Anybody know how to get a antique bronze finish onto steel? A friend of
mine has seen a wet chemical patina that goes on hot and gives a light
brown/bronze finish. It is finished with wax. If anyone knows the recipe I
would love to know it.
We use blueing and darkening solutions. I have even done cold copper
plate, but I haven't heard of this.
Have you bought bronze lately? Ugh! For that matter, have you forged
it lately? Double ugh. I am still the only guy in my shop who will forge
the bronze and I don't like it.
We have been finishing our iron in wire brushed, hot waxed finish for
about five years (inside). I think that something new is in order so that
is why I posted the question. Plus, I feel a duty to get some more advanced
posts out on the newsgroup. Newbies are great but not that edifying.
So is it cold in Oz. It sure isn't here in the states. Dec 1st and 70
I don't buy bronze in alloy form these days I mix my own alloys, that
way I get to choose the colour and how brittle the bronze is. $18 AUD
for 1kg tin and $4 AUD for 1kg copper, so a 10kg batch of 90/10 will
cost me $54 AUD. As opposed to the mob in town that charge me 10 cents
a gram plus the extras.
I cast a small billet of 90/10, and attempted to forge it into a
semblance of something... pee-U. I was thinking of casting up some
bronze daggers and cold forging the edges.
For my purposes I just cast fittings and the occasional sculpture. Up
to this point I've only done a max of
1.5kg of bronze (not much in volume). However I am putting together a
reverb furnace for a minimum 30kg melt.
I wish the weather would make up it's mind, one day it's 40 Celsius, the
next it's spanner weather (fyi: Spanner weather means the brass monkey
has had them frozen off and is looking for a spanner to put them back on).
Andrew Molinaro wrote:
Well, you could just polish it up well, and then cook (in an oven, in
the presence of air, to get the same oxidation colors we use to temper
by eye) at 400-450F, then cool and wax/lacquer to preserve the color.
ie, "dark straw" and "bronze" are similar colors to my eye...
Gunsmithing lists/links/websites/supply outfits probably have such
things (wet chemical) as "browning" is used as a finish in the same way
that "bluing" is, especially on "antique-type" firearms.
Yeah. I have brough out temper colors for scroll ends and leaves but it
is out of the question for the whole rail.
I will check with my cousin, who is an engraver of antique guns. I am
sure he will have a browning solution. I guess I should have thought of
that myself. Thanks.
I will post any info he passes along.
If it is somewhat small, or what ever size - I have used common motor oil
painted on steel and then put in an oven and self cleaned (stinks anyway just
and it came out a nice bronze color. That was on SS. It was a hard surface.
Martin H. Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
NRA LOH & Endowment Member
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member
Andrew Molinaro wrote:
You can try this website: www.Gilderspaste.com from what I understand,
they will send you a small sample to try if you want.
Also, another thing that I do is to heat the piece to around 400
degrees and them scrub it with a brass brush. When the heat is right,
the brass will rub off onto your piece for a nice goldish/bronze look
that really highlights the black steel around it.
Hope this helps,
I think Gilders Paste is like paint. I usually just use sherwin
williams for exterior stuff and get the colors mixed. I have been using
their system for years and am comfortable with it.
I was looking for an interior finish that can be waxed and still show
the steel lustre through the bronze. I guess I should have spcified.
I have used the broze brushing method. It does work great and really
sells the client. The only problem is the heat requirted and the bunches of
brushes you have to buy. The last rail we did it was only on the scroll
ends and leaf areas. This was still al ot of work and pretty pricey. Acy /
Ox and all. You can see the job on my site
www.artisansoftheanvil.com/gallery Look at the railings folder and see tyhe
I do appreciate your response.
Go to your local craft store and look for a product called "Treasure
Gold." Small containers of metallic colored wax in many metalic effects,
gold, bronze, copper, pewter, etc. I'm currently using it for wooden
turned Xmas ornaments, but have used it in the past for welded steel
sculpture. I sticks to everything and lasts. Just buff it a bit for a
Hope that helps ... cheap, easy and worth a try.
I will look for it and give it a try. I use wax for finishing and if
the broze/gold can make it through the hot waxing without oxidizing into
dark (steel color) then it wil be perfect.
I'll let you know.
Do I use it ? No.
As a general rule, buy your patination chemistry in small quantities as
bottles of ready-made up patination fluids. You certainly can make your
own from scratch ingredients, but it involves toxic and corrosive
chemistry and obtaining small quantities of materials such as nickel
salts and concentrated nitric acid. Now these things are available, but
they're not common, not easy to find, may require paperwork to purchase
and worst of all - may be unobtainable in less than industrial
quantities. Try Liberon for starters - they do a decent antique bronze
For the resultant finish, then you can achieve it by heat (typically
applying a hot oil), use applied pigments such as colured waxes, or you
can do some chemical change to the metal itself. In general the last is
more troublesome to equip yourself for, but is simple(ish) to use and
gives better results. This is particularly the case for copper alloys
(they chemically patinate beautifully), but also for steel. They're
worth persevering with.
Also remember that steel rusts and bronze doesn't. If you're going to
keep any convincing patina on steel, then it's also essential that you
avoid it rusting. Otherwise you could have used a rust browning finish
on steel, colour is OK for "bronze" but the surface texture is wrong.
Soooo, what is the recipe. I have LOTS of acids and chemicals in the
shop. We use hydrochlorc (Muriatic) for parkerizing (getting the sclae
off). We have sulfuric, for mixing darkening solutions. We have nitric
some reason that I can't remember right now. Cupric nitrate and sulphate
along with liver of sulphur are great ones as well.
Not a problem to buy things here in PA. GFS chemicals are great to work
If you have a recipe, I would love to have it. I prefer real finishes
that can be hot waxed over . They tend to last longer, look better, and are
much easier to tend to when they fail.
Ok, This is probably not what you are looking for but it works. Paint!
There are several good antique bronze spray paints available. The key
to making it look "real" is in putting a bit of verdigris in the mix.
Make a mixture of copper glaze compound, they use it for firing
pottery, and 50-50 lacquer and alcohol and spray it on with a trigger
bottle. wipe the high points off and bingo antique bronze. Ask at a
pottery studio where they buy their glazes and then tell the sales
person what you are doing they will help you find what you need.
Andrew Molinaro wrote:
Thanks! I am a big fan of "customized" painting....when I have to. You
are right, I was looking for an interior finishes. I never use paint
inside. I hate the stuff. But...... you can not argue with paint outside.
I have a good arsenal of "faux" finished under my belt, but I will try
this one next time i get the opp. It looks nice and I havent yet used a
I havent before but I did now.
Looks like their finishes are mostly glorified paints. They use
metals in their paints that react with "b" components and give "patina". I
ordered a sample from a similar company that turned out to be a
primer/sealer (white). Then a metal paint with b component oxidizers.
Since I am a metal artist I like to see the base metal and alter it's color
without lsoing it's lustre so I don't much like these cover-ups.
The web page does talk about traditional finishes but does not give a
product listing. I am going to call the company and see about their
Japanese brown for iron. It looks close.
I'll let you know.
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