[Orchid] Working with Titanium
Someone on this thread mentioned hydrofluoric acid's use as a glass etchant: If you're looking for a safe alternative, try Dip n' Etch solution, which is sold through many bead and lampwork suppliers (i.e., beadcats.com). It's reusable and relatively safe (don't drink it), it smells like burning caramel, and it works beautifully. I use it to create matte finishes on seed beads.
Folks, I have to take this topic up even though I usually just read.
I have been making lampwork beads for 9 years and I etch a lot of
them. I am working on an article for Lapidary Journal on this and in
the process did a lot of research on Ammonium BiFlouride (Ammonium
Hydrogen Flouride) which is what is in Dip-n-Etch. I also work with
chemists, who were horrified to find that you can buy products like
Dip-n-Etch at Michael’s. HF acid will seep into your body and attach
itself to calcium in any form it can find. That means if you spill
it on your finger or are wearing a glove with a pinhole in the
fingertip, it will seep in and DISSOLVE the bone in your finger. If
you spill enough on you to cover the back of your hand, it can kill
you. If it can’t find enough calcium in the area of the spill, it
will take enough of it from your system that your heart will stop -
nerve synpases need calcium to communicate and without it, the
nerves stop controlling things like your heartbeat. Go to google and
do a search on HydroFlouric Acid or Ammonium BiFlouride and read
some of the horror stories!
Years ago the only glass etch product most lampwork suppliers
carried was Jack Frost, and when Dip-n-Etch came out many
lampworkers touted it as ‘safer than Jack Frost’. This misconception
is very dangerous and sadly perpetuated.
The precautions to take include wearing gloves, face shield, and
long sleeves, if possible work under a hood, and next to a sink.
Keep Calcium Gluconate gel on hand and apply to any area you have
spilled Dip-n-Etch on, go directly to the emergency room. This gel
can be purchased from Attard’s Chemicals
Always get a material data safety sheet for any chemical product you
work with. If not from the manufacturer, then from a web site like
http://www.astrochemicals.com/18018.htm - [this one is Ammonium
BiFlouride MSDS info].