Copper patination for Stickley Craftsman furniture reproductions

I'm trying to reproduce the hammered copper hardware used by Gustav
Stickley. Any advice ?
As a rough guide, here's just one web picture of the style:
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I know the finish I'm after. I think it's probably lighter than
Stickley is today, but I have some traditional copperware from
Nagasaki (it's a traditional local craft there) that's exactly what I
want. Sharp-edged indents for the hammer effect, and a very bright
abraded edge to the top of these, all on a darker ground.
I'm currently working 20 gauge sheet. I can hammer this easily enough,
but I just can;t get the whole sheet to take sharp edges. Is this too
thin ? It seems (this is crazy, but it's what it appears to be doing)
as if annealing the sheet to work it further "relaxes" the edges and I
find myself with rounded snake-like patterns between the indents.
Secondly, what should I use as a patination ? I'd be interested in
anything that other makers of such Stickley repros (I know you're out
there) are using.
Using the techiques from "Colouring, Bronzing & Patination of Metals"
I'm thinking of either 3.35 or 3.70 Both of these are copper
sulphate / ferrous sulphate mixtures, one an acidic solution with
acetic acid and the other with zinc sulphate and potassium
permanganate as an oxidiser. Is it worth trying the nickel sulphate
or the rokusho recipes ? I'm certainly too wary of antimony
trichloride as an ingredient !
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Reply to
Andy Dingley
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20ga seems like it might be a bit thin. What are you using as a hammer?
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The 20 gauge sheet is actually for copper tea trays, rather than cabinet hardware. I don't want to go any thicker, because of weight, and they look pretty good as they are.
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Now though, I need to do some hardware for a chest of drawers, so getting a more accurate repro is starting to be important.
Tried almost every hammer I have ! I'm currently using an 8oz ball pein on a very long shaft, with a piece of 1/2" steel plate as an anvil. I've also been using a 20oz ball pein, with the pein ground down to a smaller radius. The 8oz is about right for the thin sheet, and less tiring than the heavy one, but I might need to go heavier for the thicker sheet.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Reply to
Andy Dingley
I'm not a metal worker but I have visited a shop in Maine that makes cupola tops (wind indicators) out of copper as well as many other beautiful things. One of the tricks was to use a section of a sugar maple tree trunk (~18" dia), upended so you pound on the endgrain. The trunk was slightly dished out with a froe as I recall to help shape the sheets of copper.
Also, you may be working the copper to much - "work annealing" comes to mind as the expression used and can cause the copper to split.
Bob S.
Reply to
Andy Dingley wrote in message ...
Every time Toomey and Treadway have an auction, I get to spend a week making replacement hardware.
If you're trying to duplicate antique fittings, the aging on patinaed copper works the other way. The recesses hold the original patina but the high points end up darker, because after they have the patina worn off, they are free to oxidize in the air.
That's way too thin. the originals are 10g copper with sand cast brass pulls(copper plated) You can't get the hammer blows close enough to leave a sharp edge in 20g.
I can hammer this easily enough,
As you hammer the sheet the part you hit streches. It you hammer one part more then it's surroundings, you end up with an oil can. Hammer control and practice are the only cure.
Most use patina in a can, but it is too thin and wears off too easy.
Mostly I use 25 g/l copper sulfate with 1 g/l ammonium chloride, boiling immersion for about 30 min.
I can usually tweak the mix a little to shift the color. Then I use weak liver of sulfur to do the aging.
Paul K. Dickman
Reply to
Paul K. Dickman
20 g isn't thick enough to hold the pulls on.
The face or the peen should have about a 2 foot radius. The texture doesn't come from the depth of the dent. It comes from having a single clear hammer blow touching another clear hammer blow.
A tighter radius, stretches the metal excessively and requires more blows per square inch.
Paul K. Dickman
Reply to
Paul K. Dickman
On Tue, 21 Oct 2003 01:18:15 +0100, Andy Dingley pixelated:
Go thicker, solid. The very nice repro Stickley/Roycroft stuff I saw in Anchorage in August (lots of Ellis inlay, etc.) was all made with thicker plate and solid handles, not rolled sheet. (Sorry, no name as I was busy trying to keep from drooling on the work to ask the artist's name and company. I should have gotten her business card.)
Booful. I adore A&C furniture.
Didn't they use 1/8-3/16" plate way back when?
Perhaps a harder alloy (and thicker plate/rod) would do the trick. Hammer out the thinner pull handles from rod.
