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"Simulating the crystalline look of hand worn brass"

September 14, 2016

Q. I have seen a crystalline look that brass developed over time from the handling, caused I assume from the oils in human skin. If you polish it, it's gone. Is there a quick process to duplicate this effect?

Mike Dunn
hobbyist - Rochester, New York USA

September 15, 2016

A. Whether you can expose the large crystalline structure depends on whether it is there in the first place.

Some brass castings, especially large ones which solidified slowly may have a large structure which you can make visible.

Others may not.

Try cleaning thoroughly with solvents or detergent, then soaking in dilute HCl, say 10%, for an hour or two. You will then likely see the granular structure which may be micro-fine or large.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

September 16, 2016

thumbs up signYes, I forgot to mention that I think it only occurs in the cast metal, but you knew what I'm talking about. I have some small parts that had a nice granular look that inadvertently polished away. I'll see if I can regain the look. Thanks!

Mike Dunn [returning]
- Rochester, New York USA

September 23, 2016

A. This is from the 1995 Metal Finishing Guidebook and Directory. It's by Nathaniel Hall.

Crystalized Brass or Bronze

Copper sulfate 8 oz
Ammonium Chloride 4 oz
Water 1 gal.

Use either cold or warm. After a crystallized effect has been obtained a dip in a sulfide solution will bring out the crystal effect distinctly.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York

September 27, 2016

thumbs up signDave,

Thanks for the reference and recipe. I'll give it a try.


Michael Dunn [returning]
- Rochester, New York USA

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