How to Blacken Oxide Brass

Written by william vogel
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How to Blacken Oxide Brass
The blackening of brass is a simple use of a complex chemical process. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Black oxide conversion coatings are widely used in automotive, appliance, machine tool and metal forming industries but can also be utilised to add a different or renewed feeling to any household brass object. It is a conversion coating formed by a chemical reaction with iron in the metal to form an integral protective surface called a patina.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Brass
  • Laqure thinner
  • Darkening agent
  • Distilled water
  • Goggles
  • Chemical gloves

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  1. 1

    Strip any lacquer or protective coating that may already be on the Brass with either acetone or a lacquer thinner. Goggles, chemical gloves and proper ventilation are necessary throughout the entire process.

  2. 2

    Rinse the brass object in distilled water.

  3. 3

    Apply the darkening agent to the brass object by either submerging the object in the agent or by painting it on with a brush. Selenium dioxide, or liver of sulphur, is a chemical solution that is typically used by restoration professionals. More commercial products include Birchwood-Casey or Brasso. The Amount of time the chemical is allowed contact with the brass determines the darkness of the patina.

  4. 4

    Rinse again in distilled water to stop the chemical reaction.

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