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Bombing recipes?


#1

I’ve done bombing before, but I ran into a guy who does it very
differently than I. Can any of you share your secret bombing
recipes?

Doc


#2
I've done bombing before, but I ran into a guy who does it very
differently than I. Can any of you share your secret bombing
recipes? 

Sure.

  1. make sure nobody knows you’re doing this. Your mom will get mad.
    Local authorities might get even madder. And I don’t even want to
    think about what your doctor will think of this…

  2. Get an old plastic pitcher. Reserve it now for deadly chemistry.
    Don’t ever ever again use it for lemonade or iced tea, unless perhaps
    for your mother in law or someone like that… The best is a fairly
    low one, low enough so you can reach to the bottom of the thing with
    the nozzle of your steam cleaner, but still high enough to contain
    the reaction. Mine was about six inches tall, though I’ve also used
    the usual deeper ones that are about a foot tall.

  3. Obtain potassium cyanide powder/grain, and concentrated (I used
    30 percent. Nasty stuff) peroxide.

Work in a deep sink, like a laundry tub. needs a high back wall, and
behind it should be nothing important, preferably wall space easily
cleaned if needed.

  1. Boil some tap water. About a cup or so. Quickest is to pour it
    into the pitcher, then immerse the nozzle of your steam cleaner so
    it’s almost touching the bottom of the pitcher, under water. Hit the
    pedal, and in a few moments, it’s boiling. With a taller pitcher, too
    tall for the nozzle to reach all the way down, you’d just make a mess
    so boil it some other way (seperate container, microwave, flame
    thrower, bad humor, etc. Your choice. Either way, end up with about a
    cup of boiling water in the pitcher.

  2. Add the gold jewelry, and about a heaping teaspoon full of the
    cyanide. Swirl it around to dissolve. You should see the gold
    brighten up, as any tarnish disappears instantly.

  3. After a few seconds (during this time, the cyanide will be
    happily dissolving gold, so don’t wait too long), pour in a “glug” of
    peroxide from the bottle. Careful measuring is important here.
    Exactly a “glug”, you know. Not one iota more or less… :slight_smile:

how much are glugs and iotas, anyway?

  1. Be sure, as soon as the peroxide is in there, that the pitcher is
    held at the bottom of the sink, at an angle pointing away from you,
    towards the back wall of the sink. Perhaps a 45 degree angle is good.
    Swirl the pitcher a bit during this time.

  2. After a few moments, the solution will react with anywhere from a
    brisk boiling up and subsiding down, to a moderately explosive
    "burst", sometimes even giving a bit of a thumping sound and feel,
    ejecting much of the solution out of the pitcher and into the back
    wall of the sink. If your aim is bad and your luck is good, you can
    cover much of the back wall behind your sink too, in which case you
    can practice those wall washing skills. The solution will be a dark
    brown color.

  3. Pour the solution down the drain. Sure, this pours all that gold
    that was dissolved down the drain too, but it also gets rid of the
    cyanide, so nobody is the wiser. In truth, most the cyanide is now
    reacted to less deadly cyanate, so if you like,you can delude
    yourself into thinking the stuff is safe to pour down the drain. And
    besides, finding a refiner who wants to recover the gold from such
    solutions is hard. It’s not that costly anyway. What is it now, 250
    an ounce or something? Anyway, it’s your boss’s gold, not yours, and
    she told you to do this. Showed you how, in fact. So it must be OK.

  4. Rinse in hot water, then add hot water, and a few grains of more
    cyanide. Swirl this around while the new cyanide solution dissolves
    that nasty pure gold color the bombing left, so now you’ve got your
    bright almost polished 14K color back. You can leave the 24K color if
    you like, too.

  5. Rinse again, carefully, since now you’re rinsing unreacted
    cyanide off the jewelry and down the drain. (hey, it’s not that much,
    so who cares…)

  6. Admire your work. So much easier than polishing, especially for
    those damn hollow rope chains and the like.

  7. Realize that you’ve now got a splitting headache. Go find
    suitable drugs to treat that…

So anyway. You asked how I’d done it. This is how we used to do it
back in the only shop I’ve ever worked in that did this. That was
quite a number of years ago. Obviously, this was not good or safe
practice. It worked, and we all survived. So far as I know, at least.

