After getting to the point of everything ground and polished in the last post, I decided to patina. Getting a good patina requires good surface prep: no oils or fingerprints and a consistent, slightly matte finish. I would normally use pumice or a scotch brite wheel but I decided to try No Name (really, that’s it’s name) a metal prep sold for users of shakudo. You use it like pumice, a nice wet scrub over the whole piece to achieve a consistent finish.
I decided to try Baldwin’s patina, made specifically for users of shakudo, etc. In chinese Wu Tong, you handle the piece for 3 days to form the patina. This metal will patina itself, a huge advantage considering any scratches will “heal” up on their own. I wanted to try the Baldwins, to see if it had advantages over the self patina.I used a Q tip and painted it on but I wasn’t able to get a consistent finish. I felt reasonably sure I had achieved an even finish with my prep so IF that was true (I’ll have to test that further) then it was my application method.
I consulted with my colleague Melissa Caraway (who does a lot more patination than I do) and she said that dipping produces much more even finishes than brushing. I had only bought a small bottle of Baldwins, so I would need to get more to retry. So, I heated the bracelet to remove all of the patina and decided to try the self patina. I’ll get more Baldwins and try dipping on the next project. I just left the bracelet at our front desk and we all handled it whenever we thought about it. Since it wasn’t getting continuous handling, I knew it would take longer than 3 days. It’s been a couple of weeks now. I should have taken a picture every day to show the continuum but I got distracted by other things.
The top picture is after one week and the bottom picture is after two weeks. I’m loving the patina so far but we will see what it looks like when it’s complete. Judging by it’s progress so far, I expect it will take a month or so more, but we will see. I love to experiment, there are tons of surprises. There are many sources online for exactly how to patina shakudo but to truly understand the process and be able to make choices that suit your design goals, you have to test, not just do what someone else did. That’s why we are always experimenting (besides that it is incredibly fun!), we want a deeper understanding of the why and how. Happy experimenting!