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|Copper weathervanes are commonly available in three finishes. Polished, natural, verdigris, and gold-leafed.|
Polished copper weathervanes are shiny and display tones of red, orange and pink. They have been either mechanically or chemically polished to expose a clean surface. A new penny is similar in appearance to a polished weathervane. These weathervanes are not treated with any protective coating. They will show smudges and hand marks from the oils on your skin shortly after being handled. If left outside in the elements they will naturally age. They are a good choice if you wish to display the weathervane indoors or let it age outdoors with a matching copper roof cupola. Polished copper weatherves are also prefered for use in gilding as it is a better surface for the gold leaf and its adhesive to bond with.
A Natural finish usually appears on hand made weathervanes. During the process of creating a weathervane the effects of handling, hammering and joining will produce a darker red finish, similar to a penny that has been in short circulation. It too will naturally age.
Verdigris, also known as "antiqued" or a "patina" finish is the result of a chemical application to the outer surface of the copper. It is meant to accelerate the aging process as well as provide a cosmetic green finish. Some of this green is a byproduct of the chemical process and wipes off revealing a dark copper underneath.
Gold Leaf is a wonderful way to dress up a weathervane. It is the only method we recommend for those who do not wish a verdigris weathervane. Gold's natural resistance to tarnishing ensures a shiny weathervane for 20 to 30 years or more. Prices for gilding vary by size and complexity of the weathervane. A quotation will be given to those interested.
With these choices in mind, please consider the natural aging process of all copper products when exposed to the elements. This natural process ultimately produces the green or verdigris finish. A good example is the Statue of Liberty.
Copper initially changes color to shades of orange and red until settling on a dark brown for a few years. The green patina first appears as dark olive and then lightens over time to a light blue green.
How long this process takes is largly based on moisture presence. Whether it's humidity or rain, the longer moisture is in contact with the copper's surface the faster it will develop a patina. Faster rates are found in climates with a greater exposure to rain and sulfur, while drier climates take longer. Under normal conditions, you can expect the process to begin within 3 to 6 months with shades of green appearing in roughly 5 years.
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