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Small parts basket

First let me say, “phew.” After a week off, I’m still getting through
my 400 and some odd e-mails. I love this group of prolific and
talented folks.

Here’s my question. I remember reading something about making a small
parts basket out of the top of a laundry detergent cap. I think
that was in reference to use with a sonic cleaner, but does anyone
know if this would work with a pickle bath? Would the plastic cap
cause any contamination problems with the pickle?

To make the basket, all I did was drill holes in the bottom and
sides. I haven’t tried using it, however. If it does work, it will
be a lot quicker than trying to pick up small pieces out of the
bottom of the crock pot with tongs.

Tracy’s Treasures

Hi Tracy…

I have been using plastic baskets in pickle for a few years now, and
I wouldn’t be without them! Instead of using the laundry detergent
cap like you mentioned, I use plastic baskets that strawberries and
blueberries are packaged in sometimes (they’re green and cage-like).
Works like a charm, and a great way to recycle household items.


I use an empty film container. It’s small enough to fit in my
pickle without a problem and easy to retrieve.

Just drill some holes in the bottom and sides


Hi Tracy. I made a “small parts basket” out one of the plastic caps
which came with my laundry detergent. As you did, I also drilled
holes in the bottom and holes for a handle which I fashoned out of
a piece of copper wire. I have been using it in my sparex pickle for
years with absolutely no problems.


I’ve seen this done at art centers – though usually with small
yogurt containers. Doesn’t seem to cause any problems. Another
option is to use a smaller pickle pot. Small enough to put on a mug
warmer. Unless you’re making silverware or candlesticks, do you
really need a whole crockpot of the stuff.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to FInd Tools for Metal Clay


I use a drilled out film container for my small parts in the pickle.
I never had a problem with it harming my pieces or my pickle

Plastic laundry caps with holes works here for pickle. I have also
cut off and put holes in the bottom of plastic containers. And added
plastic coated wire handles to lift them with. Plastic berry baskets
from grocery also work. University where I attended grad school used
a copper bowl with holes in it in the undergrad area. I did not
understand adding even more copper to pickle than came from student
projects, but there are some teachers that teach what they have
learned and/or always done without questioning or thinking.

Hi Tracy,

I use small plastic strainers ( sorta what you use for pasta or
flour ) they are hard to find i have mostly found them at thrift
stores and yard sales, but once you find one it will last you a long
time, thats if you just Don’t melt it.


I use Japanese tea bags - they are empty tea bags (2"x3") and you
can fold the top over so nothing gets lost. $2.95 for 60 in
Chinatown and I use chopsticks to get them out. Great for loose tea

I got tired of picking extremely tiny parts out of the pickle with
tongs, so I found a stainless steel tea ball with tiny perforations.
I tried a ceramic one, but it didn’t like to stay closed and the
holes were too big for my project pieces.

from a gadget-o-holic in soakng wet SoCal,

Laurie Cavanaugh


For many years I have used a plastic kitchen flour sieve with the
handle removed in my pickle pot. This has small enough openings to
catch even the smallest item and has had no effect on the pickle.
Make sure the sieve is all plastic and not plastic coated metal.

Regards Eric

Small parts baskets means a trip to the junk yard. Take a look in
the windshield washer fluid reservoir. Often there is a great little
strainer basket that just lifts out. I have never found anything
ready made that is finner meshed. A trip to you local pool and spa
supply can also yield some great basket.


Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734
E-mail- @Michele_Deborah_Bill

Hi Tracy

   Would the plastic cap cause any contamination problems with the

Nope, I never experienced that

   To make the basket, all I did was drill holes in the bottom and
sides. I haven't tried using it, however. If it does work, it will
be a lot quicker than trying to pick up small pieces out of the
bottom of the crock pot with tongs. 

Today, I use a tea strainer consisting of two half globes of
stainless steel mesh kept together by a springy handle. Just a dream
to pick up small parts - and I mean really small parts - from the
pickle and flush them under the tap while still in the strainer. Has
worked for years.

Hovever the handle is attached to the half globes by copper rivets
that eventually will be etched away by the pickle (I use hot
sulphuric acid), but luckily I found another on a garage sales which
is kept as a spare.

Be sure however that there is no iron/steel in the strainer or you
will be pickling silver and gold and getting copper out of the pickle

Niels Lovschal

I got and saved the tubs that stuller sends strip wire in glued to
the under side of the tool shelf to put my small files in works
good for me one tube one file

Don in Idaho

I use a piece of fine stainless steel screening which I formed
roughly into a basket shape. It’s perfect even for pickling shot.
High quality stainless steel won’t cause copper deposition problems
in your pickle.

I purchased the screening from Small Parts

(I sure don’t remember paying as much as this page lists, however;
maybe because I didn’t have to buy a full square foot.)


i use the plastic cover that comes off of my acetelene tank for small

One of my kids made me a parts basket years ago (still using it)
from plastic mesh used by embroiders. Comes in various mesh sizes.
She used plastic lacing to put it together and to make a handle with
a little hook to suspend it from the side of the pot. Works great on
small items and flat items that are difficult to get off the bottom
of a pot. Easy to remove and rinse the parts without losing them.
Took her 20 minutes to make it, and has lasted for 12 years and
counting. Also, a boullion jar (a.k.a. Wyler’s Boullion) is made from
tempered glass, fits on a cup warmer, and will hold most items
bracelet sized and smaller. Baby food jars also work, but the metal
lids are problematic for storing the pickle, where as the boullion
jars have plastic lids.

How about the “reusable” coffee filters available in the grocery

These are made from extremely fine plastic mesh fused to a stiff
plastic frame, and wouldn’t contaminate your pickle. I don’t think
I’d recommend actually making coffee with these things, ever, but
I’ve used mine for everything from dyeing porcupine quills to
rinsing etchant off teeny seed beads. Give it a whirl - they’re


Jessee Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio