Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aging Zinc


 I just realized that I didn't ever post on how we aged our zinc table top (see the topping a table with zinc post here)
 In this photo the new zinc is on the right.  It looks similar to stainless steel.  The piece on the left is after several coats of cupric sulfate solution.

 The cool thing about the zinc is that this isn't permanent. You can take 320 or 400 grit sandpaper to it and go all the way back to the shiny, original finish.
 The cupric sulfate is a blue color and it is a chemical.  You mix this with water.  The more water the less of a patina you get, but if you put it on straight with no water it turns almost black.
 This is the top of another table we did with one coat of solution brushed on.  You can rub it on with towel as well....
We let it sit overnight and then wipe it down with a wet towel.
 You can also roll it on with a paint roller or cover your table surface with saran wrap which puts some interesting texture in the patina....
This is several coats of patina applied over several days.
 These are some edge pieces that ran down the edges of the table base....
If you just put your zinc on something and do nothing to it;  it will age on it's own over time.  The company we buy our supplies from sells wax similar to butcher's wax and we use that to seal it up.  If your piece is going to get alot of heavy use the wax will eventually wear off, and then the patina will start to wear off as well.  If you notice  that it seems to be wearing off you can reapply the wax.  Anything acidic can take both the wax and patina off completely and it will be shiny again.    

40 comments:

  1. Wow - it looks gorgeous - thanks so much for sharing - great info to file -
    I have to try this one day:)

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  2. Hi! I have always wanted to do a zinc table top - so thanks for this tutorial. I also want to do my Master Bath with it as well - and age it. But my husband has to be convinced first - so the table will have to do the talking.

    Have you ever tried Amy Howard's products? She has an antique zinc product that you can put on any metal and it will make it look like patinated zinc. I've mnever tried it - but thought I'd pass along the info.

    Great project. Found you on MMS. I just put a project up there as well - it's called Creating an Heirloom.

    Hope you will pop over to my blog. I will follow you - hope you will follow me as well. My new blog website is http://www.thecolorfulbee.com

    Thanks,
    Linda

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  3. WoW! You and your husband make quite a team. Beautiful job.

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  4. So when you say "Anything acidic can take both the wax and patina off completely and it will be shiny again," does that mean that if you put this on a kitchen table, if someone spills ketchup or vinegar on it, you'll have a big bright shiny silver spot? Just trying to wrap my mind around this concept.

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    1. Tara I'm working on a little photo demo of this....to help explain it. The thing is you cannot "ruin" the zinc. It can always be taken back to the original finish. But I know what you're asking. I'm working on it so keep watching if you're interested in more info!

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    2. I have a glass mark on my zinc table looks white from sitting a bottle of vinegar on it can I use the cupric sulfate on the spot so it will match my table again?

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  5. My Husband and I own a refinishing company in NW Arkansas. We love especially recreating antiques in to more modern-meets-old works of art!! I'm soo excited to give this a shot, we've wanted to do it for months! What standard gage of zinc sheeting is acceptable for table tops? I'm seeing several on various supply websites.

    Thanks!

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    1. We used 20 gauge (30 thousands) for ours I'm not sure what other "big" companies are using that sell zinc topped tables. We just felt like it should be substantial enough to hold up to some hard abuse if it's a table top. Hope that helps! I like modern-meets-old....that 's my kind of style!

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  6. Love this series of posts! I'm definitely going to try this with my old coffee table. What kind of wax did you use for the waxing/sealing process, and how did you apply it? Thanks!

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    1. We used a wax that Rotometals sells however I have read that you can use butchers' wax too. And we applied with a clean lint free cloth....good luck!

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  7. I'm so glad I found your blog and I can't wait to do this project! I'm having a hard time finding zinc sheets like the one you used. Any suggestions on where I can find that? Thanks!

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  8. I am so glad I found your blog! And I can't wait to get started on this project! Where did you find the sheets of zinc? I'm having a hard time...

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    1. Thanks Kim---it's a fun project with a big WOW factor for sure! We purchase from rotometals.com we used the 20 gauge or (30 thousands) for all of our zinc projects and have been really happy with it. We also purchased all of our aging chemicals and wax from there too. They sell the zinc in thinner gauges which is of course cheaper and bends more easily.

