Your nitric bath might need a touch up. Couple of questions:
1) is your nitric bath sitting open to the air?
2) do you pour your solution back into an empty glass bottle and cap
If you answered yes to the first question, then I suggest storing it
in a closed glass container.
If you answered no, then I would ask, what kind of water are you
diluting your acid. Regular tap water has all kinds of weird things
in it these days.
To get consistent results, I would do the following.
1) Remix a new solution with fresh nitric and de-ionized water. This
is not the same as distilled, but close. You can use distilled just
fine, but de-ionized is better. Depending on where you live, a
university or bio science firm can give you a gallon for free. Tell
them what you are using it for and they often can give you friendly
suggestions. You might even make a sale of your jewelry!
2) Make sure of course that your solution is stored in a closed
glass container. Again, a university or bio science company could
give you a clean glass container from one of their chemicals,
provided it is scrupulously clean!!! If they cannot, order one from a
biological supply catalog, Fisher, Perkin Elmer, they are all online
3) Forget nitric and use ferric nitrate instead. Works great, just
4) Removing PnP blue. Finger nail polish removal is fine, which in
its pure state is just diluted acetone. Get a quart of pure acetone
from the hardware store. It's handy stuff to have around anyway. PnP
blue is plastic and acetone will eat some kinds of plastic. Do a
little test first. The other is just burning it off. It's just
plastic, and should burn away with very little heat.
I cannot stress enough regarding ventilation, safety glasses, etc.,
when you are working with acids, but you probably know this already.
Think of me as the flight attendant on your 62nd airplane ride. You
know the stuff, but its good to locate the exit doors in case of an
Lastly, when you are performing tasks of this nature, you have to
get out of the "I'm an artist" mindset and think of yourself as a lab
tech. You are absolutely correct to post this to the group. I can't
tell you how many times with my students, that it is one thing to
design a piece of jewelry for which your artistic merits sing, but
once you do, you need to switch modes and become a mechanic,
scientist, metallurgist, etc.
Deconstructing your designs and figuring out the order everything
must be built is what makes well crafted work. What makes you the
artist is the accident in between and working towards making them a
Good luck. Write again if you have questions.
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio