sealing copper viking knit?
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Joined: June 16, 2014
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sealing copper viking knit?
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Posted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:46 pm
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Man, I've been lurking here for a LONG time. Guess it's finally time to break the silence! So, I am in need of opinions/suggestions!

Here's the set up; I have a customer who recently purchased a custom V.K. piece from me. I wove it with my personal favorite metal; copper. Coated copper, but copper none-the-less. As it turns out, we've come to the conclusion that he's working on developing the super-power of spitting acid. Apparently he's got an acidic enough pH to cause the his skin to patina where it's in contact with the metal. Of course I know about green skin from nickel, but it never occurred to me that copper could cause the same issue. I've been doing some reading, and it's not particularly common, nor is it harmful, but it's not exactly desirable either. This brought up an issue I'd like to be able to nip in the bud, so to speak. (it's been resolved with him, fortunately.)

That being the case, I've been researching sealants, and the only one I've seen really recommended for long term sealing is 'Midas Finish Seal Laquer.' My concern is that the knit will not be as flexible once it's been sealed. I contacted them directly to ask, and they weren't able to give me definitive information other than suggesting I play around with the sealant-to-water-ratio, which I'm concerned will dilute it too much and thus defeat the purpose.

So, my question; Do any of you wonderful weavers/maillers have experience with sealing viking knit? What do you use? Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I'm trying to avoid wax, as I'm looking for something with a bit more stay power than that.

I will most likely be ordering the product to test it out, and will post my results here, once I have some to share.

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Posted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:06 pm
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Copper causing a skin reaction is fairly common. It's not dangerous, but sweat/moisture/salts can cause copper to oxidize, and some people just have a way of reacting to metals that isn't exactly desirable. Very Happy

There are some coated copper wires, but working with wire tends to stretch/weaken/break these coatings. I'm not familiar with any copper coatings that prevent reactions. Maybe someone else is?

Anyway, I would recommend trying to talk customers who are reactive to certain metals to consider buying jewelery made of silver, gold-filled, or gold wire. They are likely to have a much better experience with these metals than with copper. This article: Metal Allergies is a good read.


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Posted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:10 am
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I've never used it on maille or Viking knit, so I don't know if it would negatively affect the flexibility of such pieces, but I have used a spray fixative (you can find it at most any art/craft supply stores; it's mostly used as a protective spray on charcoal/pastel drawings) on copper wire-work before to prevent (or seal in) tarnish and it has worked fairly well. If you try it, I'd test it on a small practice piece first.


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Posted on Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:52 pm
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Depending on what you made, I definitely would think flexibility of the sealant would be an issue.

For the "Mithril" shirt in the LOTR movies they sealed mail by misting it with the sealant, letting it dry, shaking the piece, and adding another misted layer. I believe they were using pearl coat automotive paint.

For Viking knit... it seems to me it would be very hard to get the coating everywhere it needs to be without gluing the wire to itself. How tightly do you draw the knit down? You could always try misting it, dry, flex it, repeat... slowly work up a layer.

Alternately, try coating the wire before knitting. A good deal may rub off in the knitting and drawing, but would mean a light re-coat on the finished piece would be more effective.


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Thanks!
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Posted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:44 am
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Thank you all for the awesome responses! The input is greatly appreciated Very Happy this customer is pretty bad ass, and has decided that he likes it the way that it is regardless of the skin reaction, so fortunately I have time to experiment. Speaking of, I'm sorry it took me so long to give my thanks. I've been playing with resin rather than metal over the past few weeks.

Lorraine - thanks for the link! It was a great read. What's interesting is that this was a coated copper wire and the coating stayed solid, but he still had the reaction. No patina on it. I think he's just super sensitive. I did recommend that the next piece he orders, we do out of silver if it's V.K. and aluminum if it's chain maille. He's cool with that, fortunately! I think he's also willing to be my guinea pig for when I have a solution to the sealant issue. haha.

Nárrína - I didn't even think of that. I considered modge podge (sp), but I was thinking about the paste. I will have to give it a shot.

Chain_maile - You're on the money. Exactly what I'm concerned about. Some of my pieces are drawn down as far as humanly possible, others are left fairly loose including the one in question. I think both you and Nárrína have the right idea with misting. The product I was looking at is more of a dipping process, which would definitely do the undesired gluing. I'm in question of whether coating it prior to knitting would be effective but...it's worth a shot!

I've got new stuff to play with...*evil laugh*

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Posted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:10 pm
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I knwo that the Japanese coated their maille with lacquer. I don't have links handy, but that may be something worth looking into. Obviously it had to withstand the wearer moving around (not much use in armor that doesn't move), so they had to come up with some solution to it.

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