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Copper tongs for pickling


#1

I just annealed some wire after twisting it on a mandrel to form
jump rings. I looked for my copper tongs and I cannot find the
blasted things.

From what I understand, only copper can be dipped in a pickle
solution with a nasty reaction.

Is there another means of removing firescale?

Liz


#2

Hi Liz

You could use plastic tweezers for the pickle.

Mandy
www.littleloveprints.com


#3

Some people use wooden salad tongs. I fish things out with a plastic
fork.

Janet Kofoed
http://users.rcn.com/kkofoed


#4

Stainlees steel tweezers as well as wooden, plastic and bamboo
chopsticks work too.

Jerry in Kodiak


#5

Hi Helen,

Thanks. I’m a big fan of a multi-task tool, rather than a uni-task
on. You’ve given me a good idea though, and I will work on something
that does both. I agree, I love being able to do a soldering task,
give it a quick quench and then on to the pickle, knowing that the
Cleverwerx tweezers won’t ruin my work and become cleaned at the same
time.

One hand operations make your fabrication go so much smoother.

More cool tools on the way. Just found a local fabrication company
not from where I live who is great to work with.

karen christians
cleverwerx


#6

I used to use a pair of brass tongs for fishing things out of my
pickle bath, but since I acquired a pair of Karen Christians’
titanium cross-lock soldering tweezers, it’s been a much more simple
exercise. I use them during soldering, then without the need for
putting them down and remembering to pick up the
brass/copper/plastic (or whatever folks use) tool instead, I simply
use the same titanium tweezers to transfer the piece to the pickle
bath. I can use them to lower the piece right to the bottom, without
any splashes, and I can then use them to fish out any piece. A quick
rinse in my rinse bowl of both the piece and the tweezers so as not
to contaminate the next soldering phase with pickle, and we’re good
to go. Using them in this way, also means that my tweezers have no
gunky flux build-up, which used to be a problem when I used steel
tweezers for soldering, as I didn’t want to dip them into the pickle.
Also, the titanium tweezers are so well made and strong, that I never
have to realign the ends - something I had to do often on my steel
ones. Even though the Cleverwerx tweezers are so strong, they are
also very precise, and so make picking up even the smallest jump ring
or granule really easy. My brass pickle tongs were very large and
clunky, so picking up such small items with those was virtually
impossible.

In my opinion, they are worth the money, and I’d like to purchase
another pair (just so I have two decent pairs when I need two pairs
of tweezers for a job) and a titanium soldering pick - when I have
some spare cash. Good tools are always worth investing in, and they
will never need replacing. cleverwerx.com

Just a happy customer is all.

Helen
UK


#7

Never heard of plastic tweezers. Where would I find those?

Liz


#8
Stainlees steel tweezers as well as wooden, plastic and bamboo
chopsticks work too. 

Would the iron in the steel make your jewellery pink? I know mild
steel would do this, and stainless steel has many alloy formulas,
some are hardly stainless at all.

Regards Charles


#9

Until your copper tongs show up, try a pair of chopsticks!


#10

Using large copper tongs to place pieces into and take them out of
pickle can sometimes be difficult as the large tongs tend to "chase"
the pieces around the bottom of the pickle pot. This particularly
true of small flat sheets which used to drive me mad sliding around
the bottom of the pickle pot and refusing to be caught. However by
bending the tips of the tongs slightly to one side and filing a
chisel-like edge onto the tip on the outside edge of the bend, it
then becomes very easy to flip the piece up into the jaws of the
tongs for easy removal from the pickle.

John Bowling


#11

You can also find pickle tongs made of bamboo. Lacking anything else,
in an emergency I’d probably reach for a pair of chopsticks to fish
things out. As long as your tools has no ferrous metal in it you
should be ok.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH


#12
Would the iron in the steel make your jewellery pink? I know mild
steel would do this, and stainless steel has many alloy formulas,
some are hardly stainless at all. 

