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Silver Etching Complex Pattern


I have not etched anything for twenty years. I have a Job where I
need to etch a Celtic knotwork pattern into a sheet of silver for the
cover of a book. they do not want it pierced through. Questions;

  1. How do I apply this complex pattern, in the form of a resist, to
    the metal sheet? Is there some sort of printing process I can use?

  2. How do I use nitric acid to do this? Dilute it, how much? I have a
    quart of nitric that I can use but it is full strength.

  3. Is there a good book that will guide me?

Thanks Mark


Mark, You can go about this in two ways. The resist can be applied in
the form of asphaltum or a product called PnP Blue. PnP Blue or
"Press n Peel" was used in the printed circuit industry. It is
basically a low tech process which involves nothing more than an
application with heat to transfer your image onto silver. Your iron
set a low temperature works great.


You can use two mordants. One is nitric acid and the other is ferric
nitrate. Both will work with PnP Blue. Ferric nitrate is available
from Bryant Labs in Berkeley. It is a slower etch, meaning several
hours, but it is crisp and precise. Search the Orchid Archives for
my treatise on this.

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Fax: 781/937-3955
Accredited Jewelry Instruction