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Battery acid, novices & advice that is not safe


I just read the ongoing thread “preparing for take off…” While I
believe its a good thing to encourage in any way we can collectively
new metalsmiths, jewellers, goldsmiths, art jewelers,- whatever they
seem to want to call themselves at this jumping off beginning point
of what is now a new hobby and may turn into a livelihood. But: to
tell someone to dip anything in used battery acidee WHAT ARE YOU

Let’s just suppose this is a kid. and the kid rode his bike to some
inner-city scrap yard, torch in hand ready to "cut some copper " off
a used hot water tank. forgetting about any fibreglass that may be
in or on the tank, and forgetting you didn’t mention gloves, or to
make certain that water was the only thing in the tank- ever-and that
taking for granted whatever was in it has completely drained and
evaporated off. so nothing explodes from pressure built up in sun
once a propane torch (maybe) cuts through a tank (unlikely at best
without an oxy/fuel torch- so why not recommend shears or tin snips
in the first placee?) but then the same kid sees a used acid filled
battery on the way home and puts it on the handlebars and rings it
home with the piece of copper. He dumps it - without eye protection
or gloves into a metal bucket and then plunges a piece of dissimilar
metal into the bucket that’s looking a bit different than it did
before the used battery acid went in? SO:

what happens when a kid has a metal bucket of battery acid lying

what happens when the bucket starts to dissolve and the acid Leaks?

what happens when the kid picks up the copper from the acid with
bare hands?

what happens when dissimilar metals and acids react?

what happens when the kid wipes his brow with the same hand he just
stuck in the battery acid?

What happens when his mom is at work until 8pm and he decides to wipe
his acid coated fingers across his forehead and eyes at 4pm, say,
after school?..and no neighbours have a car, and the closest hospital
is across town and the only phone is with the mom because the kid
forgot to recharge his? and the kid has no idea how to neutralize
acid - or doesn’t make the connection between the thing he read on
the internet and the burning that’s happening. .

I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.:

*Don’t give out absolutely unsafe unless you are
prepared to take responsibility for it. *What if that kids mom
decided to sue ganoksin for telling her kid to use battery acid at
all instead of a safer option- A jury wouldn’t care that she wasn’t
supervising the kid? (even though i’m betting there is some
disclaimer somewhere about presented in forum style in
the terms of use content). Even some adults don’t have a clue how to
neutralise acids, or that if it leaks where it flows needs to be
cleaned as well. Most states have strict regulations for disposing
used batteries, but in some inner-city areas where they get left on a
curb the former owner long gone there is no way to enforce the laws
and no one is going to take it to a dumpster in an altruistic display
of environmental consciousness!!!

If you insist on recommending battery acid be used to clean copper
-as opposed to a simple abrasive sheet of sandpaper!- why not also
instruct the person on what to do in an emergency.

Experienced jewelers and metalsmiths may have a good deal of
knowledge on use, storage and disposal of studio chemicals- but the
average person does not. People that can’t figure out how to
fabricate a key fob have no business opening an acid filled battery
in the first place.

USE YOUR BRAINS when you post that is clearly dangerous.
How many people that are professionals, and regular posters on
Orchid would clean copper with battery acid? I’m truly curious.

And of that number how many of you would instruct a person of
unknown age and zero experience with metals to “dip it in some used
battery acid” without specifying what container to dump the acid

I am really quite stunned that that got posted at all. Sure
encouragement is great but putting someone in danger, or a pet in
danger, or someone else’s pet, or worse a stray with no one caring
for it when the acid leaks out of the metal bucket. and it takes a
lick., or some other kid crashes into the bucket of acid, left
unattended after that one dip- while running riding a bike, skating-
and it splashes all over the kid, its clothes, its face, a scrape, a
cut. the list could go on. I can see a million dangerous scenarios
that make me think this may take the top prize for most idiotic
instruction ever allowed on Orchid. rer

By the way I know Andrew is a grown man- but soap doesn’t neutralise
acid and though he may not be living in an inner city locale at all,
someone else could. but there is his kid,(9) and the crock pot on
the outdoor shelf - which I thought was hazard enough when i read
that a while back. not making judgements about anyone’s intelligence
but there are many things that make me think when doing jewellery
making on a shoestring (although a rolling mill isn’t something i
could afford at first 40 years ago and Andrew seems to have one) one
has to be specific. for instance I’ve had students show up with acid
rosin flux and 2% silver solder- it won’t hold up in acid pickle. so
when you say neutralise- make sure to suggest sodium bicarbonate as
the thing that neutralises acids- and the stronger the acid, the
higher the saturation has to be and then there’s disposing it NOT
down a drain. or into a stream. rer.

make sure to suggest sodium bicarbonate as the thing that
neutralises acids- 

I wonder how many kids/adults even know the common name for sodium

Paf Dvorak


I take your point on this subject.

But I do live in Central America and we can not always get the
things you can get in the States.

Yes I have needed to resorted to using battery acid for pickle.
works on silver and gold in a pinch. use a crock pot. or pickle pot
and good ventilation and do not put a open flame around it, just
like a battery do not light a lighter next to one in a enclosed
space. use common sense. which I hope think most of the people on
this form have and do use. Please keep things short and sweet. we
all like nice people, nice things as well as post that do not get
people upset. things can always be said in a nice manner without
making someone feel bad, just sometimes take a little longer to
write it down as one needs to first put their emotions aside before

One of the problems with the internet is it is easy to type but hard
to take it back before anyone reads it. unlike the old time letters
that took a day or two for the mail man to pick them up…

Vernon Wilson


Mr. Rourke is absolutely correct in all the points he made. A long
answer was very necessary for the protection of Orchid’s readers.
His exclamations in capital letters served as a wake up call. The
emotion was appropriate. Safety is very inportant here. This forum is
open to very inexperienced people for them to learn. You are
experienced in what is necessary in your locality. Here is hoping for
a good year for you all.

Rose Alene McArthur