The 300 series stainless steels, the types that cannot be hardened,
are Ok. fortunately, for the most part, when you see stainless steel
tweezers or forceps or hemostats sold (surplus surgical tools, etc),
they’re generally made of these steels. So are just about any
stainless implements other than some knife blades, found in food
service items. Some stainless steel tweezers, if you leave them
soaking in the pickle, will etch, and those will cause the copper
plating reaction, but they do it only slowly. You could reach in to
retrieve a piece from the pickle without causing yourself any
problems, as this would be only a brief contact with the pickle. I’ve
seen this mostly with some of the stainless steel stone/diamond
tweezers. The cheaper ones from India/Pakistan for the most part.

And remember, you can only get that copper plating reaction if your
pickle is used enough so there’s already some dissolved copper oxide
in the pickle. If you change your pickle more frequently, you can
prevent the possiblity of this happening in the first place. It’s
more a problem for people working with sterling silver, where often
there are black copper oxides to be pickled off. Those working in
golds, where the common boric acid/alcohol dip or other fluxes
prevent the formation of those black copper oxides, are not then
dissolving much copper into their pickle either, since if it hasn’t
oxidized, the pickle leaves the copper in the alloy pretty much
alone.

Peter Rowe


#13
Never heard of plastic tweezers. Where would I find those? 

Liz, try watchmakers’ supplies. Whole Lotta Whimsy carries some too.

Susan Ellenton


#14
Would the iron in the steel make your jewellery pink? I know mild
steel would do this, and stainless steel has many alloy formulas,
some are hardly stainless at all. 

Stainless typically is not a problem when used as pickle tongs. The
chromium oxide layer that gives it the “stainless” characteristics
also prevent the electrolytic action that causes the plating of
copper from the pickle.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#15

The steel with the pickle WILL cause any free copper ions that are
suspended in the solution the plate to the jewelry in the pickle.
That copper can come from the jewelry alloy used to make jewelry. so
DON’T use steel tongs or tweezers in Sparex or or pickle.

There is a pickle, however, that one could use steel tweezers in.
It’s called Blackmagic Pickle and it’s made so you can use steel
tweezers in it. I use this exclusively for chains with the clasps
still on them because of the steel springs in the clasps. I know that
armstrong tool and supply sells it, but sure other places do also.

Steve Cowan
Arista Designs


#16
Would the iron in the steel make your jewellery pink? I know mild
steel would do this, and stainless steel has many alloy formulas,
some are hardly stainless at all.

Good point. The several pairs of crosslock tweezers I have don’t
cause discoloration but I have no idea what the alloy is. Just
assumed it was stainless.

Jerry in Kodiak


#17

I have a plastic container in my pickle pot just slightly smaller
than the pot with lots of holes poked into the bottom. It “lives” in
the pot and anything I can’t pick up with my tongs is easy to get
just by lifting the whole container out of the pot. If I had a larger
pot, of course, I’d still be using this strainer container for small
pieces. Makes is so easy to to get your pieces without using tongs at
all. Just remove, drain and dump into water to rinse. Works for even
the smallest pieces.

Michele
MikiCat Designs
www.mikicatdesigns.com


#18

I have found plastic tongs at photography stores - for getting photos
out of the developer I think. Also, at some night classes I attend we
used to have a retired doctor and he would bring handfulls of plastic
tweezers along, I thing they came from suture kits, they were
perfect, small and with serrated jaws! Try those places Philip Wells
in Nelson NZ, where its turning to winter!


#19
I have a plastic container in my pickle pot just slightly smaller
than the pot with lots of holes poked into the bottom. It "lives"
in the pot... 

I use a Tide Liquid Detergent measurement cup for this purpose. Drill
a few holes in the bottom. It’s tall and heavy duty. Lots of other
uses for these disposable cups. I hate to throw them away.


#20

We use phosphoric acid to pickle, and we don’t get a lot of problems
with ferrous metal tongs contaminating the pickle. The other good
thing is that it doesn’t get contaminated by the springs in
caribiners and bolt rings. I know that changing your pickle isn’t
the answer you wanted, but I recommend it if you can get an account
with a laboratory supply company. Usually, they just need proof that
you are a legitimate business.