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Firescoff - New Firescale


True, but the boric acid didn't cost a dollar or two! If a project
is too big to pickle easily I can see how this stuff could be a
boon. Otherwise, I think this is going to be a tough sell." 

I am focusing on the nontoxic issues in my studio and the Firescoff
allows me to eliminate the pickle without being exposed to more
chemicals that can cause birth defects so it has nothing to do with
the size of the pieces, although they have been soldering like a
dream. I just received the Cypronil and STop Ox from RIO and they
both have warning labels on them about birth defects and that they
are to be used with pickle so they are being returned immediately! As
I have said before MY choice has been health over money. Perhaps it
is because I am a woman and most of these issues affect the health of
a pregnancy for us and not the men. If someone can suggest another
product that elimates these risks and works well and is inexpensive I
am open to hearing about it. For now I will pay the money and enjoy
my new Firescoff.

p.s. the jewelry industry has been notoriously bad about health
risks over the years and it is high time we all become aware of what
the long term effects are of what we are breathing in our studios. I
count myself among the many jewelers who have polished for years
without a mask assuming that the vacuum system was all I needed.
WRONG, the dust is in the air regardless and I breathed it into my
lungs, now there is an air purifier right in the polishing room and
it gets covered with black dust within a week which shows how much
goes into the air…and my lungs. Does anyone know of other chemicals
which we used often that we should be aware of besides…polishing
compound, pickle, flux, silver soldersi

Beth McElhiney


I find your arguments odd against Firescoff. First off you have never
addressed the elimination of pickle and the Non toxic issue that
Cupronil does not solve. Also I do not understand why anyone would be
soldering something antique finished anyway as the antiquing would
burn off in the heat process or be removed by the pickle as well as
with silver your surfaces should be as Clean as possible for good
soldering? Therefore no risks of miniexplosions (which I have never
experienced in 25 years of working with silver) should be an issue in
the first place…

and thermoguard or siliquar paste for stone protection-barring wet
wadded newspaper in a pinch,is still my champion) 

Who would really use wadded up wet newspaper to protect stones when
soldering??? Paper + heat source = Studio Fire…note from your
friendly neighborhood volunteer firefighter…

Cheers everyone,
Beth McElhiney

I am focusing on the nontoxic issues in my studio 
I have said before MY choice has been health over money.

Ordinarily I don’t personalize my posts but this one begs a reality

First I find it amusing that you are going to choose a new, untested,
problematic product over a reliable less toxic product like Cupronil
that has been on the market since 1975, was developed by a native
american ( and while we are here-aren’'t native americans purported
to have an innate sense of respect for the earth?), prevents
firescale, is a firecoat and is water soluable,.and lacks the
hydrolyzed silicates present in Firescoff. What do you think “ceramic
in matrix” is actually? It is glass/sand that is liquified in
essence. If you think that is less toxic than borax, i will be the
first to say- nay- that’s right, I’m a nay sayer in this
instance…nay, nay…In fact, i find it more amusing that in your
quest for health you are going to send back two products rather
thatn neutralize and dispose of them properly…what’s worse, the
fossil fuel consumption in the round trip to your door, or a label
that says it may be hazardous to your health, or fetal health?..and
who issued the labels…if you are trusting the government then this
is moot!

