Etching and Red and brown stains on brass


I’ve been building a brass box that has an etched pattern on the
surface. Both the etching (with Ferric Chloride) and soldering ends
up producing both brown and red stains on the brass. Both I have
trouble getting off. In the past I’ve just sanded it off. But since
this surface is etched I don’t want to lose or soften my surface

I’m hoping someone can tell me what the red and brown stains are and
the best way to remove them or prevent them.

Sandra Wolfe

When I encounter the same problem on smaller brass pieces, I put
them in the vibrating tumbler with some stainless steel shot, and it
takes off the stains beautifully without harming the etched pattern.
If your pieces are small enough to put in the tumbler (even one end
at a time) then you could try that. Has anyone ever seen a
vibrating tumbler or a magnetic tumbler for flat pieces?


The best way to get rid of these stains is with a simple pickle that
someone put out there a long time ago. Some wizard (Peter Rowe? Tim
McCreight?) developed a recipe for peroxide pickle that works
wonders. Formula: 3/4 C. drugstore strength hydrogen peroxide, 1/4
C. grocery store strength white vinegar. Get it hot but not boiling.
Pickle with this, makes it all pink; then put it in the Sparex
pickle, pink gone. Repeat as necessary. Good for light firescale
too. If you’re coming up with the stains immediately after etching,
before soldering, this means you need to neutralize the metal better
after etching. Use clear household ammonia in a 1:8 ratio with
water. Let the piece set for 15 minutes and scrub well with a
toothbrush. Rinse in water. Should solve your problems.