Monday, June 26, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 6) Time will tell

The vinegar-salt mix was applied to the copper sheeting three days ago. It has dried thoroughly and the excess salt grains have been gently brushed off. It also got a blast with canned air. The copper is still a bit light, but if the test piece is an accurate guide, it will darken in the next several days.  I like the light green verdigris. It may darken a bit as well. For now I'll leave it alone. Eventually it will be dry brushed with various shades of craft paint, which will add to the age.

There are a couple of shiny copper spots where I think there may have been some glue that didn't get wiped off completely. They are not big and may darken on their own. Time will tell. 

It is not very clear in these photos, but the greenish verdigris is very near in value to the green of the shingles. When both are aged, I believe the copper roof and shingled roof areas will complement one another. 

Notice the tower roof unit resting on top of the tabs. There doesn't seem to be any hope of getting them to fit together. I believe the tabs will have to be cut off.  Haven't decided whether to add some bits of stripwood beneath the roof unit to keep it from sliding sideways or use magnets to hold it in place. I'm thinking having it remain removable may be useful down the road. 

The window unit is not glued. It needs to be caulked and painted and won't be installed until the aging process is completed.

I should probably continue working on the exterior of the house, but the staircase is calling out to me. I want to replace the flat bannisters that came with the house with round spindles for a more delicate, refined appearance. The redesigned units will still be removable. Which way will I turn? Stay tuned!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 5) Aging the Copper Panels

Before applying the aging mix, the copper was cleaned with a window cleaner containing ammonia. The half-and-half salt and white distilled vinegar mix was painted on the copper panels, taking care not to let is drip. The salt did not dissolve, as is evident in the photo. The salt grains will turn greenish blue to become the smoke-and-mirrors iteration of verdigris.  (Click photos for larger image.)

On line discussion indicates that humidity will enhance the aging process, to the tower roof has been tented, taking care not to let the plastic touch the copper areas.

Coming soon, the Great Reveal! ♫♪♬

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 4) Installation of Copper Panels

The copper panels are glued in place. The photos show the sequence. The panels are paper backed. I dotted Aileen's Tacky Glue on the roof and pressed the panel in place with a pad of toweling, my fingers and a burnisher (seen at right).

The trickiest panel was the front, as it had to be gently worked behind the window sill.  I don't think I mentioned earlier that these adhesive-backed copper sheets are made for copper foil stained glass projects.They are a sturdy 1.25 mil thickness able to take the rubbing and pressing. If it were any thinner, I'm afraid there would be danger of tearing.

I placed the tower roof on the house to dry overnight. I'm planning to use the salt/vinegar aging mix and will tent it with a plastic bag, so I want to be sure the glue is dry or at least well set before subjecting it to the humidity. 

The shiny copper is a bold presence. The lighting was not the best for the photo, but you can get an idea of how it will work with the green shingles on the lower mansard roof bits when it takes on its own veil of green. 

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 3-a) More Verdigris Testing

Several days have passed since the first salt/vinegar test patch was made. I wasn't too excited about it at first, but as it has developed, I'm liking it more and more. The undissolved grains of salt have formed some nice bits of verdigris, and the background, which I first judged as being too pinkish, has deepened in color.

The bit on the left is the salt/vinegar test. The darker sample on the right is the result of a test with bleach. The bleach aged the copper to the dullish brown found on naturally aged copper but did not produce any verdigris. I'm sharing it here in the spirit of science.

For comparison, here is a photo of the salt/vinegar mix after about one day. Notice how the background has darkened and the patches of verdigris have developed.

I am leaning toward the salt/vinegar mix. I'm going to glue the panels in place on the tower roof while I think about it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 3) Verdigris Tests

Here are the results of the first round of testing finishing techniques for the copper roofing material. The raw copper sheeting is way too shiny. A darker shade of copper, like the oxidation that occurs naturally -- think the brownish look of older copper pipes -- would be much better, as well as the introduction of some of the green verdigris, which forms in humid climates. [Fun fact: research revealed that Verdigris isn't just a color change; it is a compound formed on the surface of the copper and can be scraped off. The resulting powder can be mixed with oils to form a unique shade of blue-green that some artists use in painting.]

