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Discussion Starter #1
As I injured my back a while ago and haven't been able to do anything that'd require lifting heavy objects, I decided to take on a little arts & crafts project. I wanted to add some character to my repro M2 tripod by mounting a data plate to it. The plate in question is the same one that's sold all over the place, eBay, IMA, you name it. It's not an overly accurate reproduction and is way too shiny and pristine to be used as-is...but it was an OK starting point.



To make the plate look a bit more realistic, I decided to apply one of the time-tested methods that I've used for aging various decorative items around my house. The fact that the plate is not made of real brass eliminated chemicals made for aging brass, and because it will be mounted to an object that is handled frequently (i.e. the tripod) eliminated Rub 'n Buff, leaving a bit more complex method which I will describe in below (complex is a relative term though, this project didn't take more than 60 minutes :) )

The first step was to make the plate look a bit more worn out: I dinged it here and there with a small mallet and tapped the corners against an anvil a few times to make them rounder and crooked. Next I brushed the plate with a hard nylon brush to break the shiny surface (the fake brass finish was so thin that even a fine sandpaper seemed out of question). Once I had prepped the surface, I tinted a small amount of satin varnish with a little bit of black, brown, and a hint of green to create a layer of "patina" on the fake brass:



The imitation patina provides the right color, but is still too even to look realistic. Real patina is never even but has random patterns of darker and lighter areas. Therefore I dropped a few drops of matte black acrylic paint into water. I didn't mix the water and paint completely but let the paint form "clouds" in the water (for randomness). I dipped the plate into the cloudy water, took it out, absorbed the biggest puddles into a corner of a paper towel, and let dry. Repeated once more and this is what the end result looks like (the brand new shiny screws got the same treatment):



The next step is to mount this old, dirty plate onto the tripod :)


(Btw, the last step is great for making just about any metallic paint look like real metal and not just a fake, painted finish. You can adjust the "age" by adding less or more paint into the water, and/or dipping the object fewer or more times)
 

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Well done. Matching old is an art form.
 

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Looks great. I tried to make one for my LMC tripod years ago but even the first few letters came out badly. What did you use for lettering?
 

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Nice looking plate. I have one and I'll try your method and see if I can do as good.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I finally got to mounting the data plate onto the tripod. The correct screw size for this particular plate is 6-32, for which I drilled and tapped two holes:



This is how the plate looks on the tripod:





I think I should have brushed on at least one or two more layers of "patina" as the plate still looks perhaps a bit too shiny in broad daylight; oh well...

I believe that the tripod itself is made by 1919a4.com board member called Badger Bob. It is really sturdy and well made and meticulusly follows the original dimensions. I've spiced it up with a GI traverse bar and pintle latch, which both were pretty much drop-in installations (minus the holes drilled & tapped for the latch) thanks to the correct tripod dimension. The traverse bar had to be refinished completely, including restoring the engraved markings:



However, restoring engraved markings is actually a pretty simple if you use fill-in paint/wax:



You just rub the paint into the engravings and wipe the excess with a cloth. The paint dries hard in a couple of days and seems to withstand oil and lubricants just fine. I used the same stuff when I restored my traverse & elevation assembly.
 

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Thanks for showing the lacquer stick. I ordered white from Amazon tonight.

Plate looks great on the tripod!
Steamer
 
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