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Blacksmith39

Coppery finish for steel

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Hey everyone!

A customer of mine asked if I could do a custom finish on some items. The only problem is I’ve never done a finish like this one. I’m willing to give it a try though. Does anyone know what this type of finish is called and how it could be done? 
Here’s the pic the customer sent me

 

79598CB4-5F5F-449F-84E7-DC9AF331C8D0.jpeg

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Probably wire brushed with a copper brush at a black heat.  Getting the proper brush and proper heat is a learning experience.  Using a brass brush is much more common and so you may read up on that and then try to apply and modify what you learn to copper.

Of course you can hot forge copper too; again some tricks to be learned to not end up with it dripping out the ash dump or cracking from too much O2 absorption...

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I wondered if that would work. I’ve used a brass brush before but didn’t know if it’d work with copper. I’ll give it a try!

Thanks

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I would expect it might need to be a bit hotter than for brass if you are using a pure copper brush.

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This is referred to as "brassing" or "plating", and I've heard some even refer to it as "brazing".

Use a soft bristled brass or copper brush. A yellow brass brush will give a brighter (more yellow than copper) finish so the piece you posted looks like copper.

Get the piece to a dull red heat in the forge and quickly wire brush (steel brush) scale away to clean piece. As the heat comes down and has lost all color at a black heat start brushing on brass. You can apply to taste, anywhere from minor highlights to very heavy.

One tip, try to do this in one heat. If you put the piece back in the forge too long the brassing will burn off leaving a black residue. I believe this is the zinc burning away. So best to do it all in one heat. For a complicated shape you could also spot heat with an OA torch. Just be careful with reheats, too high and it will burn away the brassing.

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Another way to get the plating is to use a etchant such as ferrous chloride contaminated with copper. Insert the clean steel item let sit, remove, neutralize (I use baking soda water, rinse let dry.

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