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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


Copper sealant to prevent oxidation and maintain appearance

Q. At the hotel I work at we have decorative copper sheets that line most of the facing of our front desk. Being in an area that has decent humidity as well as lots of little hands touching them they are constantly being polished. We are looking for a sealant which may be applied that will prevent any further oxidation as well as maintain the true appearance of the copper.

Jason W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Branson, Missouri, United States

Q. Did you find a solution to the problem of sealing the copper? I am now facing the same issue on a surface at my home. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Alaina D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Mooresville, North Carolina

A. Hi. brass lacquer [on eBay or Amazon affil links] is made for exactly that purpose, and is designed to be easily removable with acetone [on eBay or Amazon affil links] or lacquer thinner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] for periodic rebuffing if necessary. Lacquer specialists include G.J. Nikolas [a supporting advertiser]. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. I've done a lot of copper ware and cladding over the years and a good finish has always been tough to do. I have found that a lacquer finish is best for durability and can be stripped easily to refinish. I use a brand name called Permalac [adv: Permalac on eBay], it works well for interior and exterior applications, best application method is to spray but it can be brushed. Waxing works but not in high humidity.For interior uses only you can use shellac, either by crystal form and making your own finish or buying it ready to use. Shellac has been used to seal and color metals for a very long time naturally. best of luck

Bernard Shelton
- Clarkdale, Arizona
September 2, 2008

A. I was lucky enough to go to Alchimia [jewelry school] in Italy for two weeks. To seal jewelry they said to use the clear spray for CARS. Go to a shop that sells paint for cars (do it yourself) and buy a can of the best clear spray. I have used it on green copper patina, and like the results. I think Alchimia should know what the long term results are, and they recommend the product.

Roxy Lentz
- Clarksville Indiana USA
January 17, 2011

Sealing regrained Brass Building letters

Q. I have a job at a major university with a task of regraining brass building letters not sure of what product to seal brass when done to retain shinny appearance ?

Robin Light
- Syracuse New York USA
June 30, 2017

A. Hi Robin. I'd probably go with brass lacquer since it's made for the purpose and is relatively easy to remove if your first try doesn't go swimmingly. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 2017

January 21, 2018

Q. I have an old copper plate from USGS to make a map. I want to carefully ink the lines, then coat the entire sheet (2.5" x 4") to use as a table top. Thoughts on what would be the strongest coating I can put on it? what is the easiest way to coat such a large surface without bubbles? What if later I want to remove and resurface, is there any risk to damaging the surface with any of the lacquer or sealant removers? thanks.

D Matten
- Clifton, Virginia, USA
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