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Sparex Pickle Granules


#1

I have a 2 lb can of sparex pickle which I purchased about a year
ago. I opened it up today, and the granules are brown. If I’m not
mistaken, Sparex crystals are whitich granules. I decided to try
some anyway, and after about 10 minutes of soaking, the watchband
I’m working on came out just as it went in. No change. Has anyone
else encountered this problem?

Happy Holidays,
Jed


#2
I decided to try some anyway, and after about 10 minutes of
soaking, the watchband I'm working on came out just as it went in.
No change. Has anyone else encountered this problem? 

Yes I did. The metal was flaking off into the mixture - I bought some
new pickle from Rio and it is in a plastic bag.

Cheers.
Sharon


#3

I’ve never really liked Sparex. Believe it or not I use PhDown, the
stuff they use for adjusting the Ph in swimming pools! It works
GREAT!!! You can purchase it in 8lb containers at Home Depot and it
only cost me about $12.00 as of 5 yrs ago. Use about two heaping
tablespoons (48cc according to the scoop I use) per quart of water.
And, at $12.00 for 8lbs of the stuff it’s a hell of a lot better
bargain than any “commercial” pickle! What I have now will probably
last me the rest of my life if I live to be 90 years old!

Cheers, and best wishes for the Holidays!

Gem


#4

well Sparex…hmm, bad product that is widely used…before its current
incarnation in a plastic bag ( that doesn’t zip correctly!) they
[krohn industries] packaged it in “enamel lined” cans…that weren’t
really enamel lined at all, but were modified paint cans coated with
a chemically resistant polymer.I called the owner of Krohn on four
occasions for technical which anyone selling chemicals
is supposed to give up freely, in particular MSDS copies, etc. I was
met with rudeness, and serious insults each time [ the guy actually
asked me if i was going to eat the stuff on call number one…on call
two- if I wanted to know what the inert ingredients were ( he
proffered that they “made the product work better”- to which i asked
"why then were they inert??") this must be due to my lack of
intelligence and possible intent to poison someone. the third time
was to request a MSDS, which i have not yet received over a year or
so later.Beyond the generally intolerable insulting posturing as if i
were going to steal his formula, the product itself is an expensive
poorly packaged ,unstable, short shelf-life compound.On the last of
our conversations that involved my trying to get out of
Krohn industries regarding their ferrous metal pickle, I clarified
that i was a former customer, but now used readily available pH down
( sodium bisulphite) as my non-ferrous pickling additive, when nitric
acid is not available- the guy went ballistic and actually yelled at
me over the telephone for wasting his time.Paranoid?-an
understatement at best when it comes to that company’s owner and his
retention of what should have been an opportunity to sell more
product!. (Equally, at best the company owner deserves a contact
letter from my counsel at law, at least, a report to the better
business bureau- which is in effect an impotent agency that just
registers consumer complaints, etc. about a company, and to OSHA for
refusing to supply the MSDS to a consumer of a chemical based
product-) I like to keep a folder in my studio of all the MSDS es on
all the chemicals i store and use in the shop…but i digress…

The Bottom Line:

one can purchase a large container of sodium bisulphite, or pH down,
intended for in ground pool maintenance, at a very low price at a
number of home and garden supply retailers…I would recommend an
industry wide boycott of Krohn products, and invite any of you to
call Krohn and ask specific questions about Sparex #2 and, once
experiencing the level of unprofessional ism and paranoia that
amounts to the preposterous notion that a jeweler would be trying to
steal something as widely known as the active ( and inactive- a.k.a-
“filler”) ingredients to their pickle, or a supplier to the trade
maliciously withholding on a product used in one’s
studio would join me in finding alternatives, and spreading the word
about more widely accessible and money saving alternatives that
benefit anyone working in non-ferrous metals, be they novice or
experienced. I have read others postings about " problems with X…,
and I’m hoping that my post will not be censored in that when a
company that most in the trade have had experience with perhaps early
along in jewelry making, or metalsmithing, is unwilling to provide
data of extreme importance, particularly to novice metal smiths, that
company should be met with an industry based response, not just a
single person’s experience ( albeit on more than one occasion) with a
manufacturer that has profited from a good many of us during the
ongoing process of learning our art and the sciences that support
that creative process.


