[Favorite tips] a couple of tips

I wanted to share a couple of tips today. One is a product tip the
other a sort of bench tip.

For those who have small shops where there is no separate room for
the dustier projects, you may notice that dust really accumulates on
your oiled and greased tools and equipment. Try a product called
T-9. It is a waterproof lubricant like wd40 only with one big
difference. As wd40 evaporates it leaves a sticky film that really
attracts dust and dirt. T-9 doesn’t do this. When it dries it
leaves a waxy film that blocks out moisture (the film is pretty thin
though if you follow the directions for light coatings and wipe off
the excess). It was developed by Boeing. I found out about it by
my bicycling enthusiast neighbor who gets it at his bicycle supply
shop. It is probably available in boating supply stores, too. I have
found it useful since I work in an area that is pretty dry in the
winter but is humid the rest of the year, so I need a little extra
protection from rust. My shop is very small. The rolling mill is
only 8 feet from my dust collector and 4 feet from the bench where I
do my bench polishing. Needless to say I get more dust than I want
around the mill, my pliers, burs and other assorted machinery. These
things are protected with grease, but the grease also attracts the
dust. The T-9 drastically reduces the amount of dust and dirt
collected on the gears, burs and on my bench tools. If you find
yourself in a similar situation try to find some of the product, it
may be a great help. Let me know if you find any other innovative
uses for it.

Also, I thought I would share a tip on hollow items. One of the
worst things that can occur when manufacturing or repairing hollow
items is getting acid or pickle trapped inside. The acid may dry,
but will reactivate if it gets wet again. The acid then may get on
customers skin and cause severe irritation. It is also not good for
solder joints that the acid may come in contact with. I began using
this procedure after a customer brought me a hollow bracelet that a
competitor had removed dents from. She had developed a severe skin
rash that a doctor told her was caused by a chemical burn. On a
hunch I weighed the bracelet and then dried it in a tin of ground
corn cob for a couple of hours. Sure enough, there was nearly a gram
and a half difference in weight. I assumed there had been more in
the bracelet than just water. A subsequent test with litmus paper
proved me correct. I removed the acid and kept the bracelet long
enough for the customer to heal (about three weeks) and have used the
method on all my subsequent hollow repairs and manufactured items. I
hope you all find some use for it.

After soldering and before placing a hollow item in the pickle, fill
a breaker up with warm water. Place the item in the water and put it
through a 60 second cycle in the vacuum chamber of your vacuum
casting machine. Most hollow items have some sort of drill hole or
break for gas expansion so make sure this hole is clear and open,
unobstructed by flux. Then place the item in the pickle solution.
Try to make the transfer quickly so that no water leaks out of the
hollow area. There will be some transfer between the acid and the
water but not too much. Still don’t let the item sit in the pickle
longer than is necessary to remove the flux. After rinsing put the
item in a paper towel or other absorbent material. Place the drill
hole or other gap in a downward position and pressed firmly against
the towel. Put the item back in the vacuum chamber for another cycle.
This will pull out much of the remaining water. Follow this with a
few minutes in a warmed tin of ground corn cob. You may also want to
do this after you polish, ultrasonically clean and steam the finished
item to aid in moisture removal. This may seem like too much work to
aid in moisture removal for small items, say, after polishing, but is
ideal for keeping acid out of the hollow areas. Once you get used to
the procedure and have all the items on hand it is pretty much a no

You could, as an optional method, solder and pickle as usual then
vacuum out the pickle or, depending on how much acid you believe got
into the hollow area, simply fill the remaining void by vacuuming it
in a beaker of water that has had baking soda thoroughly mixed into
it. Follow with a draining vacuum cycle. This will neutralize most
of the remaining acid but I have had less satisfactory results than
with the first method (as tested by litmus paper). You may also find
this method useful when plating with acid based plating solutions.

Larry Seiger
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler