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Clutter & etching


G’day; Clutter:-

I make quite a bit of chain, using several components like
different sizes of jump ring, shaped pieces, and other items like
stamped circles, and even dolphins. It is most efficient to make
many of each object, then go to the next, finally joining and
soldering two units at a time. How to store the tiny objects? My
solution when I got fed up with searching was to make little
cubes of hardwood with 4cm sides. Because I have a wood lathe I
turned a hollow like a deep negative dome in one face, making it
easy to slide out one small item at a time. Completed units are
then put in another vessel ready for two of each to be picked out
and joined. Drilling with a 3cm flat wood drill would be almost
as good. The vessels took only minutes to make, and I find 6 is
enough. A peel-off label bearing a rough drawing of each item
stuck to the vessel makes for rapid identification. Cheaper than
the trad watchmaker’s glass vessels, and because they are cubes,
they take up little space together. BUT: my bench is still in a
hell of a mess mostly. Someone told me to put two tools away for
every one I pick up. It doesn’t work for some reason.


I only occasionally etch (and then only if my work is lousy
[yuck]) But as ferric chloride can’t possibly work with silver or
sterling - only with copper - I use a low voltage DC current, and
de-plate, using stainless as the negative electrode and the work
is connected to the positive terminal. Most folk don’t like to
etch with nitric acid, and are very wary of cyanide for the
electro-etch method. Well, dilute sulphuric acid - fresh 10%
pickle or even sparex (sodium bisulphate) will act as an
electrolyte. Silver sulphate is soluble. Stirring helps keep the
etching even. I use an ungeared electric clock motor with a
magnet glued to it under the plastic etching vessel and a bit of
broken and magnetised high speed-drill, coated heavily in hard
wax as a magnetic follower. I use an old plug-in audio cassette
player power supply controlled by a domestic light dimmer, and
keep bubbling to a bare minimum, using a soft brush to remove
stubborn bubbles. I also use a milliameter, but that is not
entirely necessary. Sometimes I warm the electrolyte. Try it
one day. Oh - and if you sometimes get the dreaded fire stain,
(and who doesn’t?) after you have given up with the polisher try
the deplating method of removing a small controlled amount of the
surface, and then polish. Only do made sure that there is no oil
or grease - no, not even a thumprint - when you do etching or
deplating. Wash with acetone and a tissue.

   / /    John Burgess, 
  / /
 / //\    @John_Burgess2
/ / \ \

/ (___)