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Acidic environment in the studio


#1

I’ve got a question about pickle. Over the years I’ve noticed a
great deal of rust & deterioration of materials in my studio.

Is this in part due to the acidic environment – due to the presence
of pickle?

CS


#2

Hello Carol,

Over the years I've noticed a great deal of rust & deterioration of
materials in my studio. Is this in part due to the acidic
environment -- due to the presence of pickle?

What kind of pickle are you using? It just occured to me that since
I switched from Sparex/pH Down to citric acid, I have not noticed the
rust problems. What say you, John Burgess in NZ?

Judy in Kansas


#3

If your pickle pot is heated try just unplugging the thing. Takes a
little longer to pickle but less tool corrosion is maybe worth it. I
switched 2 years ago to cold pickle. Aside from corrosion I don’t
have that nasty white bubbly goo all around. And it smells better
than on those mornings when I forgot to turn it off the night
before.


#4

Carol: Hot pickle does make for a more acidic atmosphere in the
studio, It isn’t really necessary to heat the pickle. I use about 10%
sulfuric acid in water but white vinegar works well too, though a
little more slowly. Sulfuric acid is great because of its low
volatility.

Flux fumes from soldering, especially floride based fluxes are also
a culprit as well. Good ventilation is a must. If it is corroding
your
tools it might be corroding you.

safety first, Phillip Baldwin


#5
I've got a question about pickle. Over the years I've noticed a
great deal of rust & deterioration of materials in my studio. 

That is probably the cause. I once packed some mandrils and a can of
sparax in the same box for a few years. Did I get a rude surprise
when I opened that box. I learned from tool collectors that even
storing acid in the same garage with tools is a no no. I keep all
metal tools away from my pickle pots where they might be exposed to
fumes when I open the pots. Also, keeping a thin coat of oil on your
steel or iron tools is good housekeeping. I find that 30wt motor oil
on a rag puts a coating that lasts a little longer than 3 and 1 oil
and doesn’t feel greasy or oily if not put on too heavily.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#6

Hi all

Nitric acid will rust the heck out of things!!! Even in diluted
solution!! I have switched to Citric Acid and what a change! Even
introduced it to my local supply store owner Sunday in a private
class in Anticlastic forming!

Rose Marie Christison


#7

Judy, It’s Sparex from Rio Grande-- it’s been out there for
years. :wink: So you can use citric acid? How does one obtain that?

Thanks,
Carol


#8
If your pickle pot is heated try just unplugging the thing. Takes
a little longer to pickle but less tool corrosion is maybe worth
it. I switched 2 years ago to cold pickle. 

I have a crock pot that does not have any heat control. I have a
small rheostat that I can lower the temp so it is hot, not
simmering. I have a lot of these controls, If anyone wants one e-mail
me of list, they are $10 shipping included. They also can be used for
controling a soldering iron for wax work. It is a small plastic box
with a control knob that plugs into an outlet, power strip, or
extension cord, whatever is being used plugs into the small plastic
box.

Richard Hart


#9

G’day - at your service, Judy!

Barely volatile acid solutions in small amounts like sodium
bisulphate at temperatures no higher than 30C should not cause much
trouble in a reasonably sized area. If you use a warmed pickle, keep
a lid on it always.

When I was well into jewellery (not done any for three years) I used
only 10% sulphuric acid. But my jewellery bench is in the same very
small room I used as a laboratory too, containing a variety of
chemicals including acids, ammonia, etc. At the beginning I was
worried about rusting of valuable tools (the room also contains a
sink with H&C water and a very sensitive analytical chemical balance.

I gave all steel tools a coat of Turtle Wax car polish. And have had
no bother with rusting. I also have a large wood lathe in the garage
with about 25 big steel lathe tools - many made from old car springs.
The lathe and all tools were treated with the wax too. I had to give
up driving but that garage often contained a very wet car. No rust on
any tool or the lathe. Now, it still contains the woodworking gear,
plus a mobile clothes line - so we don’t have to traipse out in the
garden - plus my electric disability scooter. You may have to use the
wax more often than I, but I’m a bit lazy!

I am not really any sort of expert these days: am past the use-by
date at 86. But still read Orchid every day. My eyes are on the
table, my teef are in a cup, my ears are in a drawer, my hands go on
a walker frame, but still I won’t give up!

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ


#10

Thanks for the advice. It’s too late for some of my tools. Wondering
if the sparex residues combine with the high humidity around
here–enhancing the damage.

Carol


#11

bonjour Carol

Is this in part due to the acidic environment -- due to the
presence of pickle? 

Pickle fumes are definitly corrosive.

