Someone handed me a white brick of sal-ammoniac that was in a
workshop figuring I could use it constructing jewelry. Anyone got a
clue what it’s used for??It appears to have been around awhile by the
looks of the box but the inside brick is unused.Thanks ahead for any
answers and especially for all the info thrown about. Lisa at

This is Ammonium chloride. This is a material used as a flux for low
melting soft solders (Tin- lead) or for zinc soldering of aluminum.
Nice to have in the stockpile but not for much general jewelry type
use. Jesse

Could be Bon-Ami (sp?). I was just a youngster when grandpa used this
stuff to clean windows…maybe it was grandma, can’t remember.
Sal-ammoniac is ammonium chloride at any rate. Will Estavillo

G’day; Sal ammoniac is ammonium chloride: (sal=salt; ammoniac =
ammonia) This used to be used a great deal in soft (lead alloy)
soldering, and also by plumbers in “lead burning” (lead welding) Zinc
Chloride is also used as is a commercially available resin called
’Fluxite’. Cheers, – John Burgess

Sal-ammoniac is used for cleaning Soldering Guns and few other
things. do not use on silver or gold . it also VERY POISION. Bill D.

Sal Ammoniac is ammonium chloride. I know it is used by old
gunsmiths to brown iron, as was done in the old black-powder days
where bluing was hard to come by. I suspect it is for some patina,
but don’t have a ready reference as to what.

Karl Kuhlmann

If you think you will ever have an occasion to do any soft soldering
with a soldering iron, the sal ammoniac is invaluable as a
tip-cleaning block. Simply rub the hot tip in it for awhile until the
solder flows again on the tip. Good clean tips mean good clean joints.
(Speaking as an ex-stained glass window maker here.)

Rene Roberts

Lisa, Sal Ammoniac can be used with powdered charcoal ( 50/50 mix) as
a flux when pouring gold ingots. I found this flux recipe in The
Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight several years ago. It helps the
metal form a tough ingot that rolls or draws well. Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

It’s main use is as a refining flux. Add a small amount to metal
you’re melting, and it will help remove traces of iron, lead, and
similar baser metals, as it converts them to chlorides which are not
soluable in the melt, and slag off. But be aware that using this
stuff generates lots of nasty smoky fumes in your shop. Do it with
good ventilation. And do it only when the metal your melting is
thought to be impure, such as when you roll it it cracks before it
should. Then remelt with a bit of sal-ammoniac (ammonium chloride)
on a charcoal block, or with some powdered charcoal to help clean it
up again. One note: With casting alloys, this stuff will remove some
of the deoxidizers added to the metal that are benficial (zinc in
particular). So this is not something that improves a casting alloy
very much.

Peter Rowe

I’m not sure if this has been pointed out yet, but Sal Ammoniac is
used for patinas on copper or bronze, specifically greeny-blue.

1 Tbsp. Sal Ammoniac
1 Tbsp. salt (add more salt to make it more blue)
1 oz. plain ammonia
1 quart water

Clean the piece, and apply a thin coating of the patina (it should be
colourless) to the metal. Allow the piece to dry naturally, and then
apply the patina again. Repeat this process maybe five or six times
to get a crusty green coating. Don’t try to speed this up in any way,
just let it dry naturally, and don’t get it on your hands or breathe
it in.

(this Patina recipe is taken from “Jewelry: Fundamentals of
Metalsmithing” by Tim McCreight)