Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish

I know I can buy verdigris solutions (or just bury the piece in the
cat box) if I want the green color , but I have an expensive entrance
set that was finished in a "Venetian Bronze" patina. The patina is
worn off of the areas where it gets frequent contact and the
manufacturer (Baldwin) is not able to supply the materials to restore
the worn area. The rep I spoke with mentioned that they use a copper
sulphate process, followed by an oxidizing finish called Ebenol that
gives it the rich dark color.
Does any one have any ideas for home recipes that can reproduce this
patina - or something close enough that there is not such a stark
contrast between the original unworn surfaces and the now-just-brass
surface that I have on some areas?
Joe
Reply to
Joe Gandalf
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Greetings Joe, I recently had to deal with this problem. I did some machining on some Ashley Norton escutcheon plates and managed to damage the oil-rubbed bronze finish on one. I bought a solution called "Brass Ager" online. I don't remember where exactly but there are several vendors selling this solution. The pictures of the bottles all look the same and the MSDS are the same so I am sure all the different vendors are selling the same stuff. The prices vary by over 100% from vendor to vendor so it pays to shop around. Just google "brass ager" and take your pick. The process is as follows: Clean the piece very well, there cannot be any oil on it. Water should sheet off of the area needing the finish. You should rinse with distilled water. Once that state of cleanliness has been achieved submerge the piece in the solution. Find a container that matches the dimensions of the piece as closely as possible to put the solution in. Those cheap Gladware plastic containers are perfect for this type of operation. Watch the part get darker the longer it sits in the solution. You can pull it out and check and then put it back in if need be. DO NOT TOUCH THE AREA BEING TREATED UNTIL THE PART IS READY TO BE DISPLAYED. Then dry it off with air. You can use a blow dryer. Then get the piece warm, maybe 150 degrees F. Then spray with WD40 and heat until dry. I used a torch to heat the back side of the part that I fixed until the WD40 was dry. Don't get it smoking hot but do get it hot. You are probably not going to be able to do this repair with the piece on the door. If you do it the way I did then you certainly won't be able to. By the way, the oil rubbed finish is supposed to rub off over time. The contrast between the dark finish and the hand polished worn surfaces is what lots of people like. Of course it does look better when the base metal is bronze and not brass. Which is why all my door hardware and door furniture is bronze. Anyway, if you follow my directions you should be able to get a finish that will be very hard to tell apart from the original. You might want to get a piece of cheap brass plated stuff and practice on it first. You might run into one problem and that is the surface you will be darkening will have a smooth surface from all the hands rubbing it. When Baldwin originally finished the piece there is a good chance that the surface was slightly roughened up before the finish was applied. You can mimic this by using fine steel wool or any other fine abrasive that you can apply in a non-directional way. Sandblasting or glass bead blasting with very fine media works well and speeds up the darkening process. You really should practice on something first in order to get the process down. But it actually goes pretty fast once you start. I was able to get the exact look I needed in less than 1 hour start to finish. And the finish on the piece I worked on was indistinguishable from the rest of the piece. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Thanks for the tip, Eric. I've found it all over the place, as you said. The MSDS lists phosphoric & HCl, along with selenium, so it's not really benign, but nothing I haven't dealt with (or worse) in the past.
What about Liver of Sulfur? Does it make brass as dark as Brass Ager? I know it works great on silver.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Gandalf

