Repairing a copper top table

Diane Goldsmith
by Diane Goldsmith
This large coffee table has a copper top finish, like a veneer [or leaf copper], and it is crinkled not smooth. It used to be covered with glass. It has gotten dirty and worn. Any ideas on how to refinish, clean and repair torn places? Thank you
  5 answers
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Apr 22, 2015
    @Diane Goldsmith this looks very similar to a paper bag finish, I have done this to a couple of pieces - You could consider refinishing in a similar fashion - the colour of stain you use can influence the finished look. I always thought it looked like weathered leather or cork. Very easy to do and quick. You could also consider a light sanding and restaining followed by a number of coats of polyurethane.
  • PainterNoni PainterNoni on Apr 23, 2015
    maybe use modern masters copper reactive paint, then use blue or green patima solution. This would make any torn pieces invisable, Then use some kind of protective finish over it.
  • Mary Ker Mary Ker on Apr 23, 2015
    Soap and water and a scrub brush will get it clean. Then you may want to deal with where chemical reactions have changed the color of copper surface. You will need to decide if you want to return it to a bright copper penny look, or one of the many colored patinas copper can take on. What you do may depend on what sort of protective finish was on it originally...that may need to be stripped. Hometalk is great, but for this problem I would find a metalworkers forum and ask for advice there.
  • Grouchy Grouchy on Apr 23, 2015
    There are a number of chemicals available that can turn copper different colors. I'd suggest googling "copper patina" and see what you come up with. I used to buy them from a company called, I believe "copper solutions" in S. California. They had formulas to turn copper based metals such colors as brown (like yours), shades of blue, yellow, orange, green, etc. There might be other companies offering them by now. I was using them to cover my copper lamps but that was 20 years ago. There are also "paints" that have copper in them that are used to finish new copper roofs to turn them the oxidized blue. I'd suggest using fine steel wool pre-oxidizing it. There are solutions available to remove the oxidized coatings too but the one I used is a dip liquid (I still have it in a 5 gal. plastic bucket.) It works great! Also, I hope your table top isn't wrinkled due to being very thin (foil glued down with the glue failed) because it would be hard to glue back down. Good luck!
  • Glenna Kerker Glenna Kerker on Apr 24, 2015
    If you want to remove the tarnish use a lemon cut in half with salt poured on it....rub it on the copper and all tarnish will go away and you'll have a bright finish. However, you must protect it soon with shellack or something because it will quickly tarnish and go green again if you don't;