Jump to content

How to prevent copper plates from peeling?

Recommended Posts

Hi all,


I've recently finished coppering the hull of my Phantom build.  For the most part it turned out okay for a first attempt (I'm happy with it :P), but a dozen or so of the plates are starting to coming loose.


I was thinking of applying a couple layers of Polycrylic, but I'm not sure if that would actually work to hold the plates down.  I know this would prevent the plates from weathering, but for this build that is not a big concern.


I could try to replace the problem plates, but I would likely have to take up a lot of the "good" plates to fix them and maintain the overlapping flow.


Any suggestions for the best way to fix this (and to prevent it from happening on future builds!)?


Thanks in advance,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahoy Arthur


First you need to do some samples on a test section with the same wood and finish on the hull,then take some sample copper plastes.


On the back side of the plates,rough them up,with either the side of a small file or diamond file. That will give the glue something to hold onto. On the hull ,I would rough it up also.


I use either the edge of a file,which I scrape across the wood at an angle to leave at groved surface-just like what you would see when a tile setter spreads the glue with a notched trowel. This gives the glue a place to hold onto the wood.


Try this out on a couple of samples and then do a "pull" test on how well the glue holds the copper onto the wood hull. See how well they hold onto the hull by prying them off.


You might have to spend some time getting the right combination,but it's well worth the time. The main thing is-two smooth surfaces do not leave anything for the glue to hold onto. And since the copper is smooth  to begin with,it needs some roughing up- not enough to distort the plate,but something to hold the glue.


I ran into this when I was making some plywood from oak veneer and basswood . The veneer had a cloth backing and the basswood was smooth. I used Titebond the glue them first without doing anything to the surfaces.


When the glue dried,I found out that it did not take much to peal them apart. And since I was planking with this combination,when I bent the plank to fit the hull,almost 80% of the planks that I had made pulled apart.

 So I then roughed up the mating sides that would be the glued surfaces. I roughed up the basswood with the edge of a razor saw,by pulling it across the plank surface.Which left the groves of the saw teeth. On the cloth backing of the oak veneer  I scratched up its surface wuith the piont of an exacto knife blade.


After that I had O problems with the tow different materials pealing apart. I now do this roughing up when I am planking a hull . 


Let me know if you try this,and if it works for you.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect this is not the recommended method, but once I first glued the plates on using thick CA glue. When finished I um, "painted" the copper plates with a thin coat of 2 hour epoxy.. :blush:


This basically encapsulated the plates in epoxy resin. That was over 10 years ago, to this day none have come off, however they still look as bright and shiny as a new penny..  (It was Sergal's Cutty Sark).


I can't remember if I actually used a throw-away paint brush, or some sort of rag and gloves for application, though whatever it was, would likely not be good for much afterwards.



Edited by skipper1947
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I did the same thing coppering the Cutty Sark (Sergal).  I used thick cyano cement sparingly, then an acetone wash to remove the flecks that were on the outside.  Finally, a thin coat of copper paint dulled the finish just enough to look realistic.  The copper was too prominent before the paint.  No tarnish in 3 years.  Lou

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arthur, if you used the self sticking copper tape that came with the Phantom for the copper plates, these usually stick very well. Did you prep the wood under them? I prime the wood before applying the plates.I also burnish them after I put them on with a popcycle stick.  I did this on the Conny I am working on now and I have a few plates where the overlapping edge with the next plate is coming up a little along the top row. I will probably just peel up the offending plate slightly and use a piece of small wire to apply some thin CA glue to the back of the plate, but I haven't done it yet. Maybe you can try something similar for yours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback, all.


It was the self-sticking copper tape which came with the model.  I had first coated the hull with one layer of paint.  I can't recall if I sanded the paint before applying the plates... it was quite a while ago I did that part.  It's been sitting on my shelf for probably a year before I took it down again. :rolleyes:


To apply them, I simply peeled off the backing by hand after cutting them to size, then stuck them on by hand and "smoothed" them down with the end of my x-acto knife after putting on 2 or 3 plates.  I think the problem was removing the backing, where it might have messed up the adhesive.


Most of them are fine - it's mainly the ones right near the back where hull curves into the keel (if that makes sense... I'm not too good with my terms yet :P), and 1 or 2 of the top row.


I think I'll try Tom's suggestion and try to apply a drop of CA with a piece of wire to the offending plates.


Thanks again for all the suggestions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most asked question I ever got was "will the copper plating stay shiney like that"? I tell them no, it will tarnish with time or you can speed up the process. They actually seemed upset that I would even mention such a thing and to not touch the copper plating any further. These were customers and like I explained to them that the copper would not remain like new on the real ship, it would get tarnished quickly in the salt water. They didn't care. I even had one client who asked me to take off the copper plating and replace it after I took before and after tarnishing or aging took place.He was paying me so his wish was my command. So after that, I used those same two photos to clients and asked which did they prefer and hands down they chose the untarnished version every time.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had some copper plates come loose.  They had no adhesive but I did sand the backs a little, then applied them with thick CA.  The basswood hull got a thin coat of urethane varnish.


To re-attach the loose plates, I applied thick CA with a wire bent into a very small eye at the end so it would hold a small drop.  This allowed me to precisely apply the CA to the back and to avoid getting the CA all over the outside.


Good luck with your build and above all, have fun~!


Seasons Greetings to you all.                           Duff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...