I've been experimenting with a process for ageing or "antiquing" cover plates in a tasteful way. I've settled on a heat treatment that formes a very light brassy patina on most stainless steel covers, but allows the original shine to show through.
It depends on the plates themselves and their initial condition. Existing stains, scuffs, or worn spots tend to end up darker than the rest. Brand new plates come out uniform. The feel of the finish stays the same, and the tone is unexpected.
Below you can see a test I did with antiquing the covers and the reedplates as well, of session steel harmonicas with 1847 covers.
I was pretty happy with how they turned out, even though they were used plates that were rather scuffed up. The next step was to try again using brand new plates.
But along the way, I thought I would age some other plates as well. I aged a set of Seydel Session Steel and Favorite covers.
This Session Steel is on a BlueXLabs Black Anodized Aluminum comb.
The Favorite here is on its stock comb.
Now, Seydel does sell an antiqued cover for the "Session" models, but not for the Session Steel or Favourite. So these two are unique in that they maintain their appropriate badging.
I did a Hohner Golden Melody while I was at it, and this turned out pretty good as well.
These are both on custom wood combs. The covers on the green GM are stock, and the red comb got the aged covers. It turned out quite bright, resulting in a very "Golden" Golden Melody. I really like the look of it.
So far, these are all used covers as we experiment and refine the process. Stay tuned for some new 1847 covers that I'll be doing next, and even a set of Lightening covers and comb! I'm especially looking forward to how that polished stainless steel Lightening comb reacts to the process I use for ageing the covers!
In all cases, the reed plates are either aged using a different method or not at all to ensure no change to the reeds themselves.
An aged cover will definitely be a part of my upcoming 1847 "Raven" model of custom assembled Seydel harmonicas. Whether they'll find their way onto other harmonicas is a good question that I'm not prepared to answer just yet.
See you all again soon!