Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Removing accidental copper plating after pickling


#1

Hi,

I was asked to repair a silver colored chain that had broken. There
is no hallmark on the piece so I was prepared for the unexpected when
I soldered it back together. Well, that part worked just fine. So, I
figured it must be silver and dropped it into the pickle pot. Bad
mistake. It is now partially copper plated. Is there a way to get
that copper plating off again? There is probably little material
value to the piece, but it is a keepsake, so I would like to fix it
if possible.

Thanks,
Birgit


#2

I don’t think that you will have much luck removing the plating
especially if it is a fine one. You might be better off biting the
bullet and having it silver plated.

Roger


#3

When I did that I dipped it into nitric acid. It fizzed rather like
AlkaSeltzer for a few seconds and then stopped. It really was just a
few seconds - certainly less than 10. When I took it out the copper
had completely gone. I then rinsed it thoroughly in clean water.
CAUTION, nitric acid is nasty stuff. Do it outside and wear
protective gloves and eye protectors.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

Your pickle was contaminated with steel. Mix a new batch of pickle
heat up the chain a little and throw the chain into that.

Wayne Carvalho


#5

Brigit, first just a small admonishment. Never work on a piece until
you are certain what it is made of! The copper ‘plate’ might be a
galvanizing or it might be the loss of a silver plating exposing the
copper base. If it is the former, it means there was some ferris
metal in the piece or in the pickle. To remove it, take a small cup
of the warm pickle add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and dip it.
The copper should go back into solution. If it is the latter,
wellllll, good luck.

Cheers from Don in SOFL


#6

I’m not sure why yours did that, but I’ve pickled chains that came
out copper plated because I forgot that the spring inside the clasp
was steel

Jason


#7

Use 50% peroxide and 50% pickle and drop the piece in, it will clear
the copper up in just a few minutes.

Lloyd.


#8
I figured it must be silver and dropped it into the pickle pot. Bad
mistake. It is now partially copper plated. Is there a way to get
that copper plating off again? 

Freshly mixed, never-before-used pickle (soldium bisulphate pickle,
like sparex or ph-down) will slowly remove it, especially if it’s
warm or hot, if it’s not too thick. Or, to that same fresh pickle,
add a bit of hydrogen peroxide (the stronger stuff you get at a
beauty supply store, not the very weak 2 percent solution sold as a
cleaner/antiseptic in the drug stores… Makes it considerably more
aggressive, but the mixed solution remains active like that for only
a day or two at most, at which point it’s once again ordinary
pickle. After use, the pickle/peroxide mix can be added back to your
regular pickle pot.

Peter Rowe


#9

Ok, a very quick search in the archives will come up with the
hydrogen peroxide pickle papers. If you would like the original
paper for your own I have sold it for 50c through Reactive Metals
since 1981.

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


#10

Peter, you are saying that once the solution is a day or two old you
can pour it into your existing pickle?Wow! I did not know that!
Geeze, it is the simple things that make my heart smile the most at
times!

Thanks


#11
Peter, you are saying that once the solution is a day or two old
you can pour it into your existing pickle?Wow! I did not know that!
Geeze, it is the simple things that make my heart smile the most
at times! 

The peroxide (H2O2) degrades fairly quickly. The result is ordinary
water (peroxides degrades simply by loosing it’s extra oxygen
molecule. That oxygen and it’s ready availability is what makes
peroxide useful. It’s a strong oxidizer… But after that extra
oxygen is gone, and the result is just a bit of extra water, then
you’re left with ordinary pickle. Even if you’ve not waited long
enough for all the peroxide boost to the pickle to be gone, you can
still pretty much add it to your normal pickle pot. Kind of
supercharges it for a little while, but for most of the uses we have
for pickle, this causes no harm that ordinary pickle wouldn’t also
cause. Exceptions are, obviously, copper based alloys, which are more
strongly attacked. But silver or gold don’t care. The whole reason
for mixing the peroxide pickile up fresh is simply that you’re
attempting to dissolve plated out copper. No sense tempting fate
with more copper still in a solution at the same time you’re trying
to remove copper flashing.

Peter


#12

Pickle and Hydrogen peroxide work very well together,

But the hotter the solution, the more aggressive it becomes. It can
act like a much stronger acid pickle.

Do not heat it above a moderate temperature as it works faster than
you would believe.

I saw this with my own eyes.

Thanks for still being there.

Robb