Specialists in IBMA metalworking - Constant Manufacturing
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Specialists in IBMA metalworking

We’ve a large range of materials at Constant from mild steel to mirrored polish aluminium. We also can cut and work with plastics and woodwork if the project calls for it. On occasion we’re enlisted to manufacture parts or parts of projects with IBMA.

Imitation bronze metal antique, IBMA for short, is a technique used to create a bronze effect finish to metalwork, typically with a brass base. IBMA finish is applied to brass utilising a specialist chemical and technique undertaken at Constant.

How we make IBMA at Constant

This week we’ve been following some pieces of IBMA metalwork being produced for our sister company, Constant Engineering, through the factory to showcase how IBMA is made.

A piece of brass is used for the base, as this produces the best aged effect when twinned with specialist powder.

IBMA metalwork sanding

The first stage is to grain the material, randomly to give an aged appearance and provide a good key for the powder.

IBMA metal work sanded

Then our team create a secret recipe of antiquing chemical paste, which essentially gives the bronze effect. This paste is applied to the sanded brass metal by hand.

IBMA bronze paste

The piece of IBMA is placed on a palette to dry naturally.

IBMA bronze drying

Once dried, it is scrubbed down with a hand sander to remove the surface powder. Then with a special metalworking tool we designed for the job, we give it a ‘rough scrub’ to give the best and most realistic effect of IBMA. We repeat this process depending on how deep a colour is required for the project.

IBMA bronze brushing and tooling

The pieces of metalwork head to the Powder Coating floor. Not to be sprayed with a colour, but to have a clear gloss lacquer applied to seal the bronzing paste and to give the metalwork protection against corrosion and weathering.

IBMA bronzing glossing

The lacquer gloss applied actually turns the panels white at first, a bit like PVA glue. This gloss is a thick white layer, which when dry turns translucent. Watch our short video of the IBMA turning white!

Into the curing ovens, and out the other side as a finished product.

IBMA white to gloss

The finished article gives a soft brown bronze effect, with a glimmer of brass speckling through to produce the imitation bronze antique effect desired.

One of the most common places you’ll find an IBMA piece of metalwork is part of vintage high-street store retail displays, store display trims and signage, or door plates and bathroom signage in your local high-street restaurant. These types of clients want an authentic vintage or rustic (not to be confused with rusty!) effect piece of metalwork, but without the bronze price tag, something we can happily accommodate at Constant!

IBMA bronze kickplate

Cleaning & care notice…

IBMA will begin to oxidise over time so needs regular care to maintain the look and finish. Our IBMA products are provided with a clear lacquered finish, giving a layer of protection. Therefore, we suggest cleaning with a lint free clean cloth and a solution of clean water and mild detergent. Then hand-buff to dry. Never use abrasive chemicals or cloths as this will damage the surface finish and lacquer coating.