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Rio Pickle not working

I’m completely frustrated. I am using Rio pickle (brand new) in a ceramic crock pot set to high heat. I’ve mixed 2 cups of water with at least 1/2c pickle. I have copper tongs, no steel to be found. There are only 4 pieces in the pot. Oxidation is not coming off. This is oxidation from using Vigor and or Black Max, not soldering oxidation or natural oxidation. What am I doing wrong? Is it possible the crock pot is not hot enough? Arghhhhh. Thanks in advance for advice on this totally boring problem!

Polish off the oxidation and the next time you need pickle, buy pH down at Walmart, Lowes or the pool store. It’s a lot cheaper and works just as well. Good luck…Rob

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I think the oxidation you get from using these tellurium-based compounds is more tenacious than the oxidation you get from heating the metal in air. It’s intended use is to blacken areas you want to stay dark, while it’s polished away from the areas that you want to contrast with it. Removing it might take physical abrasion. But there’s nothing the matter with your pickle, or your pot. Next time, just put it on areas you want to darken, not all over the piece.

Thanks Rob,
Rio is sending me a new batch on their dime.

Will remember the pH down for next time!

Thanks, Jane

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Yes, this makes sense considering what was happening in my pickle pot!
I kept the pot, got some new pickle from Rio and will polish away the oxidation that I want to remove. I am usually careful about placing black max etc. but sometimes it gets too dark. Thanks for the advice!

Hi Jane
I am not familiar with Black Max. I generally oxidize with liver of sulphur (LOS) . When I want to remove LOS oxidation, I gently heat the piece with my torch. The heating drives the oxidation off. I then pickle and brass brush. This removes all evidence of oxidation. I don’t know if this will work with Black Max, but it would be simple to try.

Gently heat the piece prior to placing in pickle to clean oxidation. You may have to repeat this a couple of times. You didn’t mention anything about stones but if included in the piece use mechanical methods of removal

Another, frowned on, but works is to dip in TarnX. You need to give good scrub with soap and water after.

Thanks everyone! I tried applying heat to the pieces without stones which did help remove the oxidation and then gave it a good scrub with my brass brush. Ultimately I polished most of it off with my flex shaft and a polishing wheel. That stuff is stubborn for sure. LOS comes off more easily. Have never tried the TarnX but hey if it works!


Jane Bartel Jewelry


213 810-2176

I defer to Jeff Herman regarding Tarn-X. I believe his suggestions would be in the archives ( I don’t know how to access them) but he’s the expert and doesn’t like it. If you’re there, Jeff, please step in to explain. I used to use it decades ago to clean my grandmother’s tea service; I’m sort of glad she can’t see what happened to it…
Please find another way to clean your stuff.



I also saw the common electro-clean method with a stainless steel pot and aluminum foil in the bottom referenced in Tim McCreight’s _Practical Metalsmith_but Jeff doesn’t like that, eiither. I wish he’d chime in here. I posted about cleaning silver plate to my tuba forum…use only the least abrasive polish and sparingly, and I got absolutely no traction there. People like what they’re used to and don’t realize that if it “works good” it is probably taking off more plating than if it works less good. And a tuba is staggeringly expensive to have replated. Complete disassembly, and needs a very big silver plating bath and lots of silver. “Experience keeps a dear school, but some will learn no other way.”