Weathering Brass? Techniques?

superjedi

Sr Member
Hi all,
I've searched for stuff related to weathering brass, and can only find some vague info on using ammonia.
I'm trying to do my own Obi ANH weathered saber. I just got a MkIII from Roman, and I'm looking for any tips on how to weather the brass stem.
I've heard about 'Brass Black' from Birchwood Casey, but it seems that with this product, the finish comes out pretty shiny. I've also seen references to ammonia fumes, but I don't want to wind up with a greenish patina finish, just . . . darker brass I guess. I've also heard you can use vinegar. . . but again, only vague references. Do I dip it? Or suspend it somehow so the fumes act on the metal?

Anyone with experience building sabers have any pointers for me?
Thanks,
Eric
 

Gigatron

Sr Member
The cheapest and fastest way to blacken it is our old friend, fire.

Just hold it about an inch above an open flame and the soot will coat it in a nice dark finish. You'll want to seal it with a clear coat, otherwise it will just wipe off.

I can post pics of mine later tonight, if you'd like.

-Fred
 

superjedi

Sr Member
<div class='quotetop'>(SurferGeek @ Jun 30 2006, 11:01 AM) [snapback]1271582[/snapback]</div>
You can use ammonia vapors to darken brass, I've done it without getting the green. Just don't leave it in too long and if you do get some green you can remove it and start over.

http://www.whitechapel-ltd.com/tech/antique_brass.shtml
[/b]
Thanks for that link. But if you do get the greenish deposits, can they be buffed off, leaving the darker finish? Or do you have to clean the piece with something and start from scratch?
It's sounding like this might be the easiest way for me to do it. I just don't want to mess up my stem. . . it's a little expensive (for me) to have to get another one. :confused
 

Darth Mawr

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. If the right amount of heat is applied for the correct amount of time the zinc will leave and you are left with the copper thus the dark spots that can not be buffed out. How much heat and time needed depends on the actual alloy.

I used to sell Hearth Products and this was explained by a Firescreen manufacturer.

Personally, I would go for one of the chemical treatments.
 

Great_Bizarro

Sr Member
LOOK HERE FOR SOLUTIONS
Check a jewelery supply site. JAX Brass,Bronze,Copper Darkner is a liquid that will darken any metal with a copper content. You then hit it with a scotch pad to bring back the original color for highlights and ya got a winner. Depending on length of time left in solution it goes all the way to jet black.
 

Darth Lars

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I noticed that gun blue can also darken brass, but it might not be too good at it.

An idea would be to do like a "black wash", but with an acid-based liquid. First darken with the darkening solution and then polish most of it away with fine steel wool. Then do ammonia fuming.
 

superjedi

Sr Member
<div class='quotetop'>(SurferGeek @ Jun 30 2006, 11:01 AM) [snapback]1271582[/snapback]</div>
You can use ammonia vapors to darken brass, I've done it without getting the green. Just don't leave it in too long and if you do get some green you can remove it and start over.

http://www.whitechapel-ltd.com/tech/antique_brass.shtml
[/b]

Thanks for all the links/replies guys.
I ordered some of Whitechapel's antiquing solution from the link above. I figured it's only $6.00 and it sounds pretty easy to use. According to the link, you submerge the parts, rather than trying to suspend them in the fumes or whatever, and the process is rapidly visible (and buffable once it's rinsed), so I can stop it whenever it reaches a shade that looks good to me. So we'll see I guess.
Hopefully I won't choke on fumes or accidentally snort it or something. :lol
 

Hez

Well-Known Member
I used Brass Black, and never got a shiny finish once. Dunk the stem in the black, and leave it for a few minutes. It'll probably go completely black, but thats ok. Take it out, and hold it under the cold water tap for a minute. Take a scouring pad to it (you know, everyday kitchen kind of thing for removing tough marks).

Probably most of the black will come off under the scouring pad, but again, thats ok, because the brass will be slightly darker than it was before. Repeat the process, and everytime, the brass will get a little darker. Simply keep repeating until you get a finish you're happy with, but I weathered a lot of Obi-wan sabers, and always acheived a natural looking weathering and aging of the brass using this process.

Should work with the one you ordered as well, just gives you a little more control over the finish.
 

ATL Kenobi

Sr Member
For my ANH Obi, I used a solution used to darken brass lamps. (I made several Victorian styled brass lamps for my house.) There are two types; one for a greenish patina, and one for a darkish brown to almost black. They can be found here:

http://www.vandykes.com/product/70027167/
or
http://www.vandykes.com/product/70011321/

The finish is not shiney, and it darkens in less than five minutes. The longer you leave it in the solution the darker it gets.

ATL
 
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superjedi

Sr Member
Thanks ATL-K

I was making my weekly trip to my local hobby shop, and they had this stuff called "Blacken-It." I read the label, and it said it could be used for brass/copper/bronze, so I picked it up and tried it out.
Man.. This stuff worked fantastic. It took about 1 minute to get a nice aged finish on my stem. . . I'm totally impressed. And it was only $7.00. :thumbsup :thumbsup
 

Sporak

Sr Member
Gone but not forgotten.
I use brass black and it works great...it does give it a natural darkening effect...
Aluminum black works fair on the grenade body.

Try cold blueing for the grenade if you have a steel one...
 
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