Thursday, April 21, 2011
Bronze Bracelets and Patinas
I've had some questions about how to patina the phosphor bronze wire that I now carry in my Artfire shop. Here are three different Viking knit bangles that I made showing three different options. I love all of these finishes so it's really a matter of personal preference. The first one is the shiny bright wire just as it comes off the coil. I really didn't even need to run this through the tumbler.
The second bracelet with the squiggle clasp got a light patina using JAX Brown-Black Darkener although I'm sure the Midas brand that Rio carries would work the same. This solution is clear and the color develops slowly so it's possible to have much more control than with LOS. When using this type of patina it's important that your metal be well cleaned first to remove any oils that might interfere with the patina. One of my metalsmithing instructors insists on cleaning hers with a toothbrush and soap or scouring powder. But I've found that a run through the tumbler with a little dishsoap or burnishing powder does the job as well. I left this one in the solution until it got a slightly aged look, then rinsed it. I didn't use any steel wool or remove any of the patina.
The third example uses LOS which works beautifully on clean bronze. This got quite dark as you can see in the crevices and I did use 0000 steel wool to buff off some of the patina from the high spots.