David Epner will never be confused with Brad Pitt or George Clooney, but Epner, the owner of Brooklyn-based Epner Technology, has also hoisted an iconic Oscar statuette—by plating all 62 of the Academy Awards.
“They turned out even better than I expected,” says Epner, who used his Laser Gold process to get the Oscars to shine brighter than ever with a finish that is three times harder than normal 24-karat gold.
“A few weeks ago, we were plating components for the James Webb space telescope,” he says. “That same gold was put onto a figure that has made us famous.”
Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Rock Tavern, New York, created this year’s statuettes, and owner Dick Polich called his friend Epner to give Oscar a 24-karat gold finish.
Laser Gold—which was originally developed by Epner for Xerox more than 30 years ago—had been the sole NIST standard (No. 2011) for infrared reflective material for more than 20 years and also has been specified on some of the most advanced military and space programs, as its hardness can exceed 180 on the Knoop scale.
Like almost every casting, Epner says porosity was present and can be a plater’s nightmare, but thanks to a cooperative vacuum impregnating firm, the critical deadline was met.
After impregnation, the first step was to polish the raw bronze. Each Oscar was then racked, electro-cleaned, cyanide copper flashed, given an acid copper plate and a bright nickel plate, then a gold strike and immediately immersed in the Laser Gold plating tank.
This is pretty good work for Polich, 84, and Epner, 83, who have been long-time friends after Epner gold plated a 300-pound bronze head for one of Polich’s artist customers.
“We two old farts really hit it off,” Epner says.
For more information, visit epner.com.
Originally published in the April 2016 issue.