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Topic: Patina'd vs. freshly polished copper cups?
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jun 29, 2006 06:09PM)
In terms of typical audience reaction in an informal, close-up setting, do you think it's generally preferable to work with freshly polished cups or with cups that have acquired the aged look (dk.brown patina)?

While I'm at it, Wrights Copper Cream is a great way to polish your copper cups. Put it on with the included sponge, adding a bit of water as you go along, and then you rinse it off. Simple as that. Great thing about this method (compared with Never-Dull, for example) is that you don't have to get your fingernails all blackened from tarnish.

Fortasse
Message: Posted by: RaveMastaE (Jun 29, 2006 06:37PM)
I don't think it really matters when you're performing. The shiny ones will catch their eye a bit more, but it seems to me that they are usually more curious about the ones with a patina on it, almost like the cups have a history or story that they want to know.
Message: Posted by: Ragiv (Jun 29, 2006 07:00PM)
I rigorously keep my cups polished. I dislike the discoloration of copper, especially when you can see all of the finger prints.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 29, 2006 07:52PM)
If you let copper actually patinize, there will be no fingerprints. Instead, you will have a deep brown cup, almost coffee colored. Go to my web site and look at the cups on the "Traditional Cups" page -- look at the Stubby cups. Those are the natural color of patinized copper.

Also, take a look at the Charlie Miller cups, near the bottom of the same page.

The advantage of patinized cups over shiny ones is that if you have something hidden in your hand, it will not reflect in the surface of the cup.
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jun 29, 2006 08:56PM)
Bill :

Cup sets come in copper, brass, gold, silver, pewter, aluminum, stainless steel, tin and chrome........... but not in bronze (at least there are none on the market that I know of except for the RNT "church bronze" cups). How come?

Fortasse
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 29, 2006 09:29PM)
Actually, many copper cups are made of bronze. Brasses and bronzes are very closely related. For example Copper Alloy #C46400 is a naval brass that is about 60% copper, .2% lead, .1% Iron, and the rest is Zinc, with traces of Arsenic and Phosphorus or Antimony. Copper alloy #C67300 is a bronze that is almost identical, except for the addition of Manganese and Silicon. Bronze and brass are some of the earliest alloys we have.

The church bronze is very similar to the leaded yellow bronze that is used in banjo tone rings. I have a sheet with more than 2 dozen different formulas for that particular purpose.

Guild metal also qualifies as a bronze.

In fact, I know of a couple of alloys that are called brasses or bronzes almost interchangeably. The definition of brass used to be "an alloy of copper and zinc" while bronze was "an alloy of copper and tin." Nowadays, there are many alloys that contain all three ingredients, plus others as well.

Pure copper is very soft, but will work harden as it is spun. And there are grades of copper as well. Some of the cups in the collection exhibit characteristics of being made of very soft copper.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jun 29, 2006 10:09PM)
Bronze Phoenix 2 cups will be out shortly after the 4th of July holiday. We'll be doing a lot of darker bronze cups as well, including the Traditionals slated for release this July.

Jake
Message: Posted by: geemack (Jun 29, 2006 10:31PM)
[quote][i]On 2006-06-29 20:00, Ragiv wrote...[/i]

I rigorously keep my cups polished. I dislike the discoloration of copper, especially when you can see all of the finger prints.[/quote]
Regarding the fingerprints, I posted this in another thread some time ago...

When I get a new set of cups I wash them often, regularly, in plain dish soap and water. I dry them thoroughly with a soft clean towel each time to avoid water spots. That helps the patina develop gently and evenly over several weeks, after which I wash them less often. The regular washing early in their lives seems to prevent that blotchy uneven look.

If I get a set of old cups which have already developed a blotchy, unattractive patina, I give them a good polishing with Brasso. Then I wash them well, again with dish soap and water, and dry them. That takes off the little residue of Brasso and gets them started towards an even patina. Again I'll wash them regularly for a few weeks, and less often after the smooth, caramel brown patina has developed.

Greg
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jun 29, 2006 11:37PM)
Isn't the problem with Brasso that it actually removes the brass and that less abrasive polishes like Never-Dull are therefore better? I know that's what George Robinson of Viking Magic always says.

Fortasse
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 29, 2006 11:57PM)
Brasso does remove a little bit of brass, but it is a minuscule amount. Tabasco sauce is a very good brass polish. Simichrome and Flitz are both excellent polishes.
Message: Posted by: geemack (Jun 30, 2006 12:17AM)
[quote][i]On 2006-06-30 00:37, fortasse wrote...[/i]

Isn't the problem with Brasso that it actually removes the brass and that less abrasive polishes like Never-Dull are therefore better? I know that's what George Robinson of Viking Magic always says.[/quote]
Although Brasso removes a certain amount of metal with each polishing, I generally use it only once on any given set of cups... maybe twice... in a lifetime. Some amount of material is actually removed with any polishing product. Those which have almost no abrasive materials are still dissolving away the surface layer of patina/tarnish. Even ketchup, vinegar, Tobasco sauce, and similar products contain varying amounts of acids and work by dissolving and removing the surface oxidation. Either way it is a non-issue for those of us who like our cups with a patina and only clean them with soap and water.

