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Peroxide & Vinegar


#1

Hello!

I’m soldering sterling to steel with silver solder and paste flux.
This works fine. I’m looking for a recipe in lieu of traditional
pickle because I don’t want to plate everything pink!

I found references in the archives to a hydrogen peroxide and white
vinegar solution. Will this work to clean the flux off of my work
without plating? If so, does anyone know what the recipe should be
and if it should be heated? If it won’t work, does anyone have a
solution?

Thanks a bunch!
Pam Farren
Newburyport Mass


#2
I found references in the archives to a hydrogen peroxide and white
vinegar solution. Will this work to clean the flux off of my work
without plating? 

Just hot water will take care of the flux.


#3

To just clean the flux off boil the work in a baking soda solution.
To remove oxides use fresh warm pickle that has never been used for
anything else. As long as it does not have a bunch of copper ions in
it the pickle will not plate them out on your work. And by using
fresh pickle you insure that it doesn’t. I typically use citric acid
pickle or sparex to clean the oxidation off of my gold and iron
rings or platinum and iron rings. But be careful the pickle will
severely etch the steel if you leave it in there for any length of
time, constantly check the progress of the item. If you do a lot of
iron or steel work get Sparex #1 (what jewelers use is Sparex #2) it
is formulated for iron and is not as aggressive to it. If you only
use it for iron work you can keep the pickle around but if you put
much sterling or any copper in it you will end up in trouble the next
time you put some steel in it.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4

I was wondering if this would take off a layer of copper? I
volunteer at a high school where the kids put the steel tweezers in
the pickle and their brass piece comes out all nice and copper
plated. Are there any ways to get it off OSHA approved instead of
sanding all day?

Thanks
Amy


#5

I wrote that paper and it does exactly what it says. It removes pink
oxides. Nothing else. Those are the pink oxides produced on silver
when pickled in contaminated Sparex. And the pink oxides that appear
on brass after soldering and pickling. Now, if folks have found
other uses I would be really interested in hearing about it. Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#6

Amy, Removing copper plate from silver is a very simple process.
Simply put about a cup of the warm pickle into a glass beaker or
plastic bowl and add a teaspoon to tablespoon of the hydrogen
peroxide. Put the piece into the solution for a minute or two and the
plate will disappear (read go back into solution). I am not sure how
well this will work with brass but its worth a try.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#7

Amy,

It’s probably not steel contamination that is giving your students
brass a cooper plating, but that the brass is depletion plating in
the pickle. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The pickle will
dissolve the zinc in the brass much faster then the copper, leaving
the surface of the brass with a copper coating. I have added
Hydrogen Peroxide from the corner drug store to warm pickle (50/50
mix) and soak the brass in that to remove the copper depletion
plating.

There will be an effervescent action as the mix is working and once
it stops the mixture is no longer useful.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#8
I am not sure how well this will work with brass but its worth a
try 

The pickle-and-peroxide mixture for removing copper oxides works
fine with brass, too. If you are wondering if it’s working, look to
see that tiny little bubbles are arising from the surface of the
metal.

Judy Bjorkman


#9

Again, a word about this H2O2 Pickle. A 50/50 mix is not necessary.
The pickle is just a starter and can be added to the warm H2O2 until
you see the reaction begin on the metal. Note that brass left in
this pickle will total dissolve. I have seen pieces left over night
etched down with the solder seams left standing. Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#10
I have added Hydrogen Peroxide from the corner drug store to warm
pickle (50/50 mix) and soak the brass in that to remove the copper
depletion plating. 

Just a quick question for all you chemistry buffs out there, since I
tend to be hyper-vigilant (OK - paranoid) about safety (especially
when combining chemicals in my relatively small studio):

Can anyone tell me what the resulting chemical compounds are from
the addition of hydrogen peroxide to pickle? I’m using Sparex #2,
and would certainly love to find an easier way to remove that copper
plating. I just want to be sure I’m not creating noxious substances
before I try it, and it’s been a long time since I took a chemistry
class.

Thanks!

Maggie B
Flying Turtle Metal Arts
Richmond Virginia


#11
Can anyone tell me what the resulting chemical compounds are from
the addition of hydrogen peroxide to pickle? I'm using Sparex #2, 

I can’t answer you from a chemistry stand point, but I have used
this mixture a lot and can tell you when you add the hydrogen
peroxide…

drum roll…

nothing happens!

No steam, no smoke, no noxious fumes.

