involve recipes with chemicals they would
have a hard time locating. Recipesusing household chemicals (other
than ammonia) would be great. An added plus would be color photos
showing what available commercial formulas look like on brass, on
copper, etc. (if such a things exists). There are so many prepared
patinas out there, and what I like to use, I learned by trial and
error. I’d buy something, test it, say “eh. doesn’t look much
different than xyz patina.”

Thanks for your suggestions.
Linnea Lahlum


#2
Something that does not involve recipes with chemicals they would
have a hard time locating. 

The only book that meets all of your requirements is called Metal
Patinas, I think it is and it’s sold by Volcano Arts, a bookbinding
supply company.

Elaine


#3

I really like teaching patination but why are you limiting you and
the class to patinas made from somewhat “standard household
ingredients”? There are a number of chemistries that are easily
available but not normally found in the house. Also using this sort
of ingredient still greatly limits what you can expect to get in the
way of patination colors. My best and most recommended patina book is
"Patination of Silicon Bronze" by Patrick Kipper ($48.68 on Amazon).
What you are teaching does depend on who you are teaching and what
"they" hope to be doing with this new art/ability/knowledge. Also do
you work with bronzes or copper or S. silver or steel or ???
Also metal dyes might be at least acknowledged. I buy some
proprietary patina formulas for different reasons, but most of my
chemistries are home made (but often not using standard household
chemistries) because a purchased ferric nitrate will not touch the
color richness and variability of “home made” ferric, , not by a
very long shot. If you are pretty much doing an introduction to some
limited and basic patina potentials, what you are proposing might be
ok but if you are trying to offer something really serious and
something that would more likely be used in higher art pieces, your
proposed, limited “household” patinas, at least to me, will be
disappointing. Sorry to toss cold water on what you are thinking
about, but I hope you go a bit further than you are currently
thinking about.

Sorry for my negative commenting here, but you do have doe
responsibility to your students to at least let them know what
parameters you are setting for this class.

john dach


#4

Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers & Metalsmiths by
Matthew Runfola.

This book has excellent photos and actual recipes. It’s available
through Interweave Store as a book or an ebook. It’s also available
through Amazon. Interweave will match Amazon’s price. I would
recommend having one copy available for students to peruse. I think
it may well be the bible of patina

Pat Gebes


#5
I'd like to be able to recommend a non-technical book to my
students that would be inexpensive. does not involve recipes with
chemicals they would have a hard time locating. 

Consider “Patinas for Small Studios” by Charles Lewton-Brain,
available in paper for $19.95 from

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep8157

or as a download online for $15.50 at

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep8158

Neil A.


#6

Just for the record, THE reference patination book is The colouring,
bronzing and patination of metals by Richard Hughes and Michael Rowe.
Thames and Hudson Pub. 1982 UK.

Useful reading for you, but for students? no, assuming you could
find one over your side of the pond.

Alternative, dont use chemicals at all, for all brown bronzing and
darkening, polish well, and with a slow 2in propane flame oxidise
.Works well. then a bit of brown shoe polish to finish. Then
highlight with some 000 steel wool. Bit more wax, and its done.

Good enough for students, Do they have any m/w experience anyway?
Sounds like a rod for your own back.


#7

Ted, I hate to differ with yo on the best patina book, but I find
the book you have suggested is a VERY POOR choice. Nice for the
coffee table but as a useful book for patinas, it is a VERY hit and
miss item. Was and is expensive, many, and I mean MANY
formulas/directions do not work or do not work very well. It is an
expensive book and as a usable book in the shop, for me anyway, it
is not. To me THE very best, most accurate and most repeatable
coloration book for bronze is the Patination of Silica Bronze. All
of those formulas work. There are other books and lots of
about coloring other metals, if one wants to take the
time and put in the energy, they could put together a pretty great
"book" of formulas and how tops just from the web.

