Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Red Patina on Copper


I tried the torch heating and borax method of adding a red patina to copper again.  I textured the piece of copper first and then heated it from the back. My goal is to get my process to the point where I am getting consistent results.  Practice, practice, practice!




I started out with a piece of copper sheet - keeping the pieces relatively small until I get a feel for the heat needed to make this happen consistently.  I did discover that in my experiments today - the torch has to be hot and the heat has to be constant to create an even red once quenched in the borax.  I clean the copper with vinegar and salt and then some fine sandpaper (I have found that works better than a scotchbrite) before I start heating it.  I heat the copper until it is glowing orange and then immediately drop it in the borax bath. I have also found that heating a piece of copper again (after it has been scrubbed clean with the sandpaper and water) does not, for some reason, work at all. No matter how hot I heat it, it doesn't get red.  Odd.


There is a lot I do not know about this process - so I have been changing things up as I heat and quench each piece.  I change the borax and water every two pieces or so - I am not sure if that affects the efficacy of the borax bath though.  



I did a fair number of pieces today and this is the only one that retained the red patina.  I even tumbled it for 2 hours in steel shot, dawn and water. I am only slightly discouraged :), and will definitely keep trying.



2 comments:

Beaver Brook Bohemian said...

Can you tell me what the proportion of water to Borax should be for the bath?

mrs beadsley said...

There is nothing that I have read that shows the recipe of water to borax. I have spent a fair amount of time experimenting but have not found anything conclusive. I will say though that in my experimenting I have found the biggest impact is made by how hot the copper piece is before it has been quenched in the water/borax mixture.