Secondly, you are probably more exposed to chemicals taking a bath or
a shower if you live in a city, than the health risks from non-
flouride, or non-hydrochloric acid based liquid fluxes, like
Cupronil. Your pores let in all sorts of chlorines and other
contaminants in the shower or bath than the combined risks of using
fluxes if you are responsible in their use and wear a respirator. How
often do you change your respirator cartridges? How many microns of
particles pass your nose on the way to the " air purifier", and why
is it turning black in a week ( that black can be recycled by
refiners it is traces of gold or silver and many companies turn that
into credit- albeit through a combustion and chemical process)? If
you want to be most healthful ionic bonding forces the particles
bonded to…ions down onto the floor or surfaces due to their weight
being heavier than room air, after which you can then - simply-
vacuum with a rainbow brand vacuum cleaner that traps everything in
water, rather than in a bag or canister, then wipe down every tool
and surface daily if you think your health is that affected…Also
how does that air purifier get powered?, by the sun, by wind…nay i
say! i’m betting you plug it in a wall and pay a bill at the end of
the month…again, i am amused at the statements, and paranoia
generated from a label that is required to be put on anything
containing chemicals by various regulatory agencies. If california
feeds massive doses of everything to anything of course the potential
for health risks to humans, aquatic life, and fetuses are
compromised…What do you know of the methodology that gains a warning
lable like you are buying into? What makes you think for one second,
that Firescoff has been tested at all for any risks. We know it has
complications in regards to waterways, it doesn’t spray right and
consequently drips down a user’s hands ( if not wearing nitrile
gloves) when the bottle gets low, or seal is “off” at all, among
other problems, and ones yet to surface. Cupronil has been around
since 1975, with nary a claim made against the manufacturer for
health related illness. on the contrary, it is among the safest
fluxes on the market, barring borax and water, or boric acid,borax
and alcohol, with superior results.

Everyone is perhaps aware that using micro finishing sandpapers
eliminate the need for pickle at all- but there are safe pickles
available as well: for example, citric acid, glacial acetic acid,
and hydrogen peroxide- if used responsibly all are as harmless as
setting lemon juice in the sun to reduce it…if misused all pose
certain heaalth risks, so its all in the application and the
applicator…and the perspective. If global health is not your concern
then return those products and use tons of electricity and fossil
fuels to get it from your door to the suppliers. It all depends on
one’s point of view and the larger picture, versus the smaller one,
and an individual’s choices. I live in a house powered by the sun and
wind and water, and have gravity delivered spring water exclusively
and it gets to my spigots via a sealed clay pipe running through the
forest, and the water goes through a filter i designed that contains
charcoal, sand, gold and silver particles and silver mesh before it
recieves a flash of ultra-violet light produced by battery operated
contact that is triggered by pressure- then i drink it, shower in it,
use it, distill it for jewelry making, and water my animals with
it,etc…I’m betting you live in a city and are exposed to chlorinated
and flouridated water for bathing and cooking and other water
requirements in everyday life…I’m also betting you brush your teeth
with sodium bicarbonbate and flouridated water - at best- the risks
from swallowing are far greater than the risks of exposure to
contaminants from using cupronil properly and with protection to your
hands, eyes, and respiratory system…If you swim in a lake or a pool
your health is more compromised than through the responsible use of
fluxes and soldering practises. It’s all about perspective.