Boy today I am Mr. negative, but patinas are difficult to do well
and repeatable so I get “bothered” when I see "that, at
least to/for me, is inaccurate or just wrong. I have been dealing
with patinas, mostly in bronze and if picky, Everdure alloy. I do
work with other metals but primarily with that particular alloy of
bronze and alloy differences can make huge patina differences with
the same patina formula and chemistry. To me, trying for short cuts
in patination is like cooking out of a box verses REALLY cooking the
food. Again, this is just my feelings, but if one is going to do
something, might we strive to “do it” as fine as possible and not
some short cut way to just “get it done”?

john dach


#8

On the Hughes/Rowe book "The Colouring Bronzing and Patination of
Metals:

Ted, I hate to differ with yo on the best patina book, but I find the
book you have suggested is a VERY POOR choice. Nice for the coffee
table but as a useful book for patinas, it is a VERY hit and miss
item. Was and is expensive, many, and I mean MANY formulas/directions
do not work or do not work very well.

I’ve owned a copy of this book since 1996 when I was doing a lot of
weavingwith metal wire. I have to agree that as a recipe book, it’s
not very accurate in places. I had the worst trouble trying to
duplicate recipes from that book. It might be the strength of
solution or heating time or… well, who knows.

I found it very frustrating. It’s definitely not one I’d use in a
class setting without a LOT of testing first.

I would look at the Interweave Press book on Patina by Runfola.
There was a whole subset of weavers who jumped into weaving metal
wire (and plastics and paper and every other substance that we could
wrap around each other) which is why Interweave put out a book on
it. All of us were frustrated with just using plain copper or silver
wire.

Metal dyes? There are metal dyes now? That’s one of the coolest
things that I’ve heard in years and almost make me want to drop
everything and warp one of my smaller looms with dyed wire.

J Reese


#9

Linnea,

Patina Basics is a dvd from Brynmorgen Press. It’s a good dvd for
beginning to use patinas.

Linda KAye-Moses


#10

Both JohnD and your self slate this book.

Its 1982, at the Royal College of arts, in Kensington London UK.

The 2 book authors are in fact the guys running the metalworking
faculty there.

I met them on my frequent visits and they certainly had the time and
facilities to do their tests accurately.

Maybe events and techniques have moved on.

One only needs to change one part of a process to get inferior
results.

At that time it was here in the UK at least that it was the best
guide available.

As an aside, whats silica bronze? never heard of it.

Some new intemetallic alloy? If someone is going to quote a a copper
alloy try a specification.

It might show you know what your talking about.


#11

Yes metal dyes. Actually they have been used in industry for MANY
years. First time I saw them used was in rivets for aircraft mfg.
Different colors for different hardnesses. Transparent and bright.
Sculpt Nouveau in Southern California

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ec

Ron and Debbie Young are the owners. They have all sorts of other
patinas, clear coats, etc. Check out their website.

john dach


#12

Not in a book, at least the ones I have gone through is a simple
patina that you can’t blast off copper. I stumbled on it due to a non
thinking teenager (daughter). S he was the reason I got into
metalsmithing, I had to smash something. I was doing many mommy
things, dealing with making some copper pieces, and an unexpected
guest at my door. I told my daughter to take the copper out of the
pickle pot and rinse them off. She came back a couple minutes later
and asked me how to get the pieces out of the pickle pot. I know she
knew how, since she had done this for me several times in the past.
It was just her way of acting dumb so I would give up and do it
myself. I just looked at her and in my firmest not loud voice told
her to use the tongs, and reach in the pot, clamp the tongs on the
piece and take it out of the pot. Then she should go to the sink, and
rinse the piece off under running water, at what ever temperature the
water came out at. She gave me one of those sad teenager looks, said
something under her breath that I ignored, and was gone.

Later that day I ws ready to polish the piece. I was shocked. It was
an in your face bright granny smith apple green. It was kind of a
powdery surface, so I used a green scratchy pad and scrubbed it well.
It didn’t come off. I was stumped. So I toddled off and did some more
soldering.

Those pieces came out of the pickle pot green as well. What I
noticed at that point was next to the copper tongs for the pot was
another pair of tongs. It was my good cooking tongs. The steel tongs
I had paid too much for at Williams Sonoma. They were a pale copper
color half way up the tongs. After asking many questions of my
daughter, she admitted the only tongs she could find were my cooking
tongs. Didn’t matter she had laid them on top of the copper tongs
when she finished fishing my pieces out of the pot.

What I was using that dy for my pickle solution was swimming pool
acid.

