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How to get soot and solder balls out of my pickle


#1

Hi

I am presently a gold smithing student and have just set up my first
small home jewelry studio and purchased my first torch. I was
annealing some copper without flux the other day and it turned
really black. I then dropped itin the pickle and the soot floated
off which is great. But now I have a lot of soot pieces floating
around in my pickle. It was the first time I had worked with copper.

Also when I was learning how to use my new torch (which is a lot
different than my school’s torch) I couldn’t get all the solder
balls to melt on my piece when I was soldering brass. When I put the
piece in the pot a lot of the solder balls fell off and are still in
the bottom of the pickle. I laterlearned how to give more torch more
heat and got the solder to melt but now I dont’ know how to clean
the soot and the balls out of the pickle.

Should I just throw the pickle out, ignore the stuff in there, or is
there a way to clean it somehow. I had thought of a plastic fish
net, the kind used for cleaning fish tanks, for the soot, but how to
pick up the solder balls? icouldn’t do it with those big copper
tongs.

Catherine


#2

Hello Catherine,

I get the ‘soot’ flakes in my citric acid pickle after balling up
the ends of copper wire for headpins. Frankly, I don’t worry about
the stuff. If you can’t use your tweezers to pick up the little balls
in the bottom of your pickle pot, pour the cooled liquid through a
mesh strainer like is used in the kitchen. Don’t use a metal mesh
strainer though. There are plastic one available very cheaply.

Judy in Kansas, where the strawberries are ripe and survived the
recent frost. Turtles are enjoying fresh fish too.


#3

After soldering copper, i always drench it in a containerof water
into which all the black oxides drop drop it into the pickle for
further cleaning. esh batch. Alma


#4

What kind of pickle are you using? I pickle brass all the time and
never get soot in the pickle. Black stuff (copper oxide) comes off
the jewelry pieces in the rinse water, after I’m done pickling, and
then eventually the “soot” in the rinse water just disappears on its
own.

As for the solder balls, just pour your pickle into another
container. the balls will stay at the bottom of the first container
and can be spooned out and rinsed. Then pour the “cleaned” pickle
back into the first container. Or, assuming you are using something
like PhDown as your pickle, just put on a rubber glove and pick the
solder balls out of the pickle by hand.

Have fun!
Judy Bjorkman


#5

Depends on how big of a pickle pot nthe size you will need for this
technique. Using my kitchen skills, you get a glass bowl. Old and
well dinged is fine. Just make sure that it will hold what you wan to
filter only to about 1/2 full. Then you get real expensive and invest
in two more items. One coffe filters, the cheaper the better. Next
Wal Mart and like have really cheap plastic strainbers that are sort
of bowl shaped with a handle. Mine are red. You get three sizes in a
pack. Now take the strainer that will sit high enough in the bowl,
that the volume of pickle you will filter is below the bottom. If you
are my hubby, you have to hand hold him on this step to make sure he
is doing what you said. Now with cool or better, cold pickle, pour it
through the coffee filter lined strainer. At your leisure you can
pick out the little balls. Make sure that you rinse them well. And if
it is my son, the next step is one of the hardest. At least he
listens and eventually (within 3 weeks) will throw the used filter
away. Once all of this is done, pour the now filtered pickle back
into the pot. Heat and enjoy. I find doing it all my self takes less
than 10 minutes from start to finish. When I had my knee replaced, it
took my husband and son about three weeks to accomplish this from
start to finish. The keystone father and son, made a mess of my
laundry room which once I was able to clean, waited patiently for me
to attend to it. I could have just had them make up fresh pickle, but
I was pissed at them, and thought it would be more fun watching them
grumble and stumble through the process. I buy pickle by the 5 gallon
bucket from Rio, on my way past them in the summer. Saves on shipping
costs.


#6

I’d take it outside, lay a throwaway piece of cloth on the ground
that’s big enough, push an indent in the center with my knuckles,
and slowly pour the whole mess onto the cloth so that it filters
through it. Then I’d put the cloth and its contents in my refiner
bucket, and run the hose on that spot for a little while.

If it’s just soot you can get it out by dipping a paper towel into
the liquid. The soot will stick to the paper towel.

Paf Dvorak


#7

I’d take it outside, lay a throw away piece of cloth on the ground
that’s big enough, push an indent in the center with my knuckles, and
slowly pour the whole mess onto the cloth so that it filters through
it. Then I’d put the cloth and its contents in my refiner bucket, and
run the hose on that spot for a little while.

