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Stove Top Method, Addendum
Article © MAIL User: MetaLinx

I must first credit Bative with the idea for coloring Stainless by heat. I tried his method and was reasonably pleased with the result I achieved. I was disconcerted by the difficulty involved, and by the risk of burning, as it required direct contact with the heating elements on an electric stove.

I wondered if there was a safer way to accomplish the same coloring, without the directness and difficulty. So I got out my cast-iron skillet, and heated that sucker up. Here is what I have discovered:

1. The skillet was a good idea. Using my favorite skillet (on which I had planned to keep cooking) was a bad idea. Use an old one, one you don't care about, or buy one new exclusively for this purpose. The high temperatures and lack of lubrication will cook off any curing you've got, and it will be subject to rust unless you immediately re-oil it after using.

2. Crank the stove or burner to HIGH and let the skillet sit for a while until any impurities (food, oils, etc.) on the surface have cooked off.

3. Make sure you have an exhaust vent above the stove, because it will smoke at first. A lot. It stops after a while. When it lets up, dump in the rings and spread them around.

4. Have a metal spatula or other device to stir loose rings around to make sure everything heats evenly. Don't use your fingers. It hurts.

5. (This may be a "Duh!", but here it is anyway) Have a heat resistant place to dump the rings ready for when you're done. Let them sit for a few minutes before trying to weave them. They need to cool.

6. Have a control item of plain (uncolored) stainless nearby so you can see the degree of change by comparison.

7. The process is much slower (5-10 minutes), much easier to control, and easier to get the degree of coloring you are looking for.

This method of coloring stainless is easier and safer than laying the work directly on the eye. I have achieved a very nice, consistent bronze-ish color, without burning either the rings or myself.

I have not experimented with a gas burner (either a gas stove or a "turkey cooker" type outdoor propane burner). It may be possible to overdo it and burn the rings (brown to black instead of bronze) over a gas flame, as I think it might get hotter, but again, I don't know.

Be safe! In this process, the materials and tools become extremely hot, and it will hurt you if you do not use your common sense and take precautions. Make sure you have adequate ventilation, too.

I hope this helps. I am having a good time seeing the effects of mixing and matching the colors in bracelets and chains, and having the materials still all stainless steel. I hope you will, too.
Original URL: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=164