Antiqued Copper

My whole weekend has been consumed by bare copper (weird for me not to use non-tarnish wire!), chasing hammers, sea sediment jasper, liver of sulfur, dremel collets, and the new ceramic tile which I’m really enjoying as a photo background.

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I’ve never done this before but I LOVE it.

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Liver of Sulfur is this goop you dump your metals into in order to make them oxidize – that is to say, turn it black.

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Then, you buff it back off the raised areas to get this lovely soft contrast between the dark crevices and the shiny copper.

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I didn’t actually know how to buff it, or what to buff it with! I have a dremel rotary tool and a kit full of random bit-type-attachments, so I tried a few and found one.

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I wore that one to a nub on the first half-dozen pieces, and then had to wait until today to hit the hardware store to find a replacement.

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As it turned out I found a BETTER buffer/polisher-thing and it did another dozen buffs without being worn down at all!

Yay for home hardware!

I ran the liver of sulfur three times, which is a waste, but the first time was a test, the second time was being over-eager once I knew that it worked, and the third time was because I was done wrapping for the weekend and wanted to have the rest of the pieces finished before I quit for the day.

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The small wire here is my regular 22ga wire, made to look miniscule by the very heavy 16ga wire I’m using for the main wrap.

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The 16ga is very heavy but surprisingly easy to wrap with; I make a curl and then hammer it, and then it’s essentially immovable after that, which is great for trapping a stone.

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I kind of like how the bails at the top mostly look like hearts! Trying to come up with a name for these that isn’t as corny as “for love of the ocean” but that does mean kind of the same thing (since these are sea sediment jasper).

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This is the newest direction for Gayle Bird Designs; expect to see more of this style, probably mostly at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design high-end gallery in Sydney.

6 Comments

  1. Love the new look, your wiring is so pretty. I have been making loads of oxidized copper and sterling silver pieces lately and use my dremel to buff it up. I use the white fluffy disc thing and some polishing compound that came with my dremel tool kit. I have yet to find a tool for removing the black marks on my fingers and from under my nails!

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