If it’s just soot you can get it out by dipping a paper towel into
the liquid. The soot will stick to the paper towel.

Paf Dvorak


#8

I use the little holder for a drip coffee filter with a coffee
filter. Takes a few minutes and it seems to work better. (Maybe I am
wrong on that lastpart but I like to think so.) I let the filter dry
with everything in itand throw it into my scrap bucket to send to my
metals recyclers.

You teacher did teach you about keeping everything for recycling,
right?

Gerald Livings


#9

Someone mentioned filtering using a coffee filter.

May I respectfully suggest that if you do a lot of filtering of
liquids you invest in a vacuum flask/buchner funnel connected to a
hose aspirator.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81db
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81dc

Paf Dvorak


#10

Question here. Are you quenching in hot pickle? Probably not the
best idea, as doing so can drive pits into your solder, not to
mention boiling and spitting pickle. Quench in water first and your
pickle will stay cleaner and last longer here.

I use a small plastic mesh strainer for tiny things to be pickled. A
steel tweezer in your pickle when you are fetching silver will coat
the silver copper. It’s a salt plating kind of thing. Copper or pure
titanium is fine.

Mesh strainers can be purchased on Amazon.

-k
karenchristians.com


#11

That would have been me. I will pick op one of these sets soon. I
can use it for filtering my plating solutions also. Thanks for the
tip Paf!

Gerald A. Livings


#12
That would have been me

Yes. I was going to write you offlist but assumed the list members
could probably profit from the info as well.

I got the largest sized filter and vacuum bottle available to me.

And I use this device for many applications including wine making,
gold refining, etc.

Don’t spend your money on fancy special round filters. Use cheap
coffee filters. Be sure to wet the filter before using it.

I will pick op one of these sets soon. I can use it for filtering
my plating solutions also. 

Just FYI, I filter my rhodium solution by simply pouring it through
a 3M toxic particle mask. Very effective and very cheap and fast. The
mask goes to the refiner.

Paf Dvorak


#13
Someone mentioned filtering using a coffee filter. 

May I respectfully suggest that if you do a lot of filtering of
liquids you invest in a vacuum flask/buchner funnel connected to a
hose aspirator.

Since I was the one who mentioned coffee filters, I have to say that
looks nice.

But for filtering pickle it is over kill. How many of us are going
to regularly filter the pickle? As for lab equipment they are not that
expensive. But a $1 plastic strainer, and some coffee filters it is by
comparison expensive.

It is also something that if I let some of my students or fearing
the worst, my husband near it, it would be in pieces. Plastic and
paper are hubby proof.

If really pressed for cheap, you can layer paper towels over a
plastic cup.

Easy enough to get one of those solo plastic cups free. Most of us
have paper towels or napkins from some place we have eaten at.

From the original posters description, they seem to be counting
pennies. 

I already know that using paper is not the environmentally correct
way to go.

I reuse my paper towels for many things until they get holes through
them.

Another idea would be to get the larger size plastic food container
that things like yogurt comes in. The ones that hold 24 to 32 oz.
Warm the lid so that the center of it deforms to make a semi bowl
shape. The plastic will get thinner as it deforms.

You can do this by using warm salt in a frying pan to heat the
plastic. Trick is not to let the plastic hit the pan itself, but keep
it in the salt. Then using our nice little small sized drill bits,
make a series of holes. Replace the lid on the container and you now
have a really cheap self made re-purposed strainer and saved $1.

Being bowl shaped you don’t need the paper to filter unless you want
the black gunk out.

Aggie, child of an uber frugal depression era mother.


#14

I actually filter my citric acid pickle a couple of times a year
because it develops an odd fungus-like organism. It may be due to
light exposure as I have it in a clear HDPE container. I use this
coffee filter: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81dq

hang it over a clean container, then pour the pickle through it. I
then empty the newly filtered pickle back into the transparent
container.

I use this same filter when making pre-ban ivory or ebony dust. I
place it over my 4" dust collector inlet, turn on the dust collector,
then using a rotary bur start grinding away while the dust collector
sucks every last bit of material into the filter. No muss, no fuss.

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com


#15
But for filtering pickle it is over kill. How many of us are going
to regularly filter the pickle? 

Oh I agree. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life filtered pickle.
But I filter other things and it’s good to have around.
I don’t have any husbands, etc. bumbling around my shop either.

Paf Dvorak