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Project by Muzhik posted 01-27-2007 12:33 AM 4795 views 8 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project is heavily influenced by the works of David Marks. I’ve learned much of what I know about woodworking from his TV show “Wood Works” that ran 6 seasons on DIY. I also had the good fortune and the opportunity to take a guilding and chemical patination class at his studio while I was working on this furniture.

I incorporated a fair amount of copper into this furniture. The wires for the A/V gear can be routed through holes I bored in the backsides of the schedule L copper pipe that I used as columns in the A/V racks. Those pipes were treated with a hot patina. The panels in the doors and drawer fronts are gilded with copper leaf and treated with a cold patina.

18 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5080 days

#1 posted 01-27-2007 02:22 AM

oh my goodness!!!
and that multi-something or other… table!! pretty darned amazing

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5096 days

#2 posted 01-27-2007 03:06 AM

Yes, Debbie, amazing is the correct word. I always look at the pictures before reading the detail. I was completely fooled. I thought the columns and panels were some exotic burled veneer. Would I really line this but it would definitely require a large space to show it to its best advantage.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5218 days

#3 posted 01-27-2007 04:58 AM

What a fantastic looking center, & great utilization of the table. The copper adds to its beauty.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View rookster's profile


67 posts in 5069 days

#4 posted 01-27-2007 05:04 AM

One word: wow!

-- Rookster, (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5246 days

#5 posted 01-27-2007 06:23 AM

Those copper panels are fantastic…. care to enlighten us to how you did the patina?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5058 days

#6 posted 01-27-2007 06:49 AM

The copper inlay panels are incredible. Would be very interested in hearing more about the patina process.


View Muzhik's profile


173 posts in 5057 days

#7 posted 01-27-2007 03:29 PM

DIY network has a great tutorial on their site regarding gilding and chemical patina patination. It is part of the pages tied to an episode of David Marks’ “Wood Works” show – in which he gilds and patinas panels for a folding screen. Here’s the link:,2049,DIY_14441_3372362,00.html":,2049,DIY_14441_3372362,00.html">,2049,DIY_14441_3372362,00.html

If you don’t have time to follow that link, the ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version is that the patina is accomplished using mild acid solutions, and the patterns are made with cheesecloth and/or wadded up tissue paper as the “transport mechanism” to hold the acids in contact with the bare copper leaf.

The panels start out as Masonite with two “slick” sides. I spray those with white-pigmented shellac (or the bullseye shellac “primer, the exact product name escapes me) as a primer coat. Then I pour on some red Japan paint, fairly thick, in a random pattern on one panel, and lay the mirror-image panel against it. I pull those apart, and wind up with what resembles a topographical map with red paint being little mountain ranges on the mostly still white panels. I wish I had taken more pictures of the process, because it isn’t easy to describe.

Once the red Japan paint is good and dry, I load up the sprayer with dark blue Japan paint, and spray the panels again with a few coats. After that dries, I’ll spray them again with a coat or two of dewaxed shellac. After the shellac dries, I carefully sand the panels. As I level the panels with sandpaper on a block of wood, some of the red will start to peek through in a nice veining pattern. When I’m satisfied with the amount of red that is peekign through the blue, I’ll clean them up and coat them again with a few coats of dewaxed shellac.

When that is dry, I get it nice and smooth with 600 grit-or-so sandpaper and move on to the notan gilding and chemical patina process that you can find linked above. No need to rewrite that. If you have any more specific questions, though, I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

When all is said and done, I wound up with these panels:


View bigpops0259's profile


320 posts in 5068 days

#8 posted 01-27-2007 04:42 PM

Very unique! you muct be very proud of it. Very nice project.

-- Marty Ohio

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5233 days

#9 posted 01-27-2007 07:53 PM

Masonite did you say masonite…I couldn’t get the is this a “painted” finish? Great work I love the different materials.

View Muzhik's profile


173 posts in 5057 days

#10 posted 01-27-2007 11:01 PM


Hmmm, sorry about the link not working. I just checked and it doesn’t work for me, either. I’ll try to fix that and repost the link.

Just in case, I’ll pick up where I left off. After the Japan paints are sealed on with dewaxed shellac, I get that as smooth as I can. I think I stopped at 600 grit on this one. The reason for that is that next I will gild the panels with copper leaf, which is way less than .001” thick. So thin, that it will highlight sanding scratches. To adhere the copper leaf to the panels, I use a special varnish called “size.” There are water-based and oil-based sizes. I’ve only used the oil-based. With the patina process, this is important, since the water-based acid solutions would dissolve water-based size. As I apply the copper leaf, I tear it here and there to create voids so that the Japan paint colors of the panels can show through. I’ll let the panels sit overnight for the size to set up.

To do the actual patina, I mix solutions of sodium sulfide and sulfurated. I can’t remember the ratios, but they’re on that page that I tried to link. I wad up some tissue paper, unfurl it and put it on the panels in random patterns. I then spray distilled water on the tissue paper. Some of the paper sticks directly to the copper, but where the wrinkles are, it isn’t in direct contact. I then spray the sodium sulfide solution onto the tissue paper and bare copper. It will quickly start to corrode the copper, especially where the tissue paper holds the acid right on the copper. When I’m satisfied with the color change, usually less than a minute later, I’ll remove the tissue paper quickly and blot the panel dry with paper towels to stop the reaction.

I then soak some cheesecloth in the sulfurated potash solution. I lay the cheesecloth across sections of the panels and let it sit for a short time. When I think the color has changed enough, I remove the cheesecloth and again blot the panels dry with paper towels to stop the reaction.

If there are still any spots of copper that I think are too bright, I will knock down the brightness by misting a little more sodium sulfide on them and blotting them dry. I let the panels sit in the sun for awhile to be sure they are good and dry before I seal them again with plenty of coats of dewaxed shellac. David Marks uses a vinyl sealer followed by lacquer, but I don’t have a spray booth, and it’s irresponsible (and illegal in CA) to spray lacquer without a proper booth.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5324 days

#11 posted 01-28-2007 02:37 PM

wonderful. I too am a David Marks fan. I emailed with him once when I got tired of seeing the same episodes run over and over on DIY. He wrote back that the show was on Haitus, and probably would not continue. After his email, I canceled the upgrade on our Satellite channels since the only thing I wanted on the upgrade had been the David Marks shows on DIY. Until DIY adds some new programming that interests me again, I’m “out.”

I get D.Marks’ email newsletter about once a month, and his patination class seems to move around the country at different venues, where for just a few dollars, a person can take the class.

I worked at plating shop for awhile a few years ago. There are some pretty interesting things a person can do with copper and chemicals.

Very nice project, original, and well executed. You know, they make smaller tv’s and speakers, which would mean you could build smaller furniture for it! Har, har.

loved it, thanks for posting,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Matt's profile


119 posts in 5335 days

#12 posted 02-07-2007 03:30 AM

really amazing!!!

-- Straight grains & sharp blades

View JGardner23's profile


24 posts in 4833 days

#13 posted 09-12-2007 04:29 AM

Really Beautiful. i love it all and you did a great job on the cooper panels.

-- Jason, Wood Working Has Taken Over My Life. And I Love It.

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 4955 days

#14 posted 09-12-2007 11:51 AM

Really nice!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View tinnman65's profile


1409 posts in 4333 days

#15 posted 02-01-2009 04:44 AM

I found this on roll the dice, and was very glad I did. Its some real nice work.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

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