I’m also betting in your quest for healthfulness you shop at a health
food store. I personally find them a mecca of marketing ingenuity; to
proffer onto the buyer that they are contributing to global health is
ridiculous at least. Excessive packaging is the selling point in
health food stores, if it were not, and people truly thought about
the ramifications of specialty shopping, they would buy everything
out of bulk bins, saving trees, and eliminating the plastics
profusion, and encoraging smaller scale production methods to deliver
healthful products in a responsible way to the target markets- that
is the same people who propose to care about their health and the
environment…the packaging doesn’t lie. Labels lie…Everything
containing chemicals has a label on it- and every chemical if
ingested in large enough quantities has adverse affects… And what of
the testing methodology that gains a label?..again, perspective and
whether or not yours is small or large scale and truly thoughtful
about every facet of a given thing…from its origins, to production,
to delivery, application, transport, and toll it takes on the planet
before it arrives at your studio…Its a similar situation with
organic foods industry. I would no more rather purchase a product
that comes with dirt clinging to it than i would believe it is better
than a product that has been rinsed and exposed to uv light ( we are
not talking about redio active waves, but light waves).If a field is
certified to not have had chemicals applied to it in 7-10 years
great, but what about the people that harvest those products and the
conditions that they experience in that chemical free field?
Scientific evidence largely points to the harvesters and a
corre;lation between the lack of sanitation and hygenic facilities
for workers in the produce industry, organic or not, and the large
amout of e.coli and other vastly more harmful things than borax
entering into the food chain, and the reproductive cycle of man and
animal…Do ou know how or wher eyour produce is handled? and how is
it packaged? …so what is worse?? its all in an individuals choices
and the reality of a given topic…I happen to find it unconscionable
that you would return the products and state that you chose health
over money…it seems a bit selfish given the global picture, no? What
does focusing on non-toxic issues really mean, in a studio, silver
itself is a toxin if you ingest a large enough quantity of it…
Perhaps i have become jaded as an industrial health consultant, and
former anthropologist, but one cannot make jewelry without chemistry
and exposing oneself to risks…Jewelry making is about taking risks
as an artist. Its the responsible informed application of the person
creating the pieces that is what safety boils down to, not trusting a
label, or a new product that makes unsubstantiated ( as yet)
claims…and if money is of no concern where there are health matters
at hand, then throw some where it will make a difference…I know of
an american city in utter ruin at present, with bodies yet to be
found in ruined homes, and no one has the money to rebuild or even
get back to reclaim their possessions, and the federal government
has done nothing, nor has the state, nor city, nor rest of the
world…except Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt, who moved there to
bring awareness to the dire situation that makes it like a fourth
world country…it is truly a health hazard on a large scale…it all
depends on one’s perspective and based n reality… So
if yu truly care about world health, and not just your own, get out
the sodium bicarb and neutralize the fluxes and don’t consider
sending them to whence they came…then take some 100% post consumer
waste paper and wrap the plastic bottles or containers they came in,
removing the components that won’t break down first, and toss it -
where?, in the trrash, destined for a landfill, and where is that
landfill? in your city or mine, or in the ocean somewhere on the
globe??? And what about the components that won’t break down
readily- like the tin, or alloyed and perhaps cyanide based plating
on the metal used in the spring of the sprayer assembly? What will
you do with that? burn it?, dissolve it in aqua regia?..then what???
I must admit my frustration with statements like yours regarding
womens health being more important than mans health, and your studio
being somehow less toxic than anyone elses when I’m betting you are
not so removed from consumerism as to not even consider the effects
of your actionson a larger scale…June Culp Zeitner has lived to
over 90 as a lapidarist and jewelry maker. She began when asbestos
was de riguer to jewelry making and many chemicals were used with out
protection other than common sense.She has no adverse health issues
from her art and craft to date…

Who would really use wadded up wet newspaper to protect stones when
soldering??? Paper + heat source = Studio Fire...note from your
friendly neighborhood volunteer firefighter... 

This attitude ticks me off a little…well, a lot. I have used
little pieces of wet paper towel and newspaper for many years to
protect stones and solder joints as needed. The paper pulp has
excellent wicking properties when immersed in a cup of water. This
really works when the piece itself cannot be immersed because of size
or shape. Try doing large enameled bracelet hinges. I learned this
before the lazer welder came around. Also works well when a piece can
not be buried in wet sand because the sand could scratch the metal or
stone! NEVER have I had a piece of paper catch fire much less begin
to smoke. My god, it is soaking wet… Common sense, simple
attention, and safety. Dip the paper in the water when you are done.
Simple fire prevention isn’t?

I have never found any of the commercial heat protectors trust
worthy enough to satisfy me that it will protect my client’s stones.
I even remember using dampened asbestos fiber a few times way back
when. Now doesn’t that get you dander up? Newspaper, paper towels,
saw dust, sand, and common sense. Come on people…think, don’t just
react blindly.

End of rant. Please send comments on the back of a $50 bill.

Bill Churlik

Who would really use wadded up wet newspaper to protect stones
when soldering??? Paper + heat source = Studio Fire...note from
your friendly neighborhood volunteer firefighter...

