I’ve been making jewelry commercially for about 5 years now, working
primarily in enameling, sterling… and some nu-gold and copper. I’m
interested in plating small areas or sterling or fine silver with
I have a Midas pen plating system, and just reviewed the wonderful
Ganoksin Archives. However, I find myself more confused than ever
regarding cleaning prior to plating. I Get that the surface has to be
pristinely clean, it’s just not completely clear to me what the
best/reasonable method is… and if I can avoid buying More Solvents
to keep and store, that would be good. Besides, Rio was out of one of
them, which prompted my searching in the first place!
Rio’s catalog says that you have to use their "electrocleaning"
and acid solutions. I saw the comments on using lye (and the
difficulty in obtaining lye) in the archives. Can I use a solution of
washing soda (sodium carbonate, not sodium hydroxide) instead? It’s
pH is 11 (very very basic) vs that of lye which is 13 (even more
basic). It’s a log scale, so that’s a pretty big difference. On the
other hand, washing soda is still easy to get? Maybe a longer soak?
Likewise could I use vinegar as an acid rinse? Again, it’s a very
weak acetic acid, but it might work? I read a caveat somewhere that
one has to be careful to not get vinegar close to the cyanide based
plating solutions, since it releases the cyanide into the air (is
this true???), but it seems that as long as you rinse well with
distilled water first, it might be ok?
A couple of the sources suggested a good soak in alcohol and/or a
short cleaning in the ultrasonic. No base/acid blahblah. Will this
really work? Seems like it would save me a lot of trouble, but I want
the sturdiest possibly plate on these puppies.
Thanks for your help and indulgence…
Barbara Louise Bowling
Louise’s Leap Studios
2700 Harmony Street
Boise, Idaho 83706