I think I am missing some subtlety in the process of taking a
piece out of pitch, removing the pitch, and annealing it.
Personally, I always just melted off the bulk of it, then wiped off
as much as I could of the rest with mineral spirits on a rag, instead
of burning it. Burning it off can be done, but it does burn, smoke,
and leave a residue of ash that’s not as clean as if you actually
remove the pitch. For smaller work, I use a wide mouth covered jar
filled with mineral spirits, and just soak the work. Doesn’t take
long unless your sitting there watching and twiddling your thumbs
waiting. instead, cover the jar, go work on something else for a
bit, and when you come back, the work will be clean. An ultrasonic
in which to suspend the jar will make it work a LOT faster. Do take
care to dry off the solvent before hitting it with a torch flame.
Am I just to impatient? I read that the pitch should just turn
to a gray ash and come off. Well, for me it has caught on fire,
(too hot I guess) or done nothing but get glossy and stay mucky.20
things turn to ash after the organic parts burn. It doesn’t just
somehow change from pitch to ash at a low temp. You are burning off
the organic component of the pitch. If there’s just a little surface
film, it won’t lead to actual flaming gobs of pitch, but it’s burning
even so. That’s why I always removed as much as I could first.
Burning it seems to messy and smoky…
I am using the black pitch that came with a starter kit from rio.
How long should it take for pitch to turn to ash at a low temp?
If you switch to the red or black GERMAN pitches that you can get
from Allcraft, or the black pitch sold by Northwest Pitchworks (I
think it’s still available, but not sure) you’ll find both of them
much easier to remove cleanly. The standard pitch sold in the US is
an alsphaltum based product. Messy, smelly, and burns at a somewhat
uncomfortably higher temp. The more costly but much more responsive
German chasing pitches or that from NW pitchworks are rosin or pine
resin based, easier to work with, easier to apply and remove, and if
you chose to burn off residues, it happens at a lower temp too.