Brass ageing 2024 update

In 2021, I decided to let some of my brass pens and pencils age and gain patina instead of constantly polishing them. I vaguely remember posting about this on Twitter and the older version of Knockology… I think.

I even applied a vinegar and salt bath to some of them to speed up the reaction. Here are the results after taking them out of the bath and storing them for about 2 years

Well, the results were mixed. On my Sakura Craft Lab 001, I actually didn’t have to do a thing. The brass just naturally ‘browned’ and stayed a bit shinier where my fingers gripped it, or where the grooves sat deeper in the twist knob. I gave it a quick buff at the nose and clip and it looked ‘right’ immediately.

The Kokuyo Orobianco 1.3mm pencil was different. The vinegar bath browned the shaft more thoroughly and really gave it an antique feel. As the grip was lightly knurled, the overall look was even and a light buffing added a bit of shine to the leading edges.

The PLOTTER twist pen… was terrible. No vinegar bath but the sharply knurled body picked up oxidation in uneven patches. The pen just looked terribly dirty and grimy. I had no choice but to apply some Autosol metal polish and use a wire brush to remedy the situation. The end result is as shown in these photos.

Lastly, we have the Manufactum ‘Druckbleistift Messing’. Has any obscure double knock been more ‘bait and switch’ with its catalog photos? :joy:

When I first opened the package, the gleaming finish of the upper body nearly seared my eyeballs. I had even tried using fine grit sand paper to give it a brushed look, but it was terribly uneven. In the end, I dunked it in the vinegar and salt bath and prayed for a beautiful miracle.

Curiously, only the lower section with the grip and nose turned out ‘right’. Somehow the brass composition on the upper half is not the same as on the Craft Lab or Orobianco. The acid left ugly splotches that stood out even more than the others. Oh well.