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  9. Hello there! I have refereed to your post countless times in the past few months. We are in the process of building our table which will have a galvanized metal top. We choose Galvanized because it was something we could pick up locally and for just $70. As I understand galvanized is steel with a zinc coating so it should wear like zinc? Do you know if this is true? Do you know if I could use the same cupric acid that you used to get a similar patina? What do you seal your table tops with to make them food safe? The finishing of the metal is the nerve racking part, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. Thanks Danielle! I figured something was going on ---that set of posts is getting a lot of views lately!!! Galvanized is cheaper. It 's harder than the zinc so it's more difficult to bend. And I'm not sure about the cupric sulfate working to patina that. We used a combination of bleach and hydrogen peroxide to age some galvanized for a friends store counter tops. Zinc itself is naturally food safe. I'm not sure about doing that for the galvanized. You could wax it, or spray it with a clear coat. I take it this is a dining room table? If it is going to be getting a lot of wear you would need to check that often to reapply it. I'm going to refer this question to my husband and I'll get back to you if he gives me anything more in the way of advice!

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  10. Hey Rachel! Thanks for the reply! We had to take about a month break on the table but we are determined to finish this week, I will have to send you a pic once its 100%. The local shop where we bought the galvanized said that it is a stainless core with zinc exterior, so I am hoping that it will patina in the same way that yours has. I think I will call Rotometals on Monday and ask their option before I order the cupric acid and wax, they were very helpful last time I called. I might try the bleach and hydro peroxide as well on a scrap piece. This table won't get getting overly heavy usage, not as much usage as counter top that is, and yes dinning table. Hearing you say that the galvanized is harder even though it is still a 20 gauge makes so much seems, my husband really had to beat it with a heavy mallet to get it to bend.

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    1. I would love to see a photo when it's done! That post seemed to take on a life of it's own which we never dreamed when we posted it. It's been fun to see people comment on it and pass it around....

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  11. So I blew up your analytics a few weeks ago? Well I don't think it was just me, I have been noticing more and more repins of your work. Plus there is not a lot of other info about this process, so thanks for the insight. My husband is still convinced I find our projects on ihatemyhusband.com and not pinterest. Thanks again!

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  12. Hi Rachel!

    Do you think you can use Annie Sloan's clear wax on a zinc top table? Or does it have to be a special type of wax?

    Thanks!
    Traci

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    1. Traci Sorry it took me awhile to respond we've had some sick kiddos at our house this week so things were a little crazy :) I wouldn't think that wax would work on metal. The place we buy our supplies from (Roto metals) sells a wax or they also suggest butcher's wax (you can buy this at Lowe's or Home Depot) for a finish.

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  13. Dear Rachel,
    I was just referred to you by RotoMetals and I LOVE your blog! And I love your quote at the bottom of the page!
    I was just curious as to the thickness you used for the zinc. Was it .030 or .027?
    Great post!!!

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  14. Tami~ Thanks so much I haven't been blogging as much since my son started school. And our Etsy shop has been busy too so I have all kinds of photos for posts but no time right now ! We used the .030 for this project it is thick but still pliable. Thanks for the kind words...

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  15. Hi there.

    You may be pleased to learn that our zinc table topping posts have crossed the Atlantic and inspired me to lay 5m of zinc over my new kitchen work surfaces. (in a converted artist's studio in Cornwall.) I'm really pleased with the results - though they're not as well-finished as yours. Regarding the use of the copper sulphate - what concentration did you use for the effects shown above?

    Many thanks,

    Colin

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    1. So cool! I'd love to see some photos...That was many (maybe 5?) layers of a diluted copper sulfate solution. Probably 1/2 and 1/2 of water and cs. Good for you...we would love to do our kitchen counters. Thanks so much for sharing Colin.

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  16. Sorry, typo: when I said "our zinc table topping posts" I meant to type "your zinc table topping posts"!

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  17. Hi! We've been working with the cupric sulfate for days now. We'll put a coat on and it turns blue. What can we do to stop this? Help! Thanks!!

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    1. Susan, Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you. Not sure what could be causing the blue color, we have never experienced that. Are you applying it to 100% pure zinc? I only ask because some people call galvanized steel, zinc because it is plated with a zinc coating and it may not react the same way. Also are you diluting the cupric sulfate? If you are applying it at full strength it will be very dark. If you ordered it from rotometals I would contact them also and see what they have to say. Let us know what you find out!