But please don’t copy this. At the least, work out more precise
measurements of the reagents to get a more predictable result. A
little bit of a burst is good, giving brighter results, but you don’t
need much, and a violent explosion is just not a nice idea with this
type of chemistry, unless you’re wearing the proper protective gear,
which is highly recommended anyway.

And please don’t just dump the solutions down the drain. There can
be significant recoverable gold in the waste, as well as enough
cyanide to cause serious problems with the waste water system
recieving it. In most communities, dumping even small amounts of such
stuff is illegal.

Besides, given the effectiveness of magnetic tumblers and other
tumbling methods, why do you need to bomb now anyway?

Peter


#3
Besides, given the effectiveness of magnetic tumblers and other
tumbling methods, why do you need to bomb now anyway? 

Why somebody actually need to explane how to bomb? Why not just say
that it is a crime and even if it wasn’t it is so dangerous and
unhealty that nobody should even think about doing it?


#4

Thanks for that, Peter. Very funny. Really. I have heard about
bombing and understood it was a nasty process, and that jewellery
workshops would get their young apprentices to do it (and Cellini
recommended using boys to do the fire gilding) so it was good to
bring it out in the open what was done. I hope you are really free
of its effects.

Cheers
Brian
Auckland


#5
Why somebody actually need to explane how to bomb? Why not just
say that it is a crime and even if it wasn't it is so dangerous and
unhealty that nobody should even think about doing it? 

For two reasons as far as I’m concerned…

  1. Because it docunents the process from an historical point of view
    and…

  2. Because the explanation shows WHY it is so dangerous!

It is only human nature to want to know why we should not attempt
something - particularly in our modern societies which are riddled
with petty and often seemingly pointless rules and regulations. That
description certainly did it for me - I shall never attempt such a
process - even if I could think of a way to get hold of cyanide!

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#6
Why somebody actually need to explane how to bomb? Why not just
say that it is a crime and even if it wasn't it is so dangerous and
unhealty that nobody should even think about doing it? 

Bombing can be useful simply because it’s a beautiful finish when it
works right, and in some cases, there may no other way to do as good
a job. Most of the time, there are other, preferable ways. But
sometimes…

So that’s the reason why the info might actually need to be
explained. It should be pointed out too, that it CAN be done with
complete safety, if the proper equipment is used. In larger
manufacturing firms, it’s an accepted and useful method.

It is NOT a crime, unless the waste products are disposed of in a
manner that endangers the enviroment or pollutes the local water, or
the like, thus violating pollution laws. And it can be a crime if an
employer insists that an employee performs a task dangerous to
themselves or others. But both this, and the pollution/toxicity
concerns are not impossible to handle with proper procedures. If the
wastes are properly handled, just as with electroplating wastes, or
acid wastes, or any other potentially toxic wastes, the process can
be perfectly legal, and a properly responsible practice.

The same is true with the health aspects. If done correctly, with
the proper equipment, it’s not at all dangerous.

My description, of course, was of a small shop method for bombing
common enough (and published in a number of easily found sources,
especially Murry Bovin’s popular books), which we’d now frown on for
both safety and environmental reasons. Back when I used it, such
awareness wasn’t so common. When I was doing it, by the way, it did
not yet violate local pollution laws where I was. Those came later. I
tried to make it abundantly clear in my post that I do not condone
people bombing the same way I described. To do so would be simply
irresponsible. But modifying the facilities and equipment used so as
to make this safe is not that hard. For one thing, the work is done
in an enclosed space like a covered fume hood or other means to
contain fumes, and allow the waste liquids to be collected rather
than run down the drain. They can then be dealt with, hopefully
reclaiming the gold in the solution, and safely disposing of the
rest after the cyanide is destroyed. In my case, I now do it, on
those rare occasions when it’s needed (the last time was perhaps five
years ago, so it’s not like this is common), using a large pail that
I made a cover for, and fitted with glove holes. That contains
splashes. I wear a respirator, and work out doors, to avoid breathing
fumes. The waste liquids are simply collected in a large glass
container, and then allowed to dry out. The result is a dry powder
that can be sent to those refiners that accept such waste. Doing it
this way, I violate no laws, nor endanger my safety at all.

