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.


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.