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Reticulated silver end results


#1

I reticulated a small piece of (retuclating-80/20) silver (my first
time) and so I have a question on what the results are supposed to
look like–on the back side anyway.

Is the back of the silver, after reticulation, supposed to have a
coppery color to it?

I’m thinking that in the process of bringing up the fine silver for
about 6-7 times and then running the torch to reticulate may have
something to do with it - - that the copper was all that was left
towards the bottom of the sheet.

I was hoping to use the piece without a backing but it is very
unsightly.

Can someone tell me if I did something wrong - or is that the way
the back of reticulated silver is supposed to look. If so, is there
something I can do to get the color back to silver.

Also can I solder additional pieces to the reticulated silver or
will the texture that was created be affected in the process of
soldering?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Ruta
Designs by Ruta


#2

The coppery color on the back is probably due to insufficient
pickling. Just give it a good long heated soak. In fact give it
several in between heating it up to a dull red and plunging it into
the pickle. I know it causes spitting but if you can do it without
risking your hands and arms it should work.

Tony Konrath


#3

If you aren’t already I would suggest giving your silver a good
scrub on both sides with steel wool or brass/steel brush ( or even
baking soda if you want something less abbrassive) in between
picklings. This helps remove the copper that you are seeing. This in
combination with Tony’s suggestion will do the job the fastest.

Good luck.
Kelly Allanson


#4
Is the back of the silver, after reticulation, supposed to have a
coppery color to it? 

When you reticulate reticulating silver, the back should look exactly
the same as the front after pickling. It should look like shiny
silver and the choice is yours to use the front or the back as the
front of a piece. I had a similar problem a while ago and I got
really tired of it. The sparex I was using did not only contain small
light brownish granules, but also thicker one (maybe two which stuck
together). They look more brownish. When heating the pickle, they
create a filthy sort of slime. I suspect that not only does this
slime not pickle the piece, it actually makes it dirty. I got black
and pinkish spots on my silver - the pickle was not contaminated with
anything else. It is not the first time that this happens. I decided
not to use Sparex anymore. I ordered some pickle at Fischer in
Germany (Allpex - natriumhydrogensulfat). If your piece only shows up
pink on one side, clean the pad you are using. As for soldering, you
can use hard solder on reticulated silver. Burnish the area where the
solder is supposed to flow first.

Leach


#5

Another way is to use the old ‘alchemist’ trick of soaking it in some
pickle with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide added. Same with brass
when the copper comes to the surface after heating. Takes some time
but it works.

Cheers,
Don in SOFL


#6
I had a similar problem a while ago and I got really tired of it.
The sparex I was using did not only contain small light brownish
granules, but also thicker one (maybe two which stuck together).
They look more brownish. When heating the pickle, they create a
filthy sort of slime. I suspect that not only does this slime not
pickle the piece, it actually makes it dirty. 

That brown gunk seems to be an impurity found almost universally in
any package of Sparex pickle. My guess is that they’re buying their
sodium bisulphate as an industrial byproduct, rather than as a proper
technical grade chemical. Perhaps it’s uses previously in some
process where some oil or corrosion preventative ends up
contaminating the chemical. Don’t know. But the junk certainly does
no good for the metal or the pickle that anyone I know has ever been
able to discern. I once tried to actually phone up Grobet (the
distributor) to inquire about the gunk. A sales rep on the other end
who must have thought I was an idiot, tried to tell me that the brown
stuff was my assurance that I was buying genuine Sparex pickle, as
though this were some badge of honor or something. I told her I
suspected she didn’t actually know what she was talking about, and
that ended the conversation.

Since then, instead of buying anything labeled as jewelers pickle
(they’re all a bit overpriced) I buy the sodium bisulphate packaged
for pool, hot tum, spa use as a means to lower the ph of the water.
This product can be found in hardware stores. labels like “Spa
down”, “Ph-down”, and others. It’s essentially pure sodium
bisulphate, the same chemical in sparex, with the addition of a few
percent anti caking agents, so the powder pours and doesn’t clump up.
It’s inert in the pickle. With this stuff, that costs about half of
what sparex does, or less, no more brown junk making a mess of
everything. Works great as a nice clean pickle. If you need more than
small amounts, any decent chemical supply company can sell you
technical grade sodium bisulphate, and this sort of source might be
the cheapest of all.

Peter Rowe


#7

Many thanks to all who responded to my inquiry. Today I put the piece
in hot pickle and let it sit for about 30 minutes - the coppery color
was almost gone - I brushed it with warm soapy water and a brass
brush and then it became gold colored (from the brass bristles, is my
best guess) - so I made up a solution of picke and hydrogen peroxide
and put the reticulated silver piece in that - instantly the brass
color was gone - - for the mostpart, doing what was suggested by you
all worked -

…still, there are many small bumpy areas that are somewhat dark
gray on the lower part of the bumps (instead of the copper color
that I had) onthe back side.

I may try to polish it with some Zam and see what happens but
thought I’d ask for addition input if anyone has it. Thanks again -

RUta
Designs by Ruta


#8

Ruta,…sounds like you may have a bit of fire scale there. It can
happen when the layer of fine silver (the part being reticulated)
ends and you get back into the silver/copper alloy. I would be very
careful about using polish to try to remove it. You might also remove
the layer of fine silver and get into an even worse problem. Instead,
heat the piece till it is at annealing temp (best to do this in a
darkened area and you will see an ever so subtle rose red) hold for
about 30 seconds and then quench directly in the pickle. You might
need to do this 2 or 3 times to raise a new layer of fine silver
which will cover over the firescale. Then, don’t plan on polishing it
or you will remove that layer again.

cheers, Don in SOFL.