Copper Garden Tools, care, patina, and verdigris
If you want to enjoy your garden tools for a long time, you cannot avoid proper care. Garden tools made of copper should be particularly easy to care for. We will look into this promise and explain what needs to be considered when using these garden tools.Garden tools made of copper develop a natural patina over time, which should not be confused with verdigris. We explain the difference and give you tips to avoid verdigris.
How easy to care for are copper garden tools?
Garden tools made of copper have a decisive advantage over conventional garden tools made of iron, they do not rust, and the soil adhesion is very low. This means moisture cannot harm them and they remain free of soil residues, while iron garden tools must be cleaned carefully after use by brushing, with copper garden tools this is almost completely unnecessary or takes much less time. Copper also has the property of being antibacterial on its own, which means that tools do not need to be disinfected to prevent the transmission of pathogens.The edges and blades of copper tools remain very sharp for a long time and can be resharpened by simply regrinding them, just like conventional garden tools. Copper also has a decisive advantage here: there is no loss of material when regrinding or sharpening the edges and blades.Copper is much softer and more flexible than iron, this can mean that the tool heads can easily bend, in such a case you should not be afraid to bend the tools back into their original shape, because of the flexibility of the material tool breakage is impossible. With constant use, copper becomes more and more resistant over time.
Garden tools made of copper are easier to care for, but there are certain points that should be taken to heart.
- When storing copper tools, care should be taken that they are not exposed to direct sunlight or constant weather conditions.
- Contact with acetic-, fruit-, uric- or sulfuric- acid should be avoided as this can lead to verdigris.
- Over time, copper develops a natural patina, which creates a protective layer against verdigris, which can also be easily polished if desired. In the next paragraph we explain the difference between patina and verdigris in more detail.
Patina and verdigris, what's the difference?
Patina and verdigris can often not be distinguished in color. In contrast to patina, verdigris leads to the corrosion of metals and slowly destroys them. Verdigris is also harmful to human health.
Verdigris occurs when copper or brass meets acetic (acid), which causes a chemical reaction. Verdigris can be recognized by its shape, it forms small green-blue crystals, while the patina appears in the form of a thin layer. In contrast to patina, verdigris is water-soluble, so it can be easily removed with washing-up liquid and a sponge.
Patina is created by the natural oxidation of copper or brass in air. This thin layer protects the underlying metal in a naturel way. Patina usually develops very quickly, but the intense green color only occurs if the metal is constantly exposed to the weather. First, it transforms the copper or brass from the shiny reddish color to a matt brown. If desired, the patina can be removed by polishing with a brass brush or steel wool.
With garden tools made of copper, contact with vinegar (acids) should be avoided to prevent the formation of verdigris. The patina, on the other hand, represents a natural protective layer for the metal, if the tools are protected from constant weather influences, they also do not take on the intense green color.