Yesterday, when removing some decoration on a three stone Bali
sterling pendant that the customer that purchased it did not like,
my employee cut through the bezel holding a large cab. Took out the
cab, put wet paper towel around the two faceted stones that hung
down, held in place with locking tweezers, used a small piece of
silver, tinned it with solder, and welded it over the hole about an
inch from the wet paper towel using a really big flame (#7 smith
torch tip). Towel steams and sizzles, but solder melts before water
can evaporate. Carefully sanded down and polished, saved the piece
and relieved my employe from the embarrassment she was feeling.

Been there, done that, will be there again,

Richard Hart

Who would really use wadded up wet newspaper to protect stones
when soldering??? Paper + heat source = Studio Fire...note from

Uh, lots of people would. You solder quickly before the newspaper
dries out and catches fire. And you have water ready to put out any


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I stated that there are alternatives that are as safe as soap, or
borax and water, or boric acid and borax and alcohol…( citric acid,
etc.) And if you don’t want to use pickle -fine,use sandpaper or
micro abrasives-effective and…simple ! -still no airbrushing

Cupronil IS superior in my experience. Tried, and tested since the
70’s, and relatively non-toxic- is cheaper, sprays a fine mist
consistently ( for years) doesn’t crystallize, or cost a fortune,
…and will not harm fetuses- or at least any of my friends who are
goldsmiths that have had kids that have all come out just fine and
without birth defects or genetic defects, etc- some of their parents
even smoked pot-and perhaps dropped LSD… Woo ! dangerous, if you
believe what you read (not that I’m promoting, or condoning the
reemergence of a widespread cultural deviation from the 60’s) !
Again,Everything sold that contains elements, and compounds has to
have a label, and California’s labelling laws are over -the -top with
scary warnings that don’t apply to any real life use ( provided you
have intelligence when using X) but are true to mice, rats, and test
animals that are force fed, or otherwise have massive exposure to
massive quantities of things that would give anything an adverse
reaction given the methodologies used to gather data…

Firescoff has many problems, in my experience. They haven’t begun to
work out the details or kinks at Nventa: it doesn’t spray right -
I’m on my third trial bottle ( 1 oz.) of the stuff! and the
"nitrogen" (yeah, right!) will be released from the packaging once
you depress the sprayer, or paint it on, in multiple coats to
accomplish what they claim…additionally,.It is tres expensive and I
had to inform them and question some early MSDS regarding
waterway safety they published- if you think for a second that this
stuff isn’t toxic, you are lacking in research, at least…I know
what I’m talking about ;earlier i posted the response from Mr. Passe,
who is a nice man, with a not fully tested product that costs too
much,and probably won’t be around all that long -If Nventa is only
distributing 2ml samples, and gathering “insight” from Orchid
discussions, I’m wondering where their budget is- i haven’t heard of
the other products they make - so draw your own conclusions from a
marketing perspective, if no other! we’re talking flux
here!..something that should be cheap, quick, and when used properly
has negligible health risks -unless your nasal passages and
respiratory system is directly over your work and sucking the vapours
in-repeatedly and deeply…I don’t solder like that- do you???

