In ye olden times (and in 3rd world countries) tanning a hide to make leather used dung, urine, cow brains etc. and it sounds a bit like the process you have just followed. So perhaps modern tanning techniques would age the brass as well. I found this crowd (with an outlet in Hunstville).
@antedeluvian: In ye olden times (and in 3rd world countries) tanning a hide to make leather used dung, urine, cow brains etc....
In Roman times they used the ammonia from unrine to wash clothes -- I heard about the cow brains for tanning -- I don't know if I have the stomach to try that on my brass. I'll check out that website you mention (how do you find this stuff?)
I think it may have been me who mentioned the Imagineers' method of aging brass. I have scoured the Internet, but I have not been able to find any references to the recipe. My vague recollection is that in addition to cow poo it included straw, vinegar, and molasses. I could be wrong abnout the other ingredients- it's been many years since I got the tour of the "underside" of Epcot Center.
Now, if only you could find a breed of cow (or lama) called a "Black Max" ...
I thought I would take you up on your challenge. I didn't find one but I did find this which may be for a Blackmax cow, depending on how you parse the product title. What I did find puzzling is quite what this device is supposed to do. Read the description.
What is hardware disease? Does my computer have it? Do cows suffer from software disease? Does the cow swallow this magnet? As Arthur Fallowfield (Kenneth Williams) on "Beyond our Ken" used to say "The answer lies in the soil!"
@Antedeluvian: What I did find puzzling is quite what this device is supposed to do.
My understanding is that cows can pick up bits of metal when they are chowing down on the grass in a field -- you sick one of these down their throat and it attracts any magnetic metals and holds them tight as the thing wends it's way through the cow's stomachs
You are a hard taskmaster -- I was up early and at at ESC Brazil all ay yesterday -- then gave my final talk from 5:00pm to 6:00pm -- then raced to the airport and flew through the night with only two hours of sleep -- and now I'm back in the saddle using one hand tio type and the other to hold my eyelids open... and you will hold me to every apostrophe LOL
I can understand the smells you are talkign about. I do composting of kitchen waste at home so can figure out. Yes cow dung is extremely rich in so many minerals. Dried cowdung is used as fuel in many parts of India. Comingto the aging of brass, the pictures you have put looks like a piece of art. Where are you going to use them...I mean why would you age the brass.
@Sheetal: Where are you going to use them...I mean why would you age the brass.
These are just small test pieces. Take a look at my most recent Inamorata Prognostication Engine column -- that shows the full-size brass panels I'm using in a 1929 wooden radio cabinet. I want these panels to look like they are 100 years old -- not brand new and shiny...
Now, of course, you have the perfect test bed for testing brass cleaners. I wonder if taking a piece that had been, um, over-aged and then cleaning it abit might give you a piece that looks more authentic, since the corrosion has gone deeper.
P.S. Is it unreasonable to expect that clicking on "Post a comment" at the top of the article, or "COMMENT" at the bottom might bring up this panel?
Neither seems to have any effect; the only way to enter a comment is by clickling on "Reply" in someone else's post.
I don't seem to have this problem although I have had similar problems in the past, and it was tied to the browser I was using. I maintain Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome on my desktop for just that reason. Currently IE seems to work fine.
My friend, you always manage to surprise me. This is one of your weirdest (known) experiments ;-)
My 5 cents about the different results you have obtained with the cow poop and the horse doo-doo: the horse's one is very appreciated as a fertilizer, far better than the cow one... but "cow poop" is widely used because is cheaper to obtain -- believe me, I've been buried up to my knees in that "substance" while helping my father at his bulls farm!!
This makes me suppose that the horse "doo-doo" wins in your aging brass experiment because contains a higher amount of ammonium and other chemical substances.
@Garcia: This makes me suppose that the horse "doo-doo" wins in your aging brass experiment because contains a higher amount of ammonium and other chemical substances.
I think you are right -- and since you have such ready access to the stuff, if I decide to go that route I will send you my brass panels along with detailed instructions on how I wish you to age them LOL
I sent the cow/horse poop suggestion to my son (potential steam punker) and wife (former (perhaps perpetually) farm girl). My wife provided this response:
Fast-tracking patina for brass: (from Mom)
Left on its own without any intervention, unlacquered brass will begin to darken in about a month and will continue to take on a deeper patina with age and use. (Look up the next time you are seated at our dining room table.) To accelerate this process, placing the items in HOT water will speed up the oxidation. Another trick is to place an open can of traditional latex paint next to the unlacquered brass item in an enclosed area for at least 24 hours. The fumes from the paint will quicken the patination process.
And, by the way, BRASS IS BACK, in a big way. The appetite for nickel and chrome is at the saturation point. Just ask Martha Stewart.
Next time I think we could really use a picture of you working with the cans of poo. You know, just to set the scene. ;)
I have absolutely no experience with aging metals but I'd love to see a couple of brass pieces for comparison. I'm thinking an untarnished brass piece and a naturally aged brass piece (weathered outside) alongside the new brass pieces as you try new methods.
As always, looking forward to seeing the next step!
@Clarke: I'd love to see a couple of brass pieces for comparison.
I'm trying different techniques and keeping all of the results -- I have a piece on the roof of my office building as we speak -- it's been up there for a week now in the sun & rain with a dash of polution -- I need to go up there ant photograph it -- I plan on doing that week by week so we can see how it evolves -- bujt it's drizzling at the moment and the ladder on the side of the building is dangerous enough as it is .. so I'll wait a bit :-)
If you are really interested, I could bring out all of my test pieces to ESC Silicon Valley next year...
I didn't realize (but should have known) that you already had a piece weathering naturally for comparison. I'm interested to see this process and I'll bet that book mentioned earlier will be a big help.
I'd love to see them in person, but I actually might be making my way to Huntsville, AL before the next ESC. Which might save you from having to explain how you aged the brass to the TSA. :)
Also I'm not certain I'll be able to make it to ESC again this year but I'm hopeful!