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Etching sterling and fine silver


#1

Hi, Sometimes I have trouble with PNP paper sticking to silver,
especially in the detail. I realize that too much detail will always
be a problem and I take care in my drawings to minimize detail as
much as possible. I scrub the raw silver with 000 steel wool and wear
gloves but I still get inconsistent results. I am wondering if using
diluted muriatic acid to clean the silver would work better to help
the adhesion of the PNP? I am also wondering if the metal should be
annealed prior to etching? Does sterling react differently than fine
silver when etching? I really like the process ofetching but I would
like more consistency. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thank, Nanette


#2

Hi Nanette,

Steel wool has oil in it to prevent rust. The oil is inhibiting
adhesion. Scrub with a clean scotchbrite pad, or sandpaper, or
pumice and water. Rinse thoroughly. As you rinse, watch to see that
the water “sheets” off, rather than droplets adhering. Dry without
touching, using lint-free towel.

I hope this helps!
Cynthia Eid
Cynthiaeid.com


#3

Hello Nanette,

I do a lot of etching and hate PNP for that very reason. I don’t
have a laser printer but when I do need detail I go to my OfficeMax
and as for HP presentation paper and a dark print. I apply fist by
scuffing the metal.

Then dip in denatured alcohol. I put it on a flat griddle with paper
towel down first then silver apply the cut out print. I have the
griddle set at 250 degrees F. I set a timer for 2mins 30 seconds. I
press on the top with wadded up paper towels lifting every so often
to get firm even coverage over the print. When timed out I put it in
a vat of water and let the paper soak off about an hour. I use a baby
soft toothbrush to remove any excess paper or my thumbs being gentle.
Any paper left on the toner I leave alone since the acid will not do
anything to organic like paper. This is the last piece I did it is 1"
wide by 2" long.

Hope this helps.
Robin


#4

Thank you Cynthia, I had no idea steel wool had oil in it! Does
etching work better on silver which has been annealed?


#5
I had no idea steel wool had oil in it! 

The only thing on my workbench I accidentally set fire to, in 25
years, was a small piece of steel wool. It can burn nicely.

Judy Bjorkman


#6

I don’t know whether annealing helps, but I did once see an etched
bowl where the depth of the etching appeared to vary according to
where the metal was and was not work-hardened by the sinking process.
So. maybe.

One thing that I have incorporated into my etching protocol for
silver is to etch the silver briefly (one minute in nitric acid)
after cleaning but before applying the pattern. I find that the
etching causes the ink to adhere significantly better than any kind
of scrubbing, sanding, etc.

Noel


#7
I had no idea steel wool had oil in it! The only thing on my
workbench I accidentally set fire to, in 25 years, was a small
piece of steel wool. It can burn nicely. 

Yes, steel wool is an accelerant. Some folks shove it into mouse
holes in the wall, thinking mice won’t chew through. I guess maybe
they won’t, but if it comes in contact with an electrical fixture,
it can start a fire in the wall.

Lorraine