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Odd Cleaning


#1

I have an odd cleaning question. I have some gold chains that have a
fair amout of hair and lint from fabrics caught in them. I was
wondering what might be a good way to remove it…I was thinking
something like Draino to burn out the organic matter.

Will Draino be a problem with Yellow, White or Rose gold? or are
there other ways to get this stuff out?

Thanks
gWebber


#2

What you want is classic red-devil type lye (sodium hydroxide), the
drano formula also contains salt, aluminum, and sodium nitrate; all
of which may not be alloy friendly. It’s gotten harder to find
because it’s one of the raw materials for an illegal drug compound
process, so many retail outlets have.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#3

Two words, Heat and Ultrasonic. One great ultrasonic cleaner…1
part Simple Green to 3 parts water.

I use this for cleaning out gunk in my torch tips and found it the
perfect solution to cleaning out my flexshaft cable. Don’t forget to
grease it VERY WELL and make sure it is DRY before lubricating.

Noooooooooooo Drainoooooooooo. That’s lye and incredibly caustic.
Unless you clean every spec of Draino out of your chain, the smallest
ppm could cause burns on your skin.

-k

M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854
www.metalwerx.com


#4

I doubt it would be a good idea to use Drano, but you could just
anneal the chain and it would burn out the organic material and not
harm the metal. Then you would probably want to work harden it so
the metal would not be too soft. That was the first thought that came
to my mind. Others may have better or complementary ideas!

Good luck,
Laura


#5

gwebber,I would use my torch and burn off the flamable material you
describe. Just don’t melt your link solders or chain. This should not
be a problem if you are careful in your flame appliction.

jyv


#6

This post has prompted me to ask if there is some way to clean out
your torch tips if you don’t have an ultrasonic?


#7

Laura,

Since most chains are made from solder filled wire, I think that
annealing would be a bad idea. Try pickling the chain for a couple of
days (take the clasp off if it is a spring type clasp) then put the
chain in the ultra sonic for a while. Most everything will come off.
What is left can be removed with tweezers.


#8
Will Draino be a problem with Yellow, White or Rose gold? or are
there other ways to get this stuff out? 

I have used Draino or Lye for just such situations on many an
occasion. Works great. Remember to clean out the lye when done.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Benchjeweler


#9

Draino is not pure lye and therein lies (pun unintended, yeah sure)
the problem. The other constituents can react with some metals. In
another post today I list a source for pure lye.

I’ve used lye innumerable times without problems, you just have to
watch spillage, particularly if one opts for heating the solution.
NEVER add lye to hot water! And never mix lye with anything else. A
violent bursting reaction may ensue. A tiny drop of hot lye will
cause pretty good irritation, even if you don’t feel it right away.
Wear adequate protection.

On something like a chain rinse exceedingly well, at least til it
doesn’t feel slippery anymore. And then some more just for good
measure, like an overnight soak. If there are any stones besides
(unfilled)diamond involved I would shy away from lye.


#10

my gas man has a set of “needles” as fine as hairs in a handy little
metal thing that looks like feeler gauges…they are 6 inches long
and are wires from 34 gauge to about 28 gauge. he cleans orifices on
gas hotwater heaters, gas lights and torches with them. seems like
you could make your own set easily…he dipsthe tips inalcohol if
htere is carbonization on the metal being cleaned before using
them…R…E.R.


#11

Depends on the torch type.

For any torch tip, you can obtain small reamers from your local
welding supply.

Smith acet and air, they are larger and I have found it difficult to
scrape out the residue. The ultrasonic works best. They also have two
rubber o- rings which must be ordered directly from Smith. They are
cheap, but necessary. Checking the rings on a monthly basis is a good
idea. If you see cracks in the rings, replace them immediately. Our
torch tips get a major workout at the school, but they are workhorse
of gas tips.

For the little torch, the reamers work well. Natural Gas or Propane
Oxy, there is less buildup. No ultrasonic here though. You should be
using only tip sizes 4-7. The ruby insert will get too plugged up.

For oxy/acet on the Little Torch, the tiny reamers are perfect for
the small ruby tip.

Water torch, best to speak with Spirag.

However, I haven’t tried using an ultra sonic on the Little Torch.
Guess I should try it out.

-k

M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854
www.metalwerx.com


#12

Grace

I got one of this torch cleaning kits from the welding shop, it is a
whole bunch of very small twist drills and a holder. Except for
Smith, I have never found a tip they would not fit.

Terry


#13

Dear Grace,

Cleaning torch tips is done with - Drum roll please - A tip cleaner.

Get the torch tips in hand and go to a welding supply store. They
stock tip cleaners. They will show you how to use them. There are two
types. One type is very small drill bits in a hollow handle DO NOT
BUY THIS KIND. I have poor luck in using this type without breaking
one of the drill bits off in the tip.

The other type is a set of wire reamers with small groves in the
wire. The wires are held together in a folding holder like keys.
These DO NOT BREAK EASILY. I have used them for 35 + years. Get two
sets as they do wear out and the un used ones will make reamers for
gold/silver. There is a small file included with which to reface the
torch tips ends. What type of torch are you using ?

Ask to be shown, The sales people are likely guys. They will most
likely fall over themselves to be of help.

Robb.


#14
This post has prompted me to ask if there is some way to clean out
your torch tips if you don't have an ultrasonic? 

I have found that boiling them in white vinegar is very effective.


#15

Hi Robb,

I have a Smith acetylene/air torch. I’ll have to ask about a kit the
next time I take in my tank. I never knew there was such a thing -
thanks for the info.

Grace


#16
I have found that boiling them in white vinegar is very effective. 

This sounds like a good, inexpensive idea too. Has anyone else tried
this?

Grace


#17
my gas man has a set of "needles" as fine as hairs in a handy
little metal thing that looks like feeler gauges..they are 6 inches
long and are wires from 34 gauge to about 28 gauge. 

You can get something just like this at any welding supply place.
They are usually simply called “Tip cleaners”, not sure if that is
the technically correct name or not, but that is exactly what they
are used for. Google “welding tip cleaners” and you will find lots
of examples.

Cheap, too!
AL A.