Many of the cheaper new repro hardwares are made with plated scrap steel/potmetals. Blowes and Fred Meyer are full of the crap. =:0
I believe the coloration is achieved by running coarse cloth over the top (simple mechanical removal) after the chemical darkening. I actually scanned that book at the library last year but didn't have a use for it at the time. No info here.
---- - Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it? -
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Larry Jaques
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I can't really see the hardware on that, and I don't have a clear idea of the style, but I have a vague idea what you're probably talking about. The stuff with all the little dents in it... :)
I've done similar denty stuff. Not as fancy as what you're probably doing, but look at my sunflower:
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Actually, that picture doesn't really show the dents very well at all. The dents are from the back, making flat facets on the outside of the center of the sunflower, sort of like a fly's eyes. I ended up sticking all those pop rivets in there to "explain" the pop rivets that are holding the petals on. I did this one before I devised a way to hold all that stuff together long enough to solder it, and it looks cheesy. It's the only one I still have though. The rest were sold or given away. (Mostly the latter, which is why I don't do that stuff anymore. :( )
I don't know a Stickley from a bucket of blurfls, and all that stuff you're blathering about is way over my head. The best way to patniate copper is to apply liberal quantites of oxygen, water, and time. Everything else is cheating. :)
Um, anyway, back to the metal. I don't know how thick 20 ga. sheet is off the top of my head because sheet copper is incredibly freaking expensive, and I've never used it. I've made all manner of flowers (cosmos, mallow, hibiscus, sunflowers, zinnias, daisies... pretty much every kind of common garden ray flower) and I've used the same material for all of them.
My material of choice is none other than copper pipe. You want small pieces of heavy gauge sheet metal? All you have to do is anneal a scrap of thick-wall rigid copper pipe, slit it up the middle with tin snips (you can do an entire 10' pipe once you get the hang of it, but annealing the whole thing is tricky), hammer it flat, and shape from there. I use the flat face of a 16 oz. ball pein for this. The largest common US size yields strips of sheet metal about 3" wide. I'd imagine the UK is similar.
The thick stuff will take quite a beating before work hardening to the point of cracking, and I think you could make hardware of the vague type I have in mind without re-annealing it at any point. You might want to anneal it after flattening it, just to be on the safe side, but you don't have to go nuts. Best of all, when you screw up, the material is either comparatively cheap, or free. You could probably make a lot of drawer pulls out of one $10 pipe vs. a freaking expensive sheet of copper...
I'm babbling incoherently because I'm excited that someone asked a question that gives me a chance to talk about my experiences making copper flowers... If this babble doesn't make sense, slap me, and I'll try to take a deep breath and write something more comprehensible.
Reply to
Goodness, that's hard work !
My favoured source for thin sheet (18-22 gauge, depending on what you find) is copper water heaters ("immersion heaters" to the Brits). I get these from the local dump for £5 each and each one yields up a couple of square yards of useful flat sheet.
One nice feature of the immersion heaters is that about half of them have a black cupric oxide (rather than red-pink cuprous) patina on the inside. This stuff is glass-hard and a better surface treatment than anything I can apply myself. The recipe is something like "immerse in near-boiling water in a slightly acidic anoxic environment, then wait 10 years". It's so hard that it survives power-brushing to clean it, and then sinking the trays with a hammer.
Thick copper comes from my scrap dealer. Now sadly closed, they used to carry a lot of NOS unused non-ferrous stock.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Reply to
Andy Dingley
Thanks ! I knew there'd be someone who really knew this.
The 20 gauge is just for the trays. I've 8 and 10 gauge waiting for the drawer pulls.
For the bails, I'm looking at either working copper bar, or casting my own in bronze (probably coinage alloy). I'd quite like to do some tansu styles, while I'm about it.
This is what I was beginning to expect. But 20 gauge is basically free and replacing any thick stock that I use up is going to mean buying at retail prices (shameful !), so I'm a little wary to experiment on that.
Thanks for the pointer on hammer radius. I'll either find something, or grind an old one up to suit.
First tray I did, I worked it by sinking the tray shape and _then_ trying to texture it. Now _that_ was an oil can ! Now I texture the raw sheet, flatten it with a rawhide mallet and then work the shape. So long as I'm even with the texture density, it all stays flat.
Thanks for your advice.
-- Smert' spamionam
Reply to
Andy Dingley
I believe that Alaskan Copper and Brass (Seattle) carries sheet copper with that hammered finish, although it's bright and not patinated.
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