To Shirley: I recently made a pot hanger with copper piping running around a wooden frame. I left the copper " au natural". It looks just fine. I figure that copper on the counter edge will remain its shine partly due to rubbing up against it as you work in that area. I just threw the "lacquer" idea out here to see what others thought.
Our house, though new, is based on a 100 year old design and I am trying to capture the "old" look. The look of tarnished copper does not bother me at all.
to jb: Yeah, I figured I would need to roughen up the surface of the laminate a bit first. Everything else is very solid so it looks like I've got my project for the Easter Weekend.