Peter Rowe


#7

A teacher of mine told a story of a place she worked – they did a
lot of bombing, without proper safety or disposal or anything.

This was brought to the attention of the local authorities because
of the large number of dead birds on their roof!

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#8

Thank you for your humors reminder of how good, the good old days
were. I do remember with nostalgic pride the dangers involved with
many of the common practices associated with the jewelry industry in
the good old days. Picking cyanaide eggs out of cans with my bare
fingers, (sniff, sniff). (Someone yells- Don’t lick it). Mixing
plating solutions on a hot plate like chicken soup without a exhaust
fan and getting that mysterious halo fog around my head,(or was it in
my head ?). The work environment for most jewelers is better today
than it was in the past and for good reason. Again, thank you for the
walk down memory lane.


#9
Bombing can be useful simply because it's a beautiful finish when
it works right, and in some cases, there may no other way to do as
good a job. 

Yes, Peter is correct, it’s a very useful process. I never did it
myself, but I worked where they did it once or twice a week in a
different way and larger scale than Peter described, though the
recipe is the same. Put in raw castings, take out rings that look
finished to the casual glance… It’s just incredibly dangerous if
it’s not done by someone who has a brain and a real shop, and the
danger is that someone will attempt it in the kitchen sink - Darwin
awards and all that. But it’s not like it’s without value. It’s also
really an industrial process - it’s just silly to think about it for
a ring or two, but when you have 300-400 rings every couple of days
it’s a whole nuther thing. For myself it’s something I just won’t
describe online at all, ever, “historical” or not. It’s just too
dangerous in the wrong hands.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#10
Why somebody actually need to explane how to bomb? Why not just
say that it is a crime and even if it wasn't it is so dangerous and
unhealty that nobody should even think about doing it? 

It’s not a crime. Pouring nasty chemicals down the sink is. And there
are still reasons to do it. Magnetic tumblers are not panaceas and
there are proper and correct methods of disposing of chemicals.


#11
The waste liquids are simply collected in a large glass container,
and then allowed to dry out. The result is a dry powder that can be
sent to those refiners that accept such waste. Doing it this way, I
violate no laws, nor endanger my safety at all. 

I’ve been told (or maybe read somewhere) that the addition of
ammonia water to cyanide neutralizes it. I think a thread on cyanide
and the safe handling of it is in order. I still use cyanide plating
solutions and, in spite of popular opinion and fear on this list,
still use it to clean gold and diamonds when nothing else will do as
well, (last resort.) I keep an up-to-date Cyanide Antidote Kit on
hand (if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t attempt doing it!)
and my chemicals in a locked fireproof and clearly marked cabinet.

http://www.labsafety.org/cyanide.htm


#12
Why somebody actually need to explain how to bomb? 
  1. Because it documents the process from an historical point of
    view
  2. Because the explanation shows WHY it is so dangerous!

Precisely. And that is why I have got my bum into gear and started
doing free tutorials online. The old way as I was taught. The way I
do it. So that people can see what not to do (as in Peter Rowe’s
excellent mini essay) or for that matter how to potentially do it.
James Miller, are you listening?-- I can’t wait for your book, but
what I would really like to see is a book/dvd of your techniques. For
sale, if you wish. Those skills are the ones that are being lost,
compliments of the supply companies and the non-roller cut/paste
jewellers…

http://www.meevis.com/jewelry-making-class-list.htm

Go on, I dare you to prove me wrong…

Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com


#13
I've been told (or maybe read somewhere) that the addition of
ammonia water to cyanide neutralizes it. 

check that data before doing it. My recollection was bleach, not
ammonia, and it also, for safe working, required the cyanide to be
highly diluted. The process I recall was for neutralizing about a
quart of spent cyanide plating solution, and as i recall, one used
about a 20 or 20 gallon trash can filled with water, to which one
added the plating solution. The bleach was then added to this very
dilute solution, and allowed to sit. Presumably, though I’m no
chemist, the bleach oxidizes the cyanide to cyanate, which is roughy
the same thing that happens to most of the cyanide when bombing. The
highly diluted cyanate solution was then safe to dispose of. But
there was a good deal more to all this, as I recall. Metals had to be
removed from the solution too, before one could dispose of it, though
the bleach might have done that too, converting them to chlorides?
Dunno… So don’t rely on this post for more than a clue as to what
to look for. By the way, before automatically reacting to the toxic
nature and reputation of cyanide, don’t assume that all wastes or
reaction products must be so nasty. Remember that cyanide itself is
merely the combination of carbon and nitrogen, both pretty innocent
elements, when not combined into cyanide. It’s cyanide’s ability to
mimic oxygen in the way it can bind to hemoglobin and in some other
processes, that makes it so nasty. In other forms, it’s not. We
don’t, for example, shudder and think of instant death when using
super glue, which also includes cyanate ion within it’s formula,
giving a very different chemical…

