Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

How to remove the glue on amber


#1

Hi! My mom asked me to customize her gold ring with amber. The amber
is set and fixed on the ring vessel by glue. I tried to removed it to
put into hot water about 70 degrees Celsius /about 21.1 degrees
Fahrenheit after warming up the amber ring over the pan the steam to
warm the piece. then the ring sat in the hot water during 10 minutes.

I picked it up and obviously could recognize the top of the amber
surface became clouded.(as if frosted glass)

also the amber didn’t removed from the vessel…

could anyone help how to remove amber safely and how to remove the
clouded surface muddiness?

Masa


#2

Good question. I’d be interested in the answer to that too. In my
experience amber is very hard to unglue, especially when you use
epoxy. It’s there to stay. A while ago I was considering repurposing
an amber ring into a pendant but I was unable to get the stone out no
matter what I did. Fortunately the ring eventually sold.

Janet Kofoed


#3

We’ll need to know EXACTLY what type of glue was used before
recommending a solution.

Unfortunately, soaking amber in hot water results in water being
absorbed into the amber, hence cloudiness. It MAY disappear with
prolonged but VERY gentle heating (no more than about 110F), possibly
for a few days.

Think of amber as tree sap, because that’s what it is. Hopefully. It
might also be sap from the copal palm, that’s a different, but
common, material. They are quite similar organic materials, and, most
solvents that will attack adhesives will attack the amber even
faster. It might also be re-constituted amber or simply plastic, but
the problem is still the same. I would say that unless your “glue” is
a simple water based fish or hide glue, you’re out of luck.

Wayne Emery
thelittlecameras.com


#4
Good question. I'd be interested in the answer to that too. In my
experience amber is very hard to unglue, especially when you use
epoxy. It's there to stay. 

Don’t boil it.

I very gently heat the ring until I can start to smell a bit of
epoxy, then stop. The amber will likely come out now and you can pick
off the glue with a fingernail.


#5
Good question. I'd be interested in the answer to that too. In my
experience amber is very hard to unglue, especially when you use
epoxy. It's there to stay. 

The problem with ungluing amber is that it’s also a resin, and as you
may have noticed, epoxy sticks to it very well. Plus, amber is heat
sensitive, just as is epoxy. However, a piece of amber epoxied to a
piece of metal (the ring, etc) CAN be removed by heating the piece to
soften the epoxy. However, what you have to do is be aggressive and
heat it fairly strongly and quickly. The torch flame (if that’s what
you use) of course cannot be directed at all at the amber, but only
at the metal. If you heat the metal hot enough, quickly enough, the
bond between the metal and epoxy will weaken and soften enough for
you to pull the amber out, before the heat has a chance to penetrate
the epoxy layer enough to damage the amber, and as likely as not,
once the amber and remaining epoxy are out of the ring, you’ll be
able to pick off the remaining epoxy, especially if it’s still warm.
In any case, there will always be some chance of damage to the amber,
especially when removing remaining epoxy, or if you heat too slowly
so the amber also gets hot. But if that damage is just to the
surface, such as scrape marks from removing epoxy, the amber is
easily repolished. This is not all that different from removing glued
on pearls. Pearls also have organic material so also cannot be
strongly heated, yet removing them is usually considered pretty
routine… If you work quickly and confidently, you’ll have success.
if you’re too timid and cautious, you’ll be taking too long, and the
heat will get to the amber before you manage to pull it free.

Peter


#6

How about using acetone to dissolve the epoxy?

Carina


#7

Google! “removing glue from amber” will give a method safe for
amber. Little slow but it works.

Sigi Eurich


#8

Acetone: Not on Amber…but if you are real adventuresome…might
try my newly found loosener? SALIVA

I know it is gross, but handy, in your own space, and very handy…I
discovered that it works when I had put Superglue on cracks in my
thumbs and it was becoming a bit snaggy…the kid in me said to put
the thumb in my mouth, and believe it or not, soon the epoxy was
loosened and removed.

I have since been using saliva to loosen the nails off the backs of
stones that I am grinding to become cabs! Takes a bit of push with
the exacto knife, but works.

I know Peter will probably give me a lecture on this too! HAHA


#9
How about using acetone to dissolve the epoxy? 

Acetone is the usual solvent for super glues (cyanoacrylates). It is
not especially effective on epoxies. The commercial solvent,
“Attack”, which if I remember right is mostly methylene chloride (is
that right? not sure I’m remembering that right) works better.

But test before using, and be very certain exactly what the stone
is, ie a good piece of amber, or one of the treated or otherwise not
quite natural versions.

