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Asphaltum lifting and Glue removal

Hello to all,

I’ve been reading the postings with interest, and have already
gleaned a lot of valuable – thanks to all!

After a long break from metalsmithing (which I stopped when I was
pregnant due to the risks involved), I now have a small workshop
arrangement where I am gradually trying to refresh and rebuild my
skills to the level they were when I stopped.

Now, I am trying to do some nitric acid etching on sterling. I have
some old asphaltum that I have thinned slightly with mineral spirits,
and I have tried to clean the metal as well as I am able (with
detergent and scotch pad)… perhaps I should be using pumice? Anyway,
I am finding that the asphaltum is lifting about 10 minutes into the
etch - I am aiming for a slow 30 minute etch. Is my asphaltum at
fault, or my cleaning? Maybe both? All help appreciated.

Also, I have some old sheets of sterling that had masking tape over
them (I can’t imagine why). The masking tape has dried and well and
truly adhered to the surface of the metal – so far I have been
unable to find anything to remove it. I have tried acetone, WD40
(oil), and alcohol, each without success. Any thoughts as to how to
remove it without damaging the surface of the metal?

Thanks to all for the invaluable knowledge that you pass on,


try cellulose thinner- also called nitro thinner, you can get it in
hardware stores

I had the same problem and used the sterling sheet with that
fossilized masking tape in place. It all burned off when I soldered.
Polished the piece without any special treatment. I don’t think
you’ll have any problems. Good luck. Judy in Kansas where the heat
is typical for us this time of year - 100 degrees in the shade.


There is a product called “goo gone” that will remove sticky tape,
residue from price tags, etc. For stubborn tape, try letting a
puddle of goo gone sut on top of the tape, or pour in a jar and
immerse the piece and let it soak for a while. It works amazingly
well AND has a “fresh, lemony scent”! You can find it in many office
supply and hardware stores.

Good luck!
K Maley

Sadie: see my posting sent out in the same batch as yours (this
one). It will say from “Gordon Green”–though he’s not me. I’m Andy.
Gordon is my father and he’s charming and sweet and tolerant enough
to be sharing his Email account with me for this month–but he
couldn’t care less about nitric acid, vulcanized rubber, or sterile
earring posts. Go figure.

Goo Gone should do the trick for you. You may have to douse on a
fair amount–it occasionally evaporates before it has fully penetrated
the sticky substance. Be patient; if you give it enough time you
shouldn’t really need to scrape. Let me know if this works.


Old tape comes off with Lighter Fluid (oddly enough), and Lighter
fluid comes off with soap and water.
karen in vancouver

hi sadie sadie - fingernail polish remover (acetone), denatured
alcohol, lighter fluid, white gasoline (used in camping stoves),
vinegar, or - my all-time magic remover: uncommon conglomerate,
inc.‘s ‘debonder solvent’ - which removes absolutely every kind of
adhesive, including epoxies, without fumes or skin burns - or harming
opals, pearls, metals, etc. - the stuff is perfect! & cheap! a repeat
of the story about using it to remove cyanoacrylic glue from my lip
(well, if you blow into the nozzle & clear it before putting on the
cap it creates a vacuum that keeps the nozzle open for the next use)
without even feeling the stuff - try the 800-for
’uncommon conglomerate, inc.’ to get their number if it isn’t
800/322-1948 - good luck ive