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Cleaning hollow chains


#1

Any good methods to remove customers hair from a hollow chain since
the Red Devil Lye has been removed from the market. The only source
for the lye I have found is from soap making supply companies and it
comes in 20-30 pound quantity.

Any help greatly appreciated.
Thank You for the awesome resource!
Carol Gehron


#2

Carol,

Another name for lye is caustic soda. Don’t know about where you are
but in Australia we have no problem buying it in 500g jars at the
supermarket as a drain cleaner. Take extreme care.

Roger


#3
Any good methods to remove customers hair from a hollow chain
since the Red Devil Lye has been removed from the market. The only
source for the lye I have found is from soap making supply
companies and it comes in 20-30 pound quantity. 

Lye is just sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda. The local hardware
store here sells it as lye crystals. Draino crystals (in a metal tin)
are chiefly composed of it as well. Do be careful with it, wear
goggles. A splash in the eyes can cost you your eyesight very
quickly.

Paul Anderson


#4

You should still be able to find lye at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

I recently bought some at Lowe’s and have seen it there since.

It was carried at some major groceries – but it has been dropped at
the high end ones - Whole Foods etc Most of ours now emulate the
Whole Foods concept but we do have some that cater to a broader
market and they may have it

jesse


#5
Any good methods to remove customers hair from a hollow chain
since the Red Devil Lye has been removed from the market. The only
source for the lye I have found is from soap making supply
companies and it comes in 20-30 pound quantity. 

There are a number of chemical resellers on ebay that sell small
quantities of Lye (usually sodium hydroxide). Just remember to watch
the shipping charges.


#6

You don’t say what material the chain is made with!

That would make a difference to how it was cleaned. If it is silver
or gold, perhaps gently playing the torch over it to burn off the
muck, followed by a stint in a tumbler to repolish will do the job. I
cleaned a heavy twisted link silver chain that had been constantly
worn and never cleaned for years this way, and the chain looked like
new when it was finished. The burning off process was pretty yukky -
bits of oil burst into flame and it smelled awful - but the chain
looked like new when it was finished. Just be careful not to heat the
metal too much, or you will melt the solder.

Jane Walker


#7

Hi Carol,

Pure lye is still available at a lot of Ace Hardwares under the Rooto
brand in one lb. containers. If you don’t see it, they may be able to
order it for you. I make soap and that’s where I buy it.

Lauren


#8
You should still be able to find lye at Home Depot or Lowe's. 

I quit using lye on jewelry long ago… However, if you want it,
most if not all oven cleaners/barbeque cleaners contain lye in a
spray can. Read the ingredients, be careful. I doubt they are as
pure as a can of lye, but they’ll do the job, most of the time.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9

Last I looked you could still find it grocery stores catering to
hispanics (including chains). It’s used in making hominy for masa and
in curing green olives.

But yes, hardware stores in this area also carry it for paint
stripping and such. (Although IMHO you’d have to be pretty desperate
to use lye to strip paint.)

RC


#10

Carol, I have been hearing the same thing, while I still have a
small supply, I have looked into it from time to time. There are at
least three approaches I might try:

  • Buy from an online soap making supplier like-
  • Find another brand of lye at a hardware or plumbing supply, but
    note that some have other chemicals included. Everything from
    extenders and surfactants to aluminum flakes which react with the lye
    (NaOH) to produce “scrubbing bubbles” of hydrogen gas.

  • Use another strong alkali like washing soda (Na2CO3) very hot, not
    as good as lye, but perhaps it would work.

Good luck
Marlin


#11

Thank you to all for your suggestions on getting lye and alternate
cleaning solutions. None of the hardware (including Lowes), grocery
stores in my area carry Red Devil lye. I did find crystal Drano and
after testing a scrap piece of chain that came out clean and no
discoloration, 45 minutes in a closed container and the customers
hairy chain is now like new and ready for delivery. I’m having people
check their stores about 200 miles from me and hope to find just one
more can of the Red Devil lye to use with great care! Once again,
Ganoksin and the orchid support team came thru. Carol