(muriatic acid) It hadn’t been used much. My daughter had
contaminated it by using the tongs. On further questiong I found out
that i had a bunch of now copper plated items she had hidden in
drawers. A nice knife (Henkels) a couple of different size spoons, a
small teacup sized strainer, and a few others. But the color of the
patina was what got me. It copper plated steel items, but copper was
still turning apple green. An extreme bright apple green. Being
curious, I saved some of that pickle. I made up a fresh batch of
sparex type pickle. Out of that non contaminated batch, I put some in
a plastic container and contaminated it using the same items my
daughter had. This time there was no green patina. It only worked
with the swimming pool acid (I bought a gallon jug size of the acid).
A few days later I got some straight muriatic acid from the local
drug store. It did a slight green patina, but not the in your face
almost glow in the dark bright apple green. Something extra was in
that swimming pool acid. The label just said muraitic acid, no list
of added ingredients.

I tried it again many years later. Different state, different
swimming pool acid manufacturer, and different water out of the tap.
Still got the funky green color. Swimming pool acid is easily
obtained. It is cheap.

The green is permenant, and can’t be blasted off. I tried to torch
it and then re-pickle it. It still stayed green. Short of sanding it
off, it will be with you forever. I just added a nice car wax polish
on top, and it is still nice 30 years later. Sometimes trying times
with a teenager can be serandipity.

Aggie


#13

Hi Ted,

In my post before I quoted a paragraph from a previous message. Then
underit I wrote my own piece. It was a confusing mix.

The original post was requesting books for a class on patina for
people whosound more like novices and using mostly commonly
available chemicals. I don’t speak as an expert on metal work by any
means. I’m primarily a textile artist with a high interest in metal
wire work and enamel. Back in the mid 90s, I did a lot of work in
wire and used that Hughes/Rowe book to try to patina copper wire.

Sure. I probably botched the recipe. But I was a novice at it. And I
think this class is for novices. I don’t think I’d want to approach
that class with that book. I would use that book in a workshop
setting as a reference and practice on sample bits until I got
something that worked for me.

It’s not that the book is inherently so bad that it can’t be used.
It’s that it’s not the book that I’d pick for rank beginners.
Because as a rank beginner I tried using it and was frustrated with
the results. Did I get percentages right in the mix? Did I get
weights exact? Did I get the substrate clean enough for the
chemicals to get a clear shot at working? Dunno.

I did learn a lot while working with the book, but it was an
exercise in frustration. And with novice students, we don’t want to
frustrate them, we want to inspire them to work out their curiosity
with the subject. It was frustrating enough for me that I actually
put away metal weaving because I felt I wasn’t progressing enough in
the way I wanted to progress. Not solely because I couldn’t get the
color effects. There was the issue that setting up a loom for this
sort of work requires a lot more than I had. I wouldhave had to
build out a custom rig to handle the stresses on the loom fromthe
counterweights that were required to weave metal. Most metal weavers
are doing either very small intricate pieces or larger ones that
don’t require a loom at all because the pieces are big enough that
the only way to doit is hand manipulation and building [metal strips
woven, etc].

J Reese


#14

I have found the "The Colouring, Bronzing and Patination of Metals"
to be an excellent reference. The thing you have to be conscious of
is that even slight differences in preparation of the surface or
minor alloy variations can drastically alter the results. So any
patina recipe is a starting point not a step by step guide. John’s
negative experience with the recipes in the book is most likely the
fact that he is using silicon bronze, which is the most common
modern alloy for art bronze casting but is notoriously difficult to
patina due to the silica passivation layer that forms on its
surface. It was designed to be corrosion resistant and since all
patinas are corrosion processes it is much tougher to get patina
recipes to work in the desired fashion.

My experience with the book was that as long as I used the same
alloy(s) as was illustrated in the book I could get a close if not
exact replication of the image in the book. For me one of the most
valuable things in the book is the examples of multi metal pieces
with a patina applied. Because I was trying to patina mokume I
wanted recipes that would offer very distinct differences in
appearance on each metal.

