I cannot remove white residue that remains after pickling from highly textured metal. No matter what there’s always some stuff that remains in the small areas of the texture. I continue to struggle with this and it’s very frustrating. How do I remove it. Thanks
Have you tried burnishing with a soft brass brush or mixed steel shot?
(i love the burnished look that brass brushes impart (use lwith soapy water)
you might also try pumice powder/ water slurry with an extra soft toothbrush first, then a brass brush…?
That white colored stuff is the silver itself. The pickling acid dissolves any oxides, and the result is a loss of the bright silver surface. Yes, even though this is find silver, it does oxidize. Silver oxide is white to clear, unlike black copper oxides on sterling, but especially if your pickle is quite strong, or even more, if you heated the metal well hotter than needed for annealing, you can still get this effect. You cannot just clean it off, since its not just dirt. But any light polishing agent will restore the metallic shine. For me, I’d start with a soft brass or nickel silver wire brush with soapy water. That will get into your texture. Use of a flux of any sort while heating will avoid this. So, most likely, would lowering the temperature a little, and be sure to use a soft, reducing flame. As a general rule, using fine silver instead of sterling avoids most of such problems, such as fire stain and fire scale, but not always all of them all of the time
Thanks so much
That residue on Fine Silver is, as Peter Rowe commented, a form of oxide on milled sheet. If you are using Fine Silver from metal clay, that white surface is the molecules of fine silver ‘stood on edge’ and must be burnished down to achieve a more shiny surface and/or to ‘remove’ the white. For either of these (milled or sintered metal) a good magnetic finisher can do the job of burnishing the surface. This method
is most useful, of course, for a highly textured surface.
As everyone mentioned, that silvery powder look is fine silver. Think of it like the hair of cat when you pet it against the grain, the hair stands up, but when you brush it in the right direction it lays flat again. That’s what burnishing does for the silver. I really like the raised fine silver look in some pieces, it’s very hard to maintain though because contact or rubbing of any sort against it, causing the silver to revert to shiny again. Spay lacquer helps for a time if you want to keep it. Otherwise, brass brush and soapy water. Riogrande has a mini brass brush now which is good for getting into tight spots, or use the brass attahments on your flex shaft or tumble with steel shot.
silver oxide Ag0, is black…it decomposes spontaneous with heating above 195 degrees C… and also can be reduced by organic reducing agents like aldehydes… the white stuff has to be very finely divided metallic silver… the only way to get rid of it is to polish it off by any of the methods suggested.
Thanks. I appreciate everyone for your help. I have been doing this incorrectly for a long time. Very frustrating
try normal baking soda in a slurry with the brushes. you can experiment with a small handful & pull an oxidized chain through it to brighten it up to see the results. good luck.
I will try thus. Thanks