Monday, July 12, 2010

"Natural" Pickle vs. Sulferic Acid Pickle/Your take?

As this morning ticked along I realized it's time to change my pickle.
 
All of you metalheads know what I'm referring to.
 
Recently, because of possible long-term health issues (or unfounded paranoia) I've taken the leap of faith and switched to this "natural" pickle everyone's raving about. Admittedly so, it does work fast...however, I've noticed not long after my heated solution begins to turn green. In fact it adds a green patina to my copper tongs. By this time, my solution no longer removes the flux and junk from my torched silver. It's become a bit of a nuisance to change it out so often, all in the name of this natural solution.
 
Also, the guessing game of the ratio of the vinegar pickle is just that, a huge guess. (though I've seen that folks are using a hit and miss guess to get a good ratio.)


My friend Cynde has offered to come over and experiment with it and find out the solution. (yes she is a geology science geek, er person). These sorts of things intrigue her.

I was on MSIA's website where there is information about the handmade pickle. I recently ran across this comment about the solution, and I think it's fine to quote it here as it was left by Anonymous:



Anonymous said...
When using the vinegar and salt mixture, be aware that hydrogen and chlorine gas is released, it is generally very little. You can just use the vinegar without the salt.


As the salt vinegar mix is rust producing patina mix for ferrous materials


Interesting, because of the green discoloration of my copper tongs.

While the smell of this vinegar in the studio does remind me of eating vinegar chips (mmmm) I think for now I'll go back to the old fashioned way and use my (admittedly) toxic solution. It's very easy (and super important) to neutralize your metal right after the pickle bath using baking soda and water! (which I also did with the "natural" pickle...)


Yes dear instructor (you know who you are...you were right as you almost always are...)

I wonder about what basis others are using their pickle solutions. I'm of the school of thought

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. I'd like to know more about the vinegar pickle before I continue to use it. Until then...



My mask is on, windows open, fan on, and Happy Smithing metalheads!

11 comments:

miznyc said...

That bit about the hydrogen and chlorine is interesting. I love my vinegar and salt pickle. Because I have a preschooler hanging around these parts, I just feel better using it than the sparex. Let me know if you want my Sparex because I've got a big old bag of it!

Curious what your instructor said. Was it Nick? :D

miznyc said...

Oh I wanted to add that I do have the green patina on my copper tongs.

CarolynArtist said...

Hey Nina! I totally understand little mr green moustache man comes first!!! :-) Your tongs turned green too? See? They got a patina! ;p
Well...until I find out more I'm back on the old stuff, boy does it work well...glad yours is working out, not sure what Sparex is? If it's the stuff they use in pool water, it's the same as the toxic stuff...it was Nick who told me, oh gosh I hope he's not reading this. (I never see green tongs in the studio in Alexandria!)
Though, now I know how to get a cool patina on some copper :D

Janice said...

I've used Sparex; ph down; and vinegar/salt. I have yet to try citric acid (kitchen canning ingredient).

I have stuck with ph down over time. Its used in pools so although it is a 'chemical' it is relative safe. It works great. Some chemicals are harsher than others - this is a happy medium for me. :)

Janice

silver.work said...

I use pickling salt from the grocery store for no other reason than it's cheaper than Sparex and phDown, 'though I've tried those, too. And I don't mind a little patina on my tongs . . . considering the rest of the 'patina' (say 'bench mess'?) on my bench :: lynn

CarolynArtist said...

Thanks Janice, I'll have to check out what you and Nina are using. Did you guys get the t-storms we had earlier?
Lynn,lol @ patina on your tongs, when I think of it, why should it matter? :p I will say that my vinegar and salt pickle turned green (freaky dayglo soylent green) soon after using, maybe i'm using the wrong salt or vinegar? Table salt and plain white vinegar...

also, it just plain stopped stripping my fluxy gunk when it turned the green color...weird.

my old nasty stuff worked well today, and I admit to liking the sound of the little metal as it hits my baking soda past mix, it sort of sizzles...

CarolynArtist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CarolynArtist said...

*paste (not past) mix

CheekyLemur said...

How about using plastic tongs in your V&S pickle?

CarolynArtist said...

Hey Julia :-) That could work, but so far, these past few days I'm really enjoying the old stuff...I may try vinegar (sans the salt) after this batch goes...good suggestion! Thanks! (snails)<---;p

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

I'm just now cathcing up on my blog readin, but thought I'd add my 2 cents... I love ph down as a pickle. It works quickly and lasts a long time. When it's dirty, it can be poured down the drain.