Greg
Message: Posted by: Ragiv (Jun 30, 2006 03:11PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-29 20:52, Bill Palmer wrote:
If you let copper actually patinize, there will be no fingerprints. Instead, you will have a deep brown cup, almost coffee colored. Go to my web site and look at the cups on the "Traditional Cups" page -- look at the Stubby cups. Those are the natural color of patinized copper.

Also, take a look at the Charlie Miller cups, near the bottom of the same page.

The advantage of patinized cups over shiny ones is that if you have something hidden in your hand, it will not reflect in the surface of the cup.

[/quote]

That looks way better than cups that have discolored unevenly. By the way, I still use the Udays :P
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Jun 30, 2006 05:47PM)
Greg:

Thanks for sharing the technique with Brasso and soap/water. I have a question for anybody here: What is it that makes the patina? Is it the oils in your hand coming in contact with the metal?

Ron
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Jun 30, 2006 06:28PM)
I polished a number of old sets of Paul Fox cups with Flitz over 4 years ago and they have not produced a patina. I take it that Flitz places some kind of coating on the cup.

Any thought on what to do to get a patina going. I surmise I may need to repolish with some other product (?).

Terry
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 30, 2006 06:35PM)
Polish them with Flitz or Brasso, doesn't really matter which, then give them a good washing with dishwasher detergent and water. That will remove the coating. You can also try cleaing them with alcohol, but that may leave a film of oil, if there is a waxy coating on them from the polish.
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jun 30, 2006 06:42PM)
Isn't carnuba wax also supposed to be good for "locking" in the patina once you get it looking the way you want?

Fortasse
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 30, 2006 06:55PM)
Yes, it is. But if you have a coating in place already, the patina won't develop. You might be able to use a chemical degreaser to prepare the cups after polishing them.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jul 1, 2006 03:35PM)
You can purchase oxidizers for specific Patinas on copper, zink, brass etc. This speeds up the process of Mother Nature on the cups. While the chemical isn't expensive you have to do this in a well ventilated building or outside even as most of the oxidizers contain an acidic base to speed this up.

You can check out http://www.caswellplating.com for the chemicals. Do a search for Oxidizer

Jake
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2006 04:16PM)
My own experience with these, and I have used several of them, has been less than ideal. The best application of this kind of compound is done with heat. This is the way Willi Seidl did his oxidation.
Message: Posted by: flimnar (Jul 1, 2006 05:00PM)
Seems like on an earlier thread Jim Riser said that putting the cups in a bag with sawdust soaked with cat urine works great and only takes a couple of days. Hmmmmmm, then again, maybe I'll just wait and let it happen naturally......

Flimnar
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (Jul 1, 2006 06:05PM)
Will human urine work just as well?

I am Johnny Mystic
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2006 06:17PM)
Depends. If you eat mice and birds, it might work just fine.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 1, 2006 10:47PM)
Another winning reply...
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 1, 2006 10:54PM)
Does that make me a three time winner?
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jul 1, 2006 11:06PM)
Whew, how quick these threads can take a turn <lol>
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Jul 2, 2006 01:11AM)
My feeling is that the mirror polish that I put on my cups is for helping to produce a great patina. If the copper is polished before letting it tarnish, the patina will end up being the smooth nice looking color blend most of us desire. Greg's tips above will lead to a nice patina over time. The more you handle the cups, the quicker the patina will develop. As the patina is developing and you handle the cups, you will notice your hands will stink from the copper oxides forming. Wash your hands when washing the cups. Dry both hands and cups. Once the patina is where you want it to be, coat it with hard carnuba wax - hand buffed. Once the surface is sealed with the wax, you can freely use the cups with no oxides stinking up your hands. Rewax every now and then to keep a good seal on the patina. BTW - a slow naturally forming patina will look better (richer) than a quicky job with some form of added chemical action - and it will be more permanent.
Jim
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 2, 2006 01:41AM)
I'll add this -- if you want the cups to patinize evenly and equally, do not stack them. Make sure they are open to the air.
Message: Posted by: SlackerRan (Sep 22, 2006 11:36PM)
Lots of great advice above, yet some of it seems specific to copper. Any reservations about Greg's, Bill's, Jim's, etc... advice on developing some patina character on some brass cups, specifically, a new set of brass Johnsons? (Dish soap, water, dry thoroughly, and wax when happy)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 22, 2006 11:43PM)
I think that is the route to go with the Johnson cups. They do not have a clear coat on them, if I am not mistaken.
Message: Posted by: flimnar (Sep 23, 2006 12:04AM)
I have tried for a long time to develop a nice patina on my various sized copper cups. The minis seemed to develop fine. My regular sized and large sized copper cups have set for 8 to 9 months and are still just beginning to gain a patina. I wonder if it has to do with living in an arid environment. Love the cups, so I'll just be patient. I hate to start using chemicals--with no mechanical or artistic skills, I'm afraid I'd just mess them up. So it goes...

