If there is a stained glass supply shop somewhere nearby, drop in there
and ask about "patina." They sell bottles of solutions do exactly what
you want. If you have an extra piece of the brass, bring it with and
see if they will test it out for you. Some of them make it real dark
Not sure about forcing tarnish quickly per se. They first thing is to make
sure there is no finish on the Brass to prevent tarnishing. Often lacquer
finish is applied to prevent tarnishing. Use a paint stripper on the item,
following instructions. See what happens. Let nature take its course from
there or try as others have suggested. First they key is to remove the
protective finish if there is one.
Wouldn't lacquer thinner, perhaps diluted with a dollop of denatured
alcohol, be more appropriate for stripping lacquer? I think paint
stripper would be needed only if the item were varnished, which is
unlikely from the factory. Paint stripper will work, of course, but
seems overkill to me :-).
First, ensure there is no protective finish on the brass. Soak it in a bit
of lacquer thinner for about 15-30 mins and wash clean with water.
Next, mix up a solution of salt and water (I forget the amounts just that it
was pretty strong salt water!). Dip the parts in the salt water.
Then, hang the parts over a bath of ammonia and heat with a hair dryer.
Repeat the salt water/ammonia business until you get the patina
For me, it was hinges. I took a bit of a coat hanger and made hooks out of
it. Used a steel paint can (new from Lowes, quart sized) and magnets to
hold the hooks to the lid. Dipped the hinges while on the hooks, put the
lid on the can and heated with the hair dryer for about 3 mins. I did this
3 times and got the patina I was looking for. Followed up with a bit of
lacquer and they look great. For screws or small parts, you can make a
parts bag using metal screen material and just place them in there. One
other thing, you may want to rotate the objects on the end of the
hook/inside the bag. Because the patina grows best where there is a higher
concentration of saltwater, you will get more patina near the bottom of the
items (where the drops of salt water accumulate).
Anyway, this worked for me and I actually discoverd the so called "brass"
screws sold by Lowes are indeed NOT brass. They didn't tarnish a bit.
Cheers, hope this helped.
ps. Don't let the parts touch the ammonia. It's the fuming of the
ammonia/heat that allow this reaction to occur. If you put the parts into
the ammonia, all bets are off!
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