Friday, 4 April 2014

EverBrite ProtectaClear Metal Finishing Coat - Test and Review

I recently acquired a small bottle of EverBrite's ProtectaClear coating, a skin-safe, one part coating for metal jewellery. Supposed to be tough, hardwearing and so on, to keep metals safe from tarnish and oxidation and other damage. It's simple enough to use - a light, clear liquid which brushes on easily and dries fast - but does it work?

Time to run some tests. I prepared a few bits of copper, as that tarnishes quickly and I have scraps kicking around my workshop. Also a chance to try out my new letter punches.

Nice and clean, not 100% polished by hey - just a test, right? Fully degreased and prepped for coating.

Coated and dry and ready to go. The zero band has no coating, the one a single coat, the two a double coat. Time to put these things through some punishment.


OK, top to bottom:

A - On my keyring. Two days of being bashed around in my pocket with assorted bits of metal in close contact.

B - Tied to my shoe. An afternoon of being dragged around on concrete, grass, kitchen floor and everywhere else I walked. Got some funny looks when I went to the vets wearing it...

C - Into the washing machine! People wash their hands with jewellery on, this is the first test relating to that. For the next round of tests I'm going to subject the tag to harsher washing practices and for longer, but this is a start.

D - Control. Stays put on my bench steel. Will be getting direct sunlight most of the day.

Here, Peggy investigates the confusing noise device I seem to have collected. She wasn't convinced.

After a nice long wash at 40C, this tag was hung out overnight on the washing line, and most of the next day too. I'm terrible at remembering to get my laundry in - and the washing line is right outside my workshop door too!

Anyway, after washing, bashing and generally abusing the tags for a couple of days, time to gather them all together to check out the damage. 

Looks OK so far, right? I cleaned surface dirt off where needed, and wiped the left side of each tag with a salt solution to accelerate tarnishing a bit more and left overnight. It's no longer sunny by the time this is done, so I took them inside and put them in my lightbox. Here's the final result:

I am impressed. I expected C and D (laundry and control) to do well, and A (keyring) to fare OK, but it's B (shoe) I'm most surprised by. That tag took quite a kicking. Literally in some cases. Far more wear than I'd expect any piece of jewellery to see in it's lifetime. So far I'd say EverBrite's ProtectaClear is living up to it's claims, but there's more to test yet.

The next round of tests, once I've cleaned up these tags, will check out things like abrasion resistance, harsher washing conditions, chemical and heat resistances. I'll keep on going until I break this stuff!

One thing I really want to test is how well it protected gilded finishes, such as the one on this ring, as I currently finish gilded pieces with CA glue and that technique only really works on flat, round shapes.