Liver of sulphur will make brass and copper almost black if you leave it long enough and use a hot solution. I have not used it on bronze. Do you have a picture of the original patina so one can get some idea what exactly you are shooting for?
Michael Koblic, Campbell River, BC
Reply to
mkoblic
I have used liver of sulfur. Use the brass ager. It is easier to use. More controllable. And it doesn't have that horrible stink. And what you are looking for is an oil rubbed bronze finish, which requires more than making the brass black. you need browns too. And besides, the brass ager isn't as nasty as the ingredients would suggest. Muriatic acid and battery acid are both much more dangerous than the brass ager. And they taste worse too, being so concentrated. Almost as bad as any Cuervo product. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Greetings Michael, Google US 10B finish picture or image and you will get a pretty good idea of the Baldwin finish. Or just look for Baldwin in oil rubbed bronze finish. Except his original finish was probably almost completely or completely black when new. After aging it becomes less dark. Some very dark reds or browns should start to show through. He needs to match his new finish to the existing finish without affecting the new finish. It's pretty easy. Adding the oil really helps. Waxes help too. Which is why I used WD40. It leaves behind a hard waxy substance. Especially if applied a few times and heated to dry it. Eric
Reply to
etpm
The piece is actually brass, with a bronze finish ("distressed Venetian bronze", they call it). Except for the handle & thumb lever, which have worn to the natural brass color, all of the rest of the lockset has retained the original finish, so I have plenty to compare it to. It is a dark brown color (similar to the tobacco finish that Gibson used on some Les Pauls, if that helps) with tiny bits of brass highlights (flecks, as it were). I can photograph it if that will help, but I would be satisfied if I can just come close to the factory finish.
I mentioned the copper sulfate treatment, followed by Ebonol as the original process used to make that patina.
I'll most likely order some Brass Ager next week & experiment a bit.
Reply to
Joe Gandalf
OK, Brass Ager it is! BTW, I don't have to worry too much about a smooth, worn texture; the "distressed" part of the "Distressed Venitian Bronze" apparently refers to a wire wheel treatment that imparts a much-used texture that hasn't worn down like the color did.
(I think all tequila smells great, a sensation that belies the horrible taste of even the expensive silver stuff.)
Thanks again. Joe
Reply to
Joe Gandalf
I really like good tequila. Cuervo just doesn't make any good tequila. Fortunately there are a lot of other companies that make good tequila. And please let us know how well your part comes out. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Excellent post, Eric. What was the reason for using WD-40? As an oil after the ager? If so, why not use sewing machine oil, 3-in-1, or motor oil? Curious.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I bought some liver of sulfur last year but haven't even opened it yet. I should add some brass ager to my "use some day" stock.
I agree. I much prefer the blacky browns of good bronze work to the brassier stuff.
Yeah, I used to prefer Sauza. The real question here is: Why, oh why, is Eric drinking liver of sulfur and brass ager solutions?
Reply to
Larry Jaques
WD40 leaves a hard waxy film. An oil rubbed bronze finish has oil applied to it after the metal has been darkened. I have some of this oil but the part I had to fix needed to be ready that day. The proper oil smells but the smell goes away after the piece is dry for several days. Since the customer needed the piece right away I didn't want to risk giving him a smelly part, So using WD40 supplies the oil and when properly dried a fairly hard waxy film, almost like lacquer. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Maybe something else got in there. To me dried WD-40 seems more like yellowish Vaseline.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
"Jim Wilkins" fired this volley in news:lnihl2$52v $ snipped-for-privacy@dont-email.me:
Correct. If it 'varnished', it was almost certainly a vegetable-based oil, and nothing in WD-40 is remotely like that.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Gunner Asch fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Actually, you need to read the WD-40 web site's description of that.
It contains - according to them - a specially modified mineral spirits (hydrogenation, etc.) which is NOT "Stoddard Solvent" at all.
Add to that the fact that WD-40 NEVER varnishes, even though it does dry to a greasy film, and you completely eliminate the possibility that it is a fatty acid-based material.
Petroleum greases oxidize (if at all) extremely slowly, and do not form varnishes except at very high temperatures. Vegetable oils oxidize at room temperature, and form varnishes 'automatically' without any provocation except exposure to air.
The _original_ "varnish" was nothing but de-greased linseed oil; called - and actually - boiled linseed oil, and not at all like the 'boiled' oil of today that is raw oil, greases and all, with driers added to accelerate the oxidization of the free fats as well as the oil.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Gunner Asch fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Except for the solvent NOT being Stoddard Solvent, and the oil in it being a light mineral oil, all that you claimed including that bit above are myths or pure speculation.
You needn't believe me; go to the WD-40 website, and read what they have to say about it.
There is no vegetable oil or fish oil in WD-40, and like all mineral oils, it will not varnish except at high enough temperatures to cause it to decompose. Like all mineral oils, it may have a tiny percentage of petroleum wax (paraffin wax) dissolved in it, and that can form a coating that could be confused for varnish -- except that it's instantly soluble in naphtha or xylene or toluene.
It's NOT soluble in nitro solvent to any good degree.
LLoyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Gunner Asch fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
I usually trim. It's in the thread for anyone to read.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
"Aliphatic" is a broad family name which means no more than that the carbon chains aren't closed into conjugated rings, which are "aromatic". It doesn't distinguish between alkanes which don't polymerize and alkenes (with double bonds) which can.
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"Aliphatic compounds can be saturated, joined by single bonds (alkanes), or unsaturated, with double bonds (alkenes) or triple bonds (alkynes)."
"Aromatic" is the other family:
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This has a picture of how unsaturated oils like linseed cross-link and harden.
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-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Gunner Asch fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Shit, Gunner. You make it sound like I somehow _deleted_ your post!
It's just plain rude in the worst sense to deliberately waste as much bandwidth as possible on every post.
This is a thread! Anyone (anyone) who's reading it will see your full post, followed by my answer.
If you can't remember what you posted, and were counting on my reply to remind you, just look back in your newsreader history. It's there, Gunner. Really.
I almost _always_ trim, unless the entirety of the prior post is necessary to understand my reply. Everyone should. Bandwidth isn't free, unless you're reading this in the public library. Even then, someone pays for it.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Gunner Asch fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
C'mon... I'm not talking about MY bandwidth. I'm talking about the gadzillions of stupid forwarded/forwarded/forwarded full-copies of threads with answers to answers to answers fully and faithfully copied, full-copies of emails with pictures and answers to pictures and answers to pictures and answers... ad infinitum.
If you see 'bandwidth' as just an issue of how fast you can send/receive in your own private little corner of the internet, then you don't know much about how the infrastructure is supported, or what it costs us.
Yeah, bandwidth increases every year. We (you me, everybody) pays for that, even if your DSL or satellite bandwidth doesn't change a whit.
Besides... you are still avoiding the issue. HOW does my trimming before I answer keep _anyone_ from seeing everything you posted?
LLoyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh

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