#5

Ugh. I have had it with Sparex and am off to get some PH Down. I
recently got some Sparex which seemed only slightly brownish in
color and made the mistake of using it, as it was a brand new batch…
Bad idea Got slimey brown gunk all over some hand woven
chains—deeply imbedded in the weaving. I have tried everything to
get rid of it—scrubbing with soft tooth brush and detergent,
scrubing with soft tooth brush and baking soda. Nothing works, and I
am really getting frustrated.

What really puzzles me is that in previous years (long ago), I used
to get Sparex, and never had a problem. It was stable, and seemed to
have a very very long shelf life.

Then more recently things have changed, and brown slime entered the
picture. I call this stuff the Exxon Valdes Pickle. One would think
that after all the complaints we have made about that stuff, that
Krohn would do something to remedy the situation. I for one am never
going to get a can of Sparex 11 again.

I put in hours of work making those woven chains, and there is no
way I will be able to use them.

Alma


#6
well Sparex..hmm, bad product that is widely used... 

I can’t resist reiterating here that there is another alternative
besides pH Down-- citric acid. Admittedly it isn’t as cheap, but
I’ve been using it for the past couple of years and find it
perfectly satisfactory, and it is “food grade”-- at least until I
put metal into it. I, for one, feel more comfortable with it in my
studio than sodium bisulphate. I pay about $6 a pound, but I only
change it about once a year (maybe twice) so I don’t think it will
beggar me.

Noel


#7

Noel,

What ratio do you use when mixing up?

Lisa Fowler


#8

You’ll like phDown, Alma. No brown gunk there! As to the chain have
you tried an ultrasound? That might work.

Kenton


#9
I can't resist reiterating here that there is another alternative
besides pH Down-- citric acid. Admittedly it isn't as cheap, but
I've been using it for the past couple of years and find it
perfectly satisfactory, and it is "food grade"-- at least until I
put metal into it. I, for one, feel more comfortable with it in my
studio than sodium bisulphate. I pay about $6 a pound, but I only
change it about once a year (maybe twice) so I don't think it will
beggar me. 

Noel, excellent point. Citric acid is great stuff, we have been
using it in place of sodium bisulfate for 5 or 6 years. If you buy it
from the soap manufacturers you can get it for a lot less, I bought
50 lbs for $50 admittedly it is a lot of pickle but maybe then you
can change it more often then a couple times a year :slight_smile:

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#10

ME too, Noel.

Citric Acid is good pickle for both gold and silver. I keep two mugs
of Citric pickle; one for AS pieces; the other for standard sterling
and gold work. Citric pickle works best when hot, so get a cheap
microwave oven at a garage sale to quickly heat it up. I then keep it
hot using one of those mug warmers. The pickle seems to last a long
time, too.

Judy in Kansas


#11

Do you have a plastic “bucket” in your pickle pot? I have seen this
ugly brown slimy stuff form in the pickle pot when a little bucket
has been used to retrieve the items rather than fish for them in the
bottom of the pot. There seems to be a reaction with the plastic, and
we have used the Sparex 2 in the classroom at Ghost Ranch.

Rose Marie Christison


#12

Alma

Use Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, not Baking Soda.


#13

Alma: I agree. BOO Sparex2. Had the same problem of the creeping
sludge. My work didn’t have the detail a woven piece would but I
used Acetone soak to clean mine. It worked but I’m not about to say
it will work every time.Your woven pieces have many more ways to
hold onto the sludge. I used a pint jar and filled it approx. half
full of sdtraight Acetone. put the pieces in screwed the lid on and
let it set overnight. Shook it the next day, removed the pieces and
raun them through a hot water and Dawn charged Ultra-sonic bath.
They came out like new. I tumbled polished them to see if I could
find any finish problems and I didn’t find any.Good luck. Let us
know what works for you as several others have this problem or will
have if they use this product X-II (sparex-2).

