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Old 03-25-2015, 02:59 PM
ElMoonlightDrummer ElMoonlightDrummer is offline
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Default Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Hi Friends,

Has anyone here successfully been able to age the finish on newer cymbals? I have a few newer Zildjian A and Sabian cymbals, probably 90's, that I removed the logos from, but I would really like to make them look aged. I don't care about value, since I have no intention of getting rid of these cymbals, but would soaking them in vinegar work? Sanding them and leaving in water? Something else? Let me know your ideas and/or successes.

Thanks,

Aaron
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:30 PM
orangemi orangemi is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Vinegar and salt is actually a cleaning solution for brass.

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Old 03-25-2015, 04:54 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Do not sand them. And beware the over simplified methods which you may find on the web. The Spizzichino vat is legendary! Thanks orangemi.

Yes, I have successfully used vinegar and salt to take the shine off cymbals. It is a mild acid and it acts as either a cleaning agent or a patina generating solution depending on how you use it. This is the basic difference between a list of ingredients and a full recipe which includes the method. I've used other ingredients and recipes as well as part of my experimentation. Note that it is oxidation which does the work so you don't just put them in a bath of some solution to get patina. You have to bring them in and out so they have contact with air.

Here is a tried and true recipe thanks to Craig Lauritsen. His formula is vinegar, lemon juice and salt (roughly a teaspoon per 50 ml), with red wine and or port (more will make a browner colored patina). The addition of a little black tea will also give a browner finish.
  • Clean the cymbal vigorously with the patina agent and a rag and let it dry.
  • Then spray on the patina solution and use a small roller to get a nice even coat.
  • Let it dry and reapply. The trick is to spray on the correct amount of patina. Too wet and it will drip or build up in some areas and create a less even finish. Too dry and air bubbles will form from the roller and create a less even finish.
  • After the solution has dried again, it may be necessary to do another application if there are coloration differences due to evenness.
  • Once the patina is as pronounced as I want it (2 - 5 days, depending on heat and whether I can let it sit in the sun for a day or two), I clean the cymbal with a vinegar soaked rag and then rinse with water.

This gets you this sort of look on a brand new cymbal when you take it far enough:



It takes patience to do the number of "apply and dry" iterations required to get this level of effect. In my experiments I've put on, removed, and put back on a number of different patina styles on a "sacrificial" Chinese (Dream) B20 crash. I've even put a patina on half so I could compare the two sides. All in the name of patina science. Note this isn't the cymbal pictured above.
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Last edited by zenstat; 03-25-2015 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:08 PM
orangemi orangemi is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

That's impressive! How does it hold up to stick wear?
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:28 PM
Slingalud Slingalud is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Bury the cymbals under 4 or 5" of soil that's not dead for just two to three weeks. The location has to be alive and able to grow more than parking lot weeds.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:36 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangemi View Post
That's impressive! How does it hold up to stick wear?
No problem with stick wear.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:38 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slingalud View Post
Bury the cymbals under 4 or 5" of soil that's not dead for just two to three weeks. The location has to be alive and able to grow more than parking lot weeds.
Have you personally done this?

Burying is a technique I haven't tried, although I do have an 18" trans stamp which was found buried in a field in Idaho. But that gives no before/after comparison.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:33 PM
King Louie King Louie is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

I have used a combination of salt and lemon juice. Heat the mixture a little bit to dissolve the salt then add to the cymbal. Leave it for a day or two, it'll crust up and turn the color of old copper. Then wash off the crust with water and re-apply.

Other option is to just polish your cymbals constantly with some Bar Keeper's Friend to remove the clear coat then do the patina mixture.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:34 PM
ElMoonlightDrummer ElMoonlightDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Thanks for the info, everyone. I also found online that methods with ammonia will do it. I'm not really looking for a whole lot of "patina" per se...just more interested in less shine and more dull with maybe a hint of uniform darkening. I'll probably just leave them as is.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:25 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Aging Cymbals...Removing Shine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElMoonlightDrummer View Post
Thanks for the info, everyone. I also found online that methods with ammonia will do it. I'm not really looking for a whole lot of "patina" per se...just more interested in less shine and more dull with maybe a hint of uniform darkening. I'll probably just leave them as is.
Ammonia for B20 cymbal bronze? Ammonia is generally a no-no for B20 bronze. The ammonia is one of the problematic things about Brasso and similar (the other being abrasive ingredients). You want to stay away from those, especially if you really just want a hint of uniform darkening. Ammonia tends to turn the surface black.

Were you searching generally for getting an aged look on brass or other metals? This is precisely the sort of thing I was warning about, although I didn't specifically give a warning that B20 bronze is not brass or copper or all sorts of other metals.

The other thing which King Louie mentioned (and I forgot to say) is that if the cymbals have a clear coat then you need to chemically strip that before you can get to the surface of the bronze to do anything. BKF might do a good job of that. I haven't used it. I presumed that you would have taken the clear off as part of removing the logos. I'm not even sure which brands have clear coat in which years. But if the logos came off then you can probably compare that area with another area of the surface. What did you use to remove the logos? (not to start a whole new topic)

Brought to you in the interests of better kitchen chemistry.
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Last edited by zenstat; 03-25-2015 at 08:29 PM.
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