Heat Treating Bronze

I want the bronze to be coloured and I had my heart set on a red patina as I think this would draw attention to the form. Having done a fair amount of TIG welding however, I’m starting to really like the effect of heat treating the bronze to give more vivid colours. The experiments I have done with patina’s are not consistent enough to be able to patina 6 bowls as a series, heat treating would form a different effect, but there would be an obvious relationship between the bowls.

heat treat

I really love the orange colour radiating out from the grey edge. This is an effect that I want to achieve on the outside of the forms.  I just love how vivid the colours are, however I don’t think this is possible to achieve the intensity of these colours with patina’s. At least, I haven’t researched enough into patina’s to know how to do that. I’ve done a lot of research into the bowls and the focus of them is not to be on the surface decoration of the bonze and the pewter, it is to emphasize the two metals working together and the form that that takes. I therefore do not think I want to research a lot into patina’s at the moment as a) I don’t have time and b) the surface is not the intended focus.

I think it is also important to emphasize that this whole process is about the temperature differences between metals and using heat aloe to create the surface pattern speaks better of this than chemical patination would.

I have been researching into heat treating and have only really had luck with finding examples in steel. I did find one website (click here) that explained how to get a red patina on copper with the use of salt and, because bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. I want to see if this might work on the bronze so I’m going to test it.

I also found some advice on heat treatments temperatures for copper on another website (click here) which said the different temperatures of the flame to get different colours. Apparently, if you heat with the coolest part of the flame for a long time, it should bring out pink and red hues in the metal. All of this research was primarily for copper so I think I just need to go and experiment really.



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