Flimnar
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 23, 2006 01:32PM)
My artistic skills are nearly non-existant, but it's not that hard to get good results. You remember the small tops I had at Gazzo's class? That color was the result of a couple evenings of playing around with some patina solution from Home Depot. If you mess up too much, just hit them with some Wright's Copper Cream and start over.

PM me if you want to try it and we can talk details.
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Sep 23, 2006 02:05PM)
I don't think that removing a little metal with polish is a big deal with solid copper cups, but be more careful with plated or engraved metals. You could polish through the plating or diminish the engraving like some manic grandmothers did with their fine silverware. Destroying the very investment they cherished.

I like to keep my mini cups and micro chop clean, since I use them in a food service area, but my full size set was fake patinated. I spend four hours cleaning what looked like dry chuck grease off, that was spun into the cup. Maybe it was undercoat. It was too much and coming off on my hands and props. So I got them 80% clean and put the carnauba on so they have some darkness near the rings and inside.

Also I use Endust to clean all the cups, cuts grease and does not leave any coat.
And lemony fresh!
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Sep 23, 2006 05:17PM)
I recently purchased a couple of sets of Gazzo (Gary Animal) cups in guild metal. It's such a striking colour when polished. With such strong aesthetic appeal, I'm wondering why so few cups are actually spun from guild metal. Is it because it's more of a challenge than spinning cups from the more popular metals like copper.

I'd also be interested in hearing what others use to polish guild metal cups with.

Fortasse
Message: Posted by: Richard Evans (Sep 23, 2006 05:20PM)
I agree, the guild metal is a great colour - it's not as bright and 'brass' as brass and has a more golden sheen to it. Like brass, the guild metal needs to be kept polished - it doesn't look good when it tarnishes.
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Sep 23, 2006 07:12PM)
My mini cups are the Gary Animal guild metal Golf size, and they are a nice yellow bronz color not as yellow as brass. I cleaned them and put a coat of Carnauba to keep them pretty clean, but not mirror shine. Then I spray them with mild cleaner once in a while when they get grubby. They fit snug enough that a lot of dirt will make them stick together. I agree that guild metal looks better with out a patina, but a coat of good wax adds a nice luster, aura?

Remember fresh leather monkey fist balls will blacken the cups when left inside between shows. So, maybe you could wrap new cups in leather lace to add a black antique look.
Message: Posted by: ttorres (Sep 23, 2006 08:29PM)
I have to say I don’t care much for a shinny set of cups. I have a fairly new set of cups and they are just now starting to “patina” (by the way this is my first introduction to this term). There are looking a bit blotchy right now. So I was happy to read that there is something I can do about it.

Thank you everyone for good advice. :cups:


Tony
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Sep 26, 2006 11:27AM)
My buddy took his smooth copper Sherwood cups, treated them with somthing and baked them so they are mostly dark. He can't reproduce it, but they look Mahvelous.

I think we have a sentimental spot for tarnished/old looking props that might leave spectators cold. The beauty of the cups we use is usually obscured by a dark patina. They need to look like they are metal rather than clay. Not like complex machines but like well worn tools showing signs of honest ware.
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Sep 26, 2006 11:50AM)
Just leave the cups on the roof a couple weeks or so, the fog and the sun will do the work for you.
Message: Posted by: flimnar (Sep 26, 2006 09:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-09-26 12:27, plungerman wrote:
My buddy took his smooth copper Sherwood cups, treated them with something and baked them so they are mostly dark. He can't reproduce it, but they look Mahvelous.

I think we have a sentimental spot for tarnished/old looking props that might leave spectators cold. The beauty of the cups we use is usually obscured by a dark patina. They need to look like they are metal rather than clay. Not like complex machines but like well worn tools showing signs of honest ware.
[/quote]

[quote]
On 2006-09-26 12:27, plungerman wrote:
My buddy took his smooth copper Sherwood cups, treated them with somthing and baked them so they are mostly dark. He can't reproduce it, but they look Mahvelous.
[/quote]

FYI, in another thread, Jim Riser sounded a warning about heating up cups--he said this could potentially damage the cups.

Flimnar