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
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
(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.