I’d hazard a guess that the resulting mixture is just as bad as
regular Sparex, no better, no worse.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#12

My short paper on this process is somewhere in the Orchid archives
FREE. RMS actually sells it. You can also make this pickle with
vinegar and H2O2. Works a little slower and the pieces will come out
with a green smut on them. That smut pickles off in plan Sparex. No
toxic chemicals! H2O2 turns to water when left out in the light,
that’s why it is packed in dark bottles. So, it will literally go
away. Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#13

Dear Maggie,

As Bill from Reactive Metals has said, a 50/50 mix is probably over
kill. But then I have always used the drug store 2% solution of
Hydrogen Peroxide which is very diluted and have never used full
strength, straight peroxide. My post was responding to Amy with the
high school kids who are getting a copper depletion plating on their
brass. I would not suggest this mixture if I though it might harm the
kids.

When I taught at the college level, some metals studios had
ventilation hoods and some did not but both always had extremely
impatient students. I was lucky if I could get the beginning metals
students to keep the ratio down to 50%. Their rational being if a
little works well then more should work better or faster. And none of
the students would leave their work in the mixture overnight, since
the piece was usually due for grading in 15 minutes or less.

At least once a semester the college’s/state’s (?) air quality
controllers would come into the studio and test the ambient air and
under the hoods when my students would be cleaning the copper off
their brass with this mixture and there was never an expressed
concern from them that any dangerous off-gasses were being created.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#14

Standard household ammonia will dissolve copper. i.e. fill up an
ultrasonic with about 50% water 50% ammonia turn the heater on. and
leave the piece in there for anywhere from a couple hours to
overnight. depending on the thickness of the copper plating it
should dissapear nicely. this WONT work well on copper oxides. but
will dissolve a simple copper plating nicely.

Works rather fast on pieces that have been copper plated due to a
piece of steel tumbleing shot making it into pickle stuck in a
silver ring. though its been a few years since I had to remove
copper from a piece that made it into pickle like this, it worked
rather well.

Ryan Cazier


#15

My paper is passed on 3% H2O2. I hear that you can sometimes find
5%, I never did. I never even considered anything stronger.

Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#16
My paper is passed on 3% H2O2. I hear that you can sometimes find
5%, I never did. I never even considered anything stronger. 

Don’t even think about handling anything stronger. At 35% H2O2 is
used as rocket fuel, a seriously nasty and unstable material. It
will burn you and will cause all kinds of things to burn or even
explode.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#17

Dear Nanz,

getting a copper depletion plating on their brass. 

This is a good discussion on the safety of this type of copper oxide
removal. However, I think that the red material on the heated brass
is not just copper but is cuprous oxide (which is also red in color).
Yes, some of the zinc in brass may fume off at a lower temperature,
but I find it difficult to believe that the resulting copper-enriched
brass will not oxidize further, as heating continues.

The black layer on the outside of, say, soldered brass is probably
cupric oxide (CuO) and the inner layer (red) is cuprous oxide
(Cu2O). The former comes off in PhMinus (=sodium bisulfate or Sparex
No. 2) and the latter comes off in the peroxide/PhMinus bright-dip
solution (thanks so much to Bill, from Reactive Metals, for coming up
with that replacement for nitric acid bright-dip!).

Are there other chemical opinions on this?

Judy Bjorkman


#18

Yes, the red oxide is cuprous and the black is cupric.

I must have missed the email on copper depletion.

I wonder if we should move on to a discussion of our Multi-Etch
product. It contains no acid yet will etch titanium, niobium,
copper,zirconium, tool steel and we are about to get information
from the maker of uses with platinum. It will remove light fire scale
from sterling. Are there users out there with other uses? Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#19

Well, the peroxide they use to bleach hair is pretty strong. (3%
drugstore disinfectant won’t strip out your hair color.) Look for it
in beauty supply stores. Nasty but effective. I suspect they add
conditioners to it these days, but there might be some "old school"
bleachers out there.

Some of the bleached hair-dos of the fifties DO look like they were
done with rocket fuel.

Justine


#20

Hello Bill,

Multi-Etch product. It contains no acid yet will etch titanium,
niobium, copper,zirconium, tool steel and we are about to get
from the maker of uses with platinum. 

I’d be interested (I’m sure all of us will be) in the results of the
etching on platinum, and if so, would that include rhodium? I take
many painful tech calls requesting a way to remove rhodium plating.

Thanks!

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Sales & Support
800-545-6566
505-839-3000 ex 13903
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com