Wet wadded newspaper has been used since before Oppi Untracht
published his works in the 60’s,probably since newsprint was
available to humans- since jewelry making pre- dates judeo-christian
civilization ! I know of teachers ( in gold and silver) that extol
its use to this day. It is a highly effective insulator,& to question
that is ridiculous- better yet- try it…If its wet enough you,but not
dripping(simply because its messy at that point) it is very
effective at stone protection, doesn’t charr, and comes off without
chemicals- You should applaud that possibility based on what you
wrote! !! You will not have a fire in any case, unless you are using
a cutting torch with hydrogen gas for example on a 10mmx8mm stone on
a paper covered work surface, perhaps with some greasy rags nearby
while distracted, and possibly on speakerphone with a lizard loose on
your bench…please !- that you have not heard of this is
remarkable…its cheap, precedes any compounds that cost a lot more (
although i like the vigor product and thermashield quite alot), and
will even protect opals ( in my experience), and the teachers that
profess its virtues to students on an ongoing basis at William
Holland, J.C.Campbell, Arrowmont, Penland, and Wildacres, the SNAGnet
aggregate, and i think its even in Tim McCreight’s book-“The Complete
Metalsmith”- and those are just a few of the places I have heard of (
or read) various teachers telling their students of it- Funny, but
most of the students are happy to know of a cheap, non toxic
alternative when they are in a bind for a stone protectant.Further, I
would not trust firescoff to begin to have the insular properties of
wet, wadded newspaper.So - in your opinion, old timers still teaching
this wadded newspaper paste technique are are all wrong and promoting
a studio fire ?, I think not…

I have seen people solder after oxidising or otherwise patinating
silver and gold. Potassium sulfide ( liver of sulphur) and hydrogen
cause explosions in rare cases-its a basic chemical fact and
documented-.let’s see I read that, where??? Oh yeah, Harold
O’Connor- are you saying he’s wrong too??. I have seen people execute
techniques i would never attempt. Additionally I detest the way
LiverOfSulfur looks on anything,and everything- its personal
preference- and I don’t use the stuff, or have it in my studio, home
etc…and what about its toxicity–it FAR exceeds that of any flux-
but you use it, hmmm… So you are selective about the toxicity you
are willing to be exposed to- and that’s where and why I even
responded in the first…I am always amazed at the choices people make
and perceptions about good and bad…that "politically correct"
randomness never has seemed very valid to me.

I think its worse to return product over miles of roadway, involving
the customer returning a product’s,office resources in preparing the
package,the vehicle to bring it to a drop-off ( since you deem it
hazardous are you going to pay the hazardous shipping
attached???),the electricity involved in operating the meter and
lighting to run the building at which its being posted, a mail
carrier that picks it up, and the main mail truck that takes it to
another zip code, then the delivery truck to back to the
supplier…that seems a far worse for the larger picture of
consumption and global health,and a frivolous use of fossil fuels
that young guys are dying to defend, than the 80 cents worth of
baking soda to neutralize the products - or better yet, donate them
to CERF for people that loose everything to acts of nature, or a
school, or senior center, or lapidary club, (since you said money is
no object to you…).- than putting anything extraneous in our already
over strained and beyond its carrying capacity eco-system…

I get really edgy when people make statements thinking that they are
unique in their suffering of the environmental hazards that are
played upon them., and at the center of a perceived universe in
which their actions are of no reaction to the rest of the
universe…or even their neighborhoods…I find it personally,
extremely distasteful when anyone makes seemingly politically correct
statements about "health over money "and still uses toxic chemicals
and other far worse substances accompanied by thought patterns that
tax the planet- or a more closed area, and have no consciousness of
the larger scope of their actions and practises…So from the “houses
of the holy”…i give you my opinions and wonderment at continued
avoidance of the truths that i addressed, and I know, that you,
didn’t get it at all…

This, will be my final post regarding Firescoff…

Use cotton wool. And yes it can catch fire too but so does metho and
Boracic, so does oil in the ingot mould and so does gas coming out of
my torch. We use fire so we need to be prepared for things to go
wrong. A bit of newspaper catching fire on the bench is no cause for
alarm if you are prepared for it.

I’m not really impressed w/ Firescoff. I tried it a number of times-
got annoyed when the sprayer kept getting clogged. Then I wondered
what was in it to cause that clogging. Hmmmmm… The stuff did
not prevent firescale as promised. Boric acid & alcohol does a
better job. Went back to my old standby-flux. The bottles are
unfortunately just gathering dust on my soldering bench. I wanted it
to work as I mostly work on silver and thought I would be able to get
rid of the nitric acid step. Oh well, guess I’ll keep venting the
acid and continue. Ruthie