Even the best saber is also a resin, and not resistant to all
solvents. Amber also can vary some from sample to sample, so some
pieces might be more affected by any given solvent than others.

And as I mentioned above, you have to be careful, as some of what is
sold as amber, isn’t exactly so, but another resin, usually copal, or
an imitation, or a reconstituted amber, which may also behave
differently from amber itself. Some of them look very convincingly
real. One also occasionally encounters pieces that are in effect,
lots of bits of amber in an epoxy or other resin matrix. These fakes,
if done with epoxy, obviously would be affected by any solvent that
also attacks epoxy glues

Peter


#10
How about using acetone to dissolve the epoxy? 

Sometimes it makes the amber craze.


#11
... I had put Superglue on cracks in my thumbs and it was becoming
a bit snaggy...the kid in me said to put the thumb in my mouth, and
believe it or not, soon the epoxy was loosened and removed. 

OK. Except for one Leeetle detail. Super glue is cyanoacrylate, not
epoxy. And in your experiment, I’ll bet the action was that moisture
loosened the bond between your flexible and hydrated skin, rather
than actually attacking the super glue in any way…

I have since been using saliva to loosen the nails off the backs
of stones that I am grinding to become cabs! Takes a bit of push
with the exacto knife, but works. 

I’ll bet it works the same without the saliva too, if you’re using
super glue (which is brittle and not so hard to crack away like that.
Not so much with epoxy. But I’m guessing you’re not using epoxy here
either. If you do, heating the nail is much easier. The epoxy (or
super glue too, for that matter) will loosen quickly by the time the
stone itself is just getting warm.

I know Peter will probably give me a lecture on this too! HAHA 

Am I that bad? Really? And if so, did the above meet your
expectations? If I ever sound too much like I’m lecturing or
pontificating, please feel free to kick my butt off my high horse,
and most likely, go check to see if my blood sugar is getting too low
(which can turn me into a totally short tempered idiot. Normally, I’m
merely a good natured, if long winded, idiot… :slight_smile: )

Peter


#12

Thank you for a lot of advice everyone! I read all of them and
considered which procedure is secure for amber. Finally I chose
Peter’s advice which heating the ring very quickly as below.

what you have to do is be aggressive and heat it fairly strongly and
quickly. The torch flame (if that's what you use) of course cannot
be directed at all at the amber, but only at the metal. If you heat
the metal hot enough, quickly enough, the bond between the metal and
epoxy will weaken and soften enough for you to pull the amber out,
before the heat has a chance to penetrate the epoxy layer enough to
damage the amber, 

It perfectly works! Although I was afraid of burning out the amber
but it could be success in 3rd time challenge! I’m pretty much
appreciate for all of your kind and worthy advice.

Hopefully I’ll help someone next.

Masa


#13
How about using acetone to dissolve the epoxy? 

I’ve tried that to no effect.

Janet Kofoed


#14

Rose – you better bottle that and apply for a patent since it is
definitely unique before someone else does!!!

Barbara on PEI during a busy day!


#15

Peter, I was just joshing with you…Love all the suggestions that
you give to this Forum. I don’t think you are on a high horse. I am
taking your retorts honorably and pull in my horns! I too have low
blood sugar!

By the way…OK Super Glue is different from Epoxy…I guess I knew
that…but was impressed by the activity.

BUT…I do use Epoxy - 5 Minute Devcon - to glue in the sections of
the Channel Inlay, and I have been using Saliva to help get rid of
the left over Epoxy - you know - spit and scrub! IT DOES WORK! HAHA

Keep giving us all sections of education that we may have missed
somewhere along the line!

Lovin’ it.
Rose Marie Christison


#16

Freezing certainly does affect superglues adversely. You remember the
guy who hung by his hat from an I-Beam in the comercial? Can’t happen
in the winter in a cold climate. Barbara on an evening when the flu
is winning


#17

On a similar note, Rose Marie, I’ve heard it said that Mother’s spit
will remove tar from the chrome on a car!! Amazing stuff and used by
mothers everywhere to cleanse faces & eye glasses, remove paint
drips, and lube tight-fitting snaps!

Judy in Kansas


#18

Hi Peter,

Yes, “Attack” is primarily methylene chloride, same active
ingredient as paint stripper. It is toxic in the EXTREMEand a known
carcinogen. Aside from that, it will dissolve amber on contact as
will acetone.

A prolonged soaking in cool water might loosen an epoxy or super
glue from amber, but the amber will also probably absorb some of the
water and become cloudy. I’d think the most direct solution is to
obtain a new piece of amber and cut it to fit.

Wayne Emery
thelittlecameras.com