Two aging methods were used in the first test session. The first uses a half-and-half mix of salt and white vinegar. Several web sites suggested using non-iodized salt and some suggested adding ammonia, but I didn't have either one on hand, and not wanting to venture out into the sauna that is New Orleans in the summer, I used what I had. The second method tested uses Tabasco sauce. Every New Orleans kitchen has a supply of Tabasco sauce.

Yet another website recommended urine for aging, but that is so not going to happen.

Here's a photo of the overnight test lab. Humidity was recommended as a way to enhance the process, so a twist of paper toweling in water was included under the tent, which is a piece of plastic grocery bag. The Tabasco test at upper left was not tented. A relatively big puddle formed and I figured it would take all night to evaporate; I was right. (Click the pictures for a closer view.)

Below is the original test piece, which was first wiped down with a bit of window cleaner with ammonia to remove any oils that would interfere with the aging process.The section to the right was painted with the salt/vinegar mix. The first application dried rather quickly. It received another coat before installing the plastic tent. The result: it has formed a few grains of verdigris, but mainly turned the copper surface dull and pinkish. I'm not loving the look, but I'll keep an eye on it to see if there are further changes as it dries.

A member of the Greenleaf Dollhouse Forum suggested I soak a piece of paper toweling in the salt/vinegar mix and leave it on the copper to see what would happen. When I took it off this morning, some of the verdigris stayed on the copper, but much of it pulled away, having soaked into the toweling. Maybe if the toweling were not quite as wet, more would stick to the copper? This needs more experimentation.

Here is the most intriguing test result: the Tabasco sauce. The right side shows the lovely deep green verdigris that formed. It is relatively thick, as thick as the original puddle. As far as I can tell, the copper turned the sauce green. The oval fingerprint shape is where I touched it. That bit was still wet and it pulled away very easily. Where the edges are dry, the verdigris clings very well. The left side of the test piece was lightly coated with sauce on a cotton swab. It has darkened somewhat without turning green. The bit in the middle is the untested copper. 

Of the tests done so far, I'm leaning toward the Tabasco sauce. It is mainly vinegar and salt with hot peppers, so why wouldn't it work? Used sparingly, it can take the edge off of the shininess, and used more heavily along the seams, in corners, etc., it will turn that lovely green color. And once dry, it clings very well, so I can lay the panels flat to age them and let gravity do the puddling. Will the left side continue to darken? Only time will tell.

The plan is to let all of these tests age for a while to see if there are additional changes. Meanwhile, I believe I'll go add a large bottle of Tabasco to the shopping list. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 2)

Well, six months later ... the Beacon Hill has been calling out, and today I got back to work.

I went with my initial thought, to use string to form the standing seams in the copper roof panels. I made templates with graph paper, the easier to space the seams and keep them straight, and used the all-purpose white string in the kitchen drawer. They're glued with Aileen's tacky glue.

I placed the template on the sticky side of the copper sheet and gently rubbed it out smooth with my fingers. I then turned it over, trimmed away the excess copper, and used a burnishing tool to smooth out the wrinkles and enhance the "seams".  I'm pleased with the result.

In the photo below, the panel is not pushed in all the way. I'm going to keep the panels loose until I figure out how they will be aged. Some of the aging may be easier to do it I can lay them flat. The white boards at the top will be painted black.

The next step is aging the copper. No way can it stay this shiny! I'm open to suggestions as to what methods to try. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Something Creepy at the Haunted Hangout

Today I was showing a visitor my miniatures. When I looked into the living room of the Haunted Hangout, I spotted a mini visitor. I've never seen this little sweetheart before. I have no idea where she came from. I phoned two friends and my sister, who I thought might have planted her there. They swear innocence.

I'm stumped. I can't think of any other repeat visitors who might be likely culprits.