John (Jack) Sexton


#14
Do you have a plastic "bucket" in your pickle pot? I have seen
this ugly brown slimy stuff form in the pickle pot when a little
bucket has been used to retrieve the items rather than fish for
them in the bottom of the pot. 

I don’t use such a bucket. I fish with a pair of copper pickle
tweezers. I remove the brown slime with papertowels and my pickle
lasts for a year (so long as I don’t put ANY steel in it even
briefly.)

Ray


#15

One way to avoid the sludge problem entirely is to use the pool
chemical pH down. I have been using this since John Burgess
recommended it and just love it. It’s completely clean and cheaper
too.

Debby


#16

Hello Rose Marie

I used to use Sparex #2 all the time. A few years ago I started
getting a brown sludge on the top. At first I would just wick it up
with paper towel. Eventually this got to be a daily thing and the
only things in the pickle were my copper tongs and the silver, gold,
copper or bronze metals I was working with. After reading about PH
minus from the hardware store I went and had a look. A larger amount
for less $$ and all in a plastic container. It is interesting to note
that this even seems to work faster and better. I will not be using
Sparex #2 again. I will eventually try some Citric Acid but have not
been able to find it in more that 1 oz containers yet.

Karen Bahr
Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#17

Hi Rose (and all),

Do you have a plastic "bucket" in your pickle pot? 

I’ve always used a plastic bucket(made from a laundry detergent cap)
in my pickle pot. I did not start having the brown sludge until I
started using Prip’s Flux for firescale prevention.

I’ve always thought the two are linked. I am using Sparex, by the
way. I usually skim off this gunk by using a coffee filter. Unless
I’ve had a long day with lots of pickling, it seems to keep the gunk
under control.

Tracy


#18

Hi Tracy

Re: Plastic Bucket/with Prips Flux…I had an idea the plastic
bucket we use had something to do with the brown gunk, but we don’t
use Prips Flux…we use the Handi-flux paste. Interesting!!! Another
one of those mysteries.

By the way, those of you who are using the Citric Acid, I do have a
big jar full, but need to know the proportions for dilution in water.
Could you share that bit of info? I use an old crock pot - Goodwill
handles lots of them!!!

I do like all the info I had read in just the few weeks that I have
received the e-mails. Thanks a bunch.

RMC


#19

Noel, We sell food grade citric acid pickle 3 cups (1.5 LB) for $
3.75. We also sell it in an air tight, reuasable unbreakable
container for $ 5.75 and refills are $3.75. In case you don’t want
to purchase 50 lbs. Other quantities are available.

Pauline Warg
Warg Enamel Tool Center
10 Oak Hill Plaza
Scarborough, ME 04074
800-970-9382


#20

Like most of you, I had dealt with the brown La Brea slime floating
in my Sparex filled crock pot. I had never seen it earlier in my
earlier days using Sparex or when I used another brand of sodium
bisulphate pickle. Finally, I called the company. They seemed puzzled
by my description, as if they’d never heard of a such a thing. I kept
describing it, coming at it from different angles and adding that the
granules themselves were brownish.

“Oh”, they finally said, "You must be referring to the Amber Hue!"
As if this were some special feature. “Oh, well, that won’t hurt
anything…”.

I hung up and drove to Home Depot where I purchased “Spa- Down”,
reasoning that any chemical approved for total human immersion has to
be cleaner than some sort of industrial by-product.

I do a lot of depletion guilding on rose and 18k golds, and the
Soium Bisulphate sold as “Spa Down” ph adjuster for spas, pools and
hot tubs works as well as the official Sparex brand pickle. I rarely
miss the amber hue.

One thing: I told a workshop class about this once in CA. A year or
so later, in another state, a workshop participant began shaking her
head adamantly when I told them about Spa Down. Seems she had
attended my other workshop and went right out and bought my
recommended Home Depot pickle. She tried every concentration, cold,
hot etc. and she was here to tell me that it simply doesn’t work. She
even brought the container in.

We both smiled when she realized that what she had bought was Spa
Up-- sodium bicarbonate: baking soda. I have certainly made similar
mistakes.

Amber Hue free in Seattle,
Andy Cooperman