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  18. Hello, I love the look of your zinc table. That is what I originally wanted when I ordered a zinc top table from SDS Designs in Florida. I requested the zinc have nice sheen to it. I even sent a photo. When I received the table the zinc is a flat, dull, gray color. Almost looks like concrete. SDS Designs says there is nothing I can do to shine it up. They also said their zinc does not come shiny so I can't shine it up. I'm now wondering if this is even pure zinc. Isn't all zinc shiny when brand new? I can send you a photo of the table if that would help with any advice you can give me. I am so dissapointed in this table because it was not inexpensive and SDS Designs is not responding with any helpful information. Thank you for any advice you can give me.

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    1. Erin So sorry to hear this. We have no knowledge or experience with the company you mentioned so we couldn't really tell you whether or not it was pure zinc. We waxed ours which gave it a nice sheen without being glossy or dull. The zinc we purchased was shiny and even came with a protective plastic that has to be peeled off (it protects the shine). And yes with ours you can always go back to the original shinier silver tone by using scotch brite. Some metals are zinc coated but that is different from pure zinc. You could try maybe in an inconspicuous spot to wax it with Butcher's wax to see what it would do. That is food safe and you can use it to wax zinc to give it a nice sheen. Other than that we wouldn't know what to tell you. Good luck!

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    2. Thank you! I will try the Butcher's wax idea.

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  19. hi. love your post! i want to do this as well.

    where can i get the formula from?

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  20. If you are looking for "the juice" to patina your zinc search cupric sulfate. Also search out High Falls Furniture Company (hffcom) on youtube. He sells the concentrate on ebay.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=hffcom&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhffcom.TRS0&_nkw=hffcom&_sacat=0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkQb3BEKAes

    http://www.highfallsfurniture.com/

    Roto Metals is an excellent source for all things Zinc, check them out. Nice videos on youtube as well.

    I used .027 on my kitchen counters with the pre-applied dark patina from Roto. Also I did nothing to "seal" them. I think the worn look has a nice story to tell, it suits my particular lifestyle and home-style perfectly. Oh, I also glued a sheet from floor to vent behind my kitchen range and the backsplashes as well from counter top to the upper cabinets.

    I subscribe to the notion that zinc is a living material, it changes over the course of time...stains here and there, spots as well. I like that, some may not. Steps can be taken to "seal" it to guard against changes but then maybe you should be using formica instead.

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  21. If you are looking for "the juice" to patina your zinc search cupric sulfate. Also search out High Falls Furniture Company (hffcom) on youtube. He sells the concentrate on ebay.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=hffcom&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhffcom.TRS0&_nkw=hffcom&_sacat=0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkQb3BEKAes

    http://www.highfallsfurniture.com/

    Roto Metals is an excellent source for all things Zinc, check them out. Nice videos on youtube as well.

    I used .027 on my kitchen counters with the pre-applied dark patina from Roto. Also I did nothing to "seal" them. I think the worn look has a nice story to tell, it suits my particular lifestyle and home-style perfectly. Oh, I also glued a sheet from floor to vent behind my kitchen range and the backsplashes as well from counter top to the upper cabinets.

    I subscribe to the notion that zinc is a living material, it changes over the course of time...stains here and there, spots as well. I like that, some may not. Steps can be taken to "seal" it to guard against changes but then maybe you should be using formica instead.

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  22. Thank you so much for sharing! I was looking for ideas of how to top tables with metal! This would be perfect for the tables at our elementary school MakerSpace, and would probably stand the test of time and kids! A family built amazing, rolling, wooden work tables for us, and since they have unfinished surfaces, we get to be creative with the end results. Appreciate the tips!

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  23. I purchased zinc from Roto metals and am making a countertop for my 100 ish yr old farmhouse. I love the changing patina of zinc. I have not done the patina process yet and am considering the Roto metals product or the Amy Howard Patina product. My question is - If I do not use wax or seal it wouldn't this be bad if food comes in contact with the patina products? I plan to use a cutting board but still a bit concerned about food safety. I am not sure that Roto Metals sealer is food safe. They say it is but ???? Any thoughts? Thanks for this very helpful and inspiring post. Many Blessings to you and your family.

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  24. that is exactly the look i am going for with my kitchen table. i am assuming that the cupric sulfate is not safe to have food on, and i have 2 small kids that eat at this table. should i use a sealer after the solution is applied and the patina is achieved?

    ReplyDelete
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