Not only for your tools but for your lungs and teeth aswell. (
Belieive my dentist on that! I spent three years in a badly
ventilated workshop with an open and heated pickle (nitric acid) most
of my teeth (16 of them!) where decayed on thier bases, Dentist
explained me that acid vapor would turn back to liquid acid when it
is in contact with saliva) If your pickle pot is heated, set it on
minimun, make sure there is a lid on it and check the ventilation of
your studio.

The safest choice would be to swap for a safer pickle solution (
citric acid sounds good although I haven’t try it).

salut
Juliette Adra
Aix en Provence, France


#12

Hi…I have been corresponding with Beth - now will include you
all…Ref the Citric Acid

I obtained a one pound sack of granules from Vitamin Cottage. Any
Health Food Store ought to have it. I did transfer it with the label
to a glass jar to keep it dry.

The proportion I experimented with this past weekend - 1 1/2 cup
Citric Acid TO 1+ quart of water. It was heated on medium in the
crockpot. Worked better when hot. There was no sign of an odor. As
mentioned, always remember AW Acid to Water.

I also will try the PHDown - Beth I couldn’t remember the name when
I wrote. I got a bottle of liquid at Home Depot. There is PH Down for
the Lily Pond as well as the Swimming Pool! Look for the Swimming
Pool stuff.

The Orchid tips have really brought a lot of great ideas my way.
Thanks for all the info.

Rose Marie in Denver


#13

Trying citric acid sounds like a safer solution. Any sources for
purchase?

A solution to prevent leaving the pickle pot on is to connect it to
a shop light, using a power strip. Plug both into the power strip,
and leave both ON. Make it a habit to turn the light off ONLY by
turning off the power strip. This automatically shuts the pickle pot.
I haven’t dried out a pickle pot since I started doing this. It
should help keep corrosive fumes down somewhat, and it’s cheap, safe,
and easy. (I plug other shop tools in here as well, seems like a good
idea to have the electric off on whatever I can.)

Lisa Weber
Rick & Lisa Weber


#14
So you can use citric acid? How does one obtain that? 

I’ve used citric as my pickle for a couple years now, no complaints.
You can buy it at baking supply places (may cost $6/lb) or in larger
quantities on line for $3-4/lb. I use about half a pound in a
standard size crock pot.

Noel


#15
I have a crock pot that does not have any heat control. I have a
small rheostat that I can lower the temp so it is hot, not
simmering. 

I had one of these, until I tried to use it to lower the temp of a
control-less hot plate. It melted. Please be sure your little
control box is up to the job you ask of it.

Noel


#16
I had one of these, until I tried to use it to lower the temp of a
control-less hot plate. It melted. Please be sure your little
control box is up to the job you ask of it. 

The one I am offering is a soldering iron control. Hot plate is way
more amps than what a crock pot or soldering iron uses. Backround in
electronics, heavy ground radar, military. Unit I offered guaranteed.
I do have a large rheostat that would handle the hot plate, but a hot
plate with a built in control would be easier and cheaper.

Richard Hart


#17

Another alternative to Sparex is the much safer and easier to obtain
Alum from the grocery store. Yes, that’s the spice you may well
already have in the kitchen. I simply add about two tablespoons to a
quart of warm water. Much safer even than Sparex and cheaper too!

Steve Klepinger
Morning Dance Gallery
Fine Art & Jewelry


#18

Noel,

I use about half a pound in a standard size crock pot. 

I used sparex for over 30 years until several months ago when I
switched over to Citric acid.

I purchased a small size crock pot from Wal-Mart which I think is 1
1/2 quarts and a 4oz container of Citric Acid from the Health Food
store. Never having used citric acid before i was not sure how much
to mix so I added 2ozs. to the crock pot with very hot water.

To do an experiment I cast up some small trees of jewelry using
scrap sterling silver that had been used many times so I expected
they would come out black.

I pickled these castings with the 2ozs of Citric acid and they
cleaned up as well as with the Sparex.

I am sure you have far more experience with this than I do but you
may wish to use less citric acid with your next batch to see how it
works for you.

Have a great day
Greg DeMark
www.demarkjewelry.com


#19

Noel

I had one of these, until I tried to use it to lower the temp of a
control-less hot plate. It melted. Please be sure your little
control box is up to the job you ask of it. 

My crock pot = 80 watts, a hot plate some where around 1500 watts.

A light dimmer (600 watt max) will work well on a crock pot, with a
hot plate it will probably be good for lighting your torch… once.

Jeff
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#20

Someone wanted a source for citric acid. Here’s where I get mine

You can get it at health food stores but it’s about triple the price
there as in my source.

Donna in VA