Peter


#14
For myself it's something I just won't describe online at all,
ever, "historical" or not. It's just too dangerous in the wrong
hands. 

many things are dangerous. For my money, the most dangerous of all
of them usually is ignorance… It can get us killed in the shop, or
get us into wars, or… sorry. I shouldn’t mix metals with politics.

But the point is, knowledge is power. Without the knowledge of the
process being published, ignorant but eager beginners are much more
likely to try a thing and do it wrong, to their detriment. (and as I
said, it’s already in print, and easily found, including by
beginners, in books I can often find or order even at Borders Books,
not to mention any decent library. My description of the process went
to some lengths to make sure it’s danger was emphasized. Now,
frankly, anyone who still tries it without making sure they know what
they’re doing, well, they’re not my concern. Idiots will manage to
kill themselves somehow. If you’ve got a loaded gun sitting in the
house, it’s best, I think, to be sure the children know the gun is
loaded and extremely dangerous, not a toy, and will kill them for
sure if they even touch it, rather than simply not telling them it’s
in the bedside drawer, and hoping they never go into their parents
bedroom and find it by accident, then being unprepared for it’s
dangers. Now in that example, its better to not have the gun at all,
or at least lock it or the ammo up, or otherwise make it safe. But
is not like that. This isn’t secret stuff. My not
mentioning it would not make it invisible to some idiot who wanted to
try it. They’d find it somewhere, without too much trouble. Better
to describe it, in terms that let people know, at least, that it’s a
bad idea to do casually. This isn’t a gun I can lock up, unload, or
not have in the house. Best then, to warn the kids.

And for what it’s worth, even if the info is not hard to find, the
idiots out there would have to work at least a little bit. Over the
last few years, cyanide has become a lot harder to buy as a simple
jewelers supply chemical. So is the concentrated peroxide. I used to
be able to buy both just over the counter from the local detroit
jewelry supply house. No hassles. Those days are past, so the
beginners at least have that level of obstacle to get over.

Peter


#15

Peter,

Your recall is good. That is the technique for disposal/
neutralizing a quart of plating solution.

1 gallon of chlorine bleach to 1 quart of cyanide based solution to
30 gallons of water, well stirred and left to sit covered overnight
for the reaction to complete. At that point, the reaction products
(according to my source, an older paper by PM refining) are safe to
add to the municipal waste water system.

Paul


#16
Your recall is good. That is the technique for disposal/
neutralizing a quart of plating solution. 1 gallon of chlorine
bleach to 1 quart of cyanide based solution to 30 gallons of water,
well stirred and left to sit covered overnight for the reaction to
complete. At that point, the reaction products (according to my
source, an older paper by PM refining) are safe to add to the
municipal waste water system. 

thanks Paul.

Did that paper mention anything about removal of metals from the
solution? I don’t recall, or know enough chemistry to be sure. I’d
sort of expect the reaction to precipitate insoluable metal salts
(chlorides), so the solution would be free of the metals. Is that
true? I don’t know, for that matter, whether all the appropriate
chlorides are actually insoluable…

Peter


#17
Did that paper mention anything about removal of metals from the
solution? I don't recall, or know enough chemistry to be sure. I'd
sort of expect the reaction to precipitate insoluable metal salts
(chlorides), so the solution would be free of the metals. Is that
true? I don't know, for that matter, whether all the appropriate
chlorides are actually insoluable.. 

Years ago I worked briefly in a shop which bombed almost everything.
I only watched but it was treated pretty casually, much like Peters
description. They would plate the metal out of spent solution (big
sheet of stainless steel) before killing with bleach.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand