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topic 5995

Patination of Nickel Silver


Hi, All!

I am trying to patinate polished 18% Nickel Silver - hard to a color approximating case hardened steel -- deep bronze with shades of blue mottling -- as is commonly seen on older firearms. The only way that I have come up with, that was durable, involved too much heat and took the hardness out of the metal. I know how to get blue chrome and black chrome looks but this one has eluded me. This is for fly rod reel seats, and similar components.

Thanks for all your help!

Jojo DeLancier
- Conway, Arkansas


18% nickel silver, A 65 Cu, 17 Zn, 18 Ni, B, 55 Cu, 27 Zn, 18 Ni. Both contain less than 85% Cu, for these alloys, try a hot solution of copper carbonate, ammonium hydroxide, with excess copper carbonate for blue black.

tom pullizzi portrait
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania


I also make bamboo fishing rods (as a hobby) and am having some difficulty blacking large ferrules made of N/Silver.

Brushed on N/Silver cold chemicals are uneven and/or rinse off in patches under cold water. When dipped they tend to also be uneven this is after being carefully sanded and polished with 8000 paper and not touched at all.

Best results so far are dipping in a British made - Metal Black for Aluminium (?) The deep even grey colour built up slowly and stayed put through rinsing and drying. It is finger nail scratch resistant .I dipped it then in dilute clock maker lacquer and all is well. Trouble is that the blacking chemical loses it power after only being used three or four times on small components and its silly getting it shipped all the way here. I was therefore interested in the chemical formula that was suggested. What are the proportions of them suitable for home use. Any other suggestions would be very gratefully accepted.

Malcolm Cullen
- Toronto, Canada

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