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Alcohol for boric acid


#1

I have always made my boric acid/alcohol solution with denatured
alcohol. I have been given a ton of medical (isopropyl) alcohol.
Will that work the same as the usual jewelers boric acid/alcohol
solution?

Thanks.
Janet in Jerusalem


#2

Janet- Isopropyl alcohol will NOT do. I worked in a busy trade shop
once where Ia 5 gallon drum of isopropyl alcohol was accidentally
delivered instead of denatured. My late mother was a chemist so I
pointed out to one of the bosses that it was not the same thing. He
disagreed and told us to use it any way. What a disaster. We lost a
half a days work before he finally relented and reordered.

Isopropyl alcohol has 20-30% water. it just doesn’t burn right.
Denatured has only 5%.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#3

Been using isopropyl for 40 years. Yes most off the shelf is lower
alcohol content and will not work but even on the drugstore shelves
there is 91% available. That burns fine almost exactly like
denatured 95%… Just read the label. Gary


#4

isopropyl is safer than denatured. i learned too late denatured gets
in your lungs and can sit therei have no clue why but being a bench
jewelerfor 40 years, 8 years ago got tonsil cancerAs a precaution
use isopropyl I changed years alter

David S. Geller
JewelerProfit.com


#5

The reason methanol is the preferred solvent for boric acid is it
holds twice as much boric acid as ethanol and three times as much as
isopropyl. While you can buy 99% isopropyl it is not common and
quite expensive. Mostly what you will find is the medical grade
which is 70% alcohol and 30% water. Doesn’t burn off very well at
all. As for the dangers of breathing the alcohol fumes THEY ARE ALL
TOXIC. You should not be using them in situations where you don’t
have good ventilation. Do not fool yourself into thinking that
because you are using isopropyl that you are somehow safer.

Boric acid solubility by weight percentage in three alcohols.

Methanol 22.66%

Ethanol 11.96% (Denatured alcohol is typically over 95% ethanol)

1-Propanol (isopropyl alcohol) 7.34 %

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#6

isopropyl is safer than denatured. i learned too late denatured gets
in your lungs and can sit therei have no clue why but being a bench
jewelerfor 40 years, 8 years ago got tonsil cancerAs a precaution use
isopropyl I changed years alter Denatured alcohol is a generic term.
Denatured alcohol can contain ethanol, isopropanol, methanol, or any
other type of alcohol. It is veryimportant to read the label andthe
SDS (Safety Data Sheet) so you understand what exactly you are
getting. Methanol is definitely the most unhealthy of the 3 listed
above and I recommend staying away from it if you can.

Bernadette Johnson


#7

Denatured alcohol is what I have used for 45 years…


#8
Boric acid solubility by weight percentage in three alcohols.
Methanol 22.66% Ethanol 11.96% (Denatured alcohol is typically over
95% ethanol) 1-Propanol (isopropyl alcohol) 7.34 % 

Thanks James! That is exactly the sort of info I was hoping
for…:-)… Is the kind one buys in jewelers’ supply stores
usually ethanol? In my part of the world it tends to be purple.

Janet in Jerusalem


#9

So… why not just use Prips Flux? It is not that hard to make. I’m
not too keen on having something that burns on the bench anyway.
I’ve used it, but Prips is better, and a heck of a lot safer. Moot
point for me. I mostly work in high-karet gold and switched to
Argentium a few years back :slight_smile: I’ve never had much of a comfort level
with the alcohol/boric acid thing… just a disaster waiting to
happen.