Jump to content
Candice

Lock Down Trouble: Blackening Copper and Brass with Essential Items

Recommended Posts

I am new to ship building and have just discovered the concept of blackening my copper and brass pieces (instead of using primer and black paint and still ending up with flakes coming off with handling). I have one big problem, however, I am currently a part of the strictest Covid lockdown in the world and can't buy anything other than essentials which, unfortunately, does not include anything sold at a hardware or jewelry store or bought online. From the reading that I've done, it seems that anything short of liver of sulphur gives too variable, brownish, green and/or short lived results (boiled eggs, sulfur ointment under heat, combo of salt, ammonia and vinegar). I want it to be properly black and to stay that way. Is there any chance anyone knows of anything that would be available as an essential item(s) that would do the job? I know I'm grasping at straws here but lockdown still has 16 days to go at the very least, maybe longer...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not likely that you'd be able to source anything that would be satisfactory given your restrictions. (I feel your pain. At least we are still able to order stuff on line here!)

 

You may consider that it's been reported by some very good modelers that liver of sulphur (the gel is best... it has more shelf-life) can be applied to clean parts after they have been installed on a model by simply painting it on. It does not discolor adjacent wood. They do this because the blackening will sometimes rub off a bit when handled. Blackening the part in place reduces that problem. So, you might be able to continue working and defer the blackening until you can source your liver of sulphur. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Candice,

I don't want to guess how the rules are applied in your area but gunsmiths use chemical blackening solutions as well. If anyone who is still trading overlaps that industry perhaps they can help?

It is a sad surprise to hear hardware shops are shut. Here in the UK they are deemed essential because of the cleaning materials they sell.

Good luck,

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Candice, welcome to the hobby.  Another source for your products are Jewellery Suppliers which more often than not have online services.  Most supply 'patina' products which are specific to different types of metals.  You can also try a stained glass or arts supplier, as they have patina chemicals for the lead and other metals.  I have found supplies at gunsmiths (probably shut) but some may be on line.

 

cheers

 

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Candice,

Have you tried Googling for it?  I would hope there's someplace near you that could ship it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in similar situation, I used the poor man's kit for blackening: a torch and a jar of used cooking oil. If you heat up your brass piece and dip in oil, it will be dark. Regular oil makes it dark brown, it said, used motor oil will make it black. The poor picture shows my result with cooking oil. It's not black but dark brown, which is acceptable for my purposes. I don't think it works with larger pieces but for small items may be OK.

hook.jpg.d71c3ee527d24ecb89c671d31e3bd3c9.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all the feedback! @Bob Cleek that is invaluable advice! I would have assumed that the wood would have been affected. Fortunately I have since managed to find an essential worker college who had some patina lying around at home! So that was a big life saver but I still took your advice and have been applying it after putting the eyelets into the deck and it's working really well! @DavidG that's super cool! Thankfully I don't have to resort to such measures after all, but I appreciate the feedback and will definitely stash that piece of info at the back of my mind in case it comes in handy later😃.

 

Out of interest lockdown in SA is still forging almost full force ahead😢. Unfortunately this isn't Texas so guns are FAR from essential services! And Jewelry and art supply traders will only be back in a few MONTHS time at the rate our government is going. We're finally allowed to order cellphones and computers online again but still no "non essential" deliveries allowed so no chance of shipping in anything. Hardware stores have finally opened again but are only allowed to sell goods essential for professional tradesman like Plumbers and Electricians to perform emergency repairs, so still no joy there either. So I'm hoping I don't come across anything else that requires non essential items in order to continue!

 

Thanks for all the help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/14/2020 at 5:36 AM, Candice said:

I am new to ship building and have just discovered the concept of blackening my copper and brass pieces (instead of using primer and black paint and still ending up with flakes coming off with handling).

Hello Candice, I have had problems with using a brass blackening agent only to have it flake off. The advice I got form some forum members here was that the brass must be rigorously cleaned in order for the blackening agent to work well. Click on the arrow in the upper, right hand corner of the link below to take you to an informative post by Bob Cardone:

 

 

 

I've never heard of liver of sulphur. Any chance you could post of few photos of the eyelets you blackened with it? Better yet, you could start a build log and so we could follow the progress on your model. There are many very experienced modelers here who would be happy to give you advice on any questions you might have or problems you may run into. Good luck on your build!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite a few members use liver of sulphur.   The advantage is that you can brush it on, when it's black enough rise it off. It won't discolor the wood.  One of our builders who's done a few books uses it exclusively... EdT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Mark, I'll have to give it a try. Does it blacken as well as some of the other more popular blackening solutions like Birchwood Casey Brass Black and Jax Pewter Black?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really have no first hand knowledge.  Only what I've seen in some logs.  

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Guest
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.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...