View Full Version : problem with copper

10-23-2016, 11:12 AM
Hi everyone,
I recently bought a few Pieces of soft copper for drypoint, but i was suprised to find out the copper oxidized and get black from the touch of my hand, I checked in books and asked people but no one seem to be heard about it.
Is anyone know something about this problem?

Thanks in advance.

Moqui Steps
10-23-2016, 02:58 PM
Is the copper turning black or are you getting black marks on your hand?

You can clean and polish the copper with Brasso or Flitz before you work on it which will reduce the amount of oxidation that occurs.

10-23-2016, 03:03 PM
vinegar and salt - don't scrape it, just move it around -- don't leave it to long and the prior post works well also

10-24-2016, 03:34 AM
thanks both of you for reply,

Moqui Steps- the copper is turning black, I have tried using some "peek polish" before etching the plate and it slower the time of oxidation but it still Difficult to work with the black marks as they prevent you from seeing what you've etched.
Could the problem be in the copper itself and buying from another retailer fix it?

lovestofish- I'll try that

06-19-2017, 06:50 PM
Your problem may be the quality of the copper. I did some plates on roofing copper that I bought at a building supply store, the kind used for "flashing" when applying shingles. It is soft and can be bent with your hands. It also cuts easily with tin snips if you wish to adjust the edges or make irregular shapes. I don't recommend using it unless you want very few prints for your effort. Bitten lines hold up fairly well but drypoint wears down VERY quickly. If it were me, I would live with the blackening until ready to print and then clean the surface.

08-04-2017, 03:38 PM
Copper metal is very reactive and some people have such body chemistry that the sweat and grease from hands reacts fast with copper and produces black tarnish. The same applies to silver and other metals. In the past I did make jewellery in a semi-pro manner and some of the customers had silver rings tarnishing and wear out very fast, while others did not experience any such issues. It is all about the chemistry...

Some black tarnish doesn't cause any problems in printmaking. The plates will anyway tarnish and it is just a matter of time that how fast it happens. Just wipe the plate with fine polishing compound and degrease the plate before making the prints.