Patinas are an art form they require meticulous preparation and
execution to get repeatable results.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#15

Wow Ted, Silica Bronze is an industry standard, widely used in, for
one industry, marine parts. Cleats, scuppers, grates, fasteners,
etc. are most all of this particular alloy as it holds up VERy WELL
to the marine environment. Most sculpture is poured in this alloy
today, for one reason it weld well and the filler does not show in
the worked area (Herculoy is another bronze alloy with a good deal
of zinc in it and it pours well, very liquidious, but any welding
shows up, as a fare amount of zinc burns out in the weld filler
material while it is liquidious.

As to the book, I tried a number of formulas, and without knowing
the authors backgrounds, I said to my self, “Wow, who ever wrote
this book was not careful at all in their formulas and or
directions, as many of the patinas just did not work”. Different
copper alloys patina very differently. I know I am not the only
person who has found the “reference” to be a poor resource,
regardless of who the authors were/are. Sorry for the cold water,
but I never recommend this book as a resource. I put it on the shelf
and found Patricks book and, if needed, that book is what a client
gets to get ideas as to what patina they might want, as I know the
patinas in that book are doable and repeatable.

john dach


#16

Thanks for the ideas so far.

A jewelry course has never even been offered at this arts center,
other than making beaded bracelets. The equipment they offer is a
room with a table and chairs. They are interested in offering
classes to test the waters, butwith no equipment, I was limited in
what I could suggest. I do a lot of heat patinas myself but will
have to do them at home first and just show the results. I work
mostly in copper and red brass, with some silver and nickel.

So, in terms of what they know already? No one knows yet what to
expect. There are other well equipped jewelry centers around, so I
assume people who know a lot are already at those places.

It’s taken me a lot of practice to get decent patina results, most
of the time, and that is one thing I will emphasize. That they may
have to try repeatedly just on one piece, and be prepared to clean
it off and startover.

Linnea Lahlum


#17
I was fortunate to have one of my pieces featured as an example in
the book Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers &
Metalsmiths by Matthew Runfola.
http://www.ganoksin.com/jewelry-books/us/product/162033139X.htm 

Just received a copy and found it to have thorough details for all
of the processes listed. It is a good resource to have on hand.

I do recommend testing any patina formula before use on a live piece
to see how the results stack up in meeting your needs.

J Collier
http://jlcollier.com


#18

Thanks everyone for your imputs about this silica bronze alloy.

What do I have to ask to get you to define its composition? Over here
in Europe, we always start when talking about metals and alloys with
a specification.

It just saves everyone time when writing about their uses or
applications.

For example, here in the UK, the longest operating and biggest non
ferrous alloy maker was Imperial Metal Industries.

They provided me with a detailed definition wall chart, some 2 ft
wide and 6ft long of ALL their alloys, with sizes uses and
availability, So any potential customer could choose just the right
alloy for their application.

As any competent metal smith, wether a jeweller or for example
Boeing, the maker of aircraft have to know what their starting with.

I cant understand why you dont define your SB in the same way.

When I was forging bronze bowls, I used the right alloy.

When I moved on to forging titanium I had from them, ALL the details
first of their titanium products, Then chose the right one for my
needs.

Makes sense to me. But then my training was as an aviation engineer.
Belt and braces and all that becomes second nature.

I know its not easy, on the one hand be technical, and on the other
artistic, but if you can succesfully combine the 2 it helps to make
your work that much easier.

Ted.


#19
Thanks everyone for your imputs about this silica bronze alloy. 
What do I have to ask to get you to define its composition? Over
here in Europe, we always start when talking about metals and
alloys with a specification.

Hi Ted, there is more than one alloy of silicon bronze. Some of the
patina books list the compositions and a quick google can find a few
also:

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep815f

Best Wishes, Debbie Engle


#20
Yes metal dyes. Actually they have been used in industry for MANY
years. First time I saw them used was in rivets for aircraft mfg.
Different colors for different hardnesses. Transparent and bright.
Sculpt Nouveau in Southern California.

These “Sculpt Nouveau” dyes are also sold under the name
"Swellegant" (by Christi Freisen, and, - in my experience - MUCH
cheaper. And, they work well. Same product - just marketed to a
different artisan group (polymer artists).

IME, heating the metal in a toaster oven at 200 degrees before
applying the dye helps the metal hang on to the color.

I usually heat them on a tile, so when I take it out of the oven the
piece stays warm during application and drying, especially here in
the icy Northeast.