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Tarnex


#1

Yes Peter,
I have not as of yet been successful in using liver of sulpher and would be
interested in the “tarnex” product you spoke of. I did a piece a while ago
in liver of sulphur and it only looked like the silver got tarnish and very
dirty. I will try the brush/burnished approach.


#2

Hi Kathy,

     I have a chain (spiral rope) which became extremely
tarnished and is not responding to my normal treatment of
Tarnex or any other dip-n-rinse solution. 

Have you tried the baking soda in warm water along with a piece
of aluminum foil?

I’ve used a Speed Brite to remove tarnish from chains with good
results also.

Dave


#3

Well, since there’s considerable interest, it seems, here’s the
info on the stuff to mix up your own “tarnex”.

The company is:
Vin-Rock Inc,
Cleveland, Ohio 44120  (USA)

I know that is probably not the complete address, but you should
be able to get the rest of it via the phone with that. This is
just what’s printed on the container…

The product itself is called CQ-2 “instant silver cleaner”. I’ve
got a 16 ounce container that claims to be able to make up a
full gallon the the finished mix. My recollection of a
conversation with the company sales people when I got this is
that the folks who make Tarnex buy this product in bulk, but mix
it up at only half, or less, the recommended concentration.
This would explain why Tarnex itself may be good at getting off a
bit of light tarnish, but isn’t quite up to removing a fully
applied liver of sulphur black antique finish. Vin-Rock CQ-2, on
the other hand, seems quite capable of it, the few times I’ve
needed to do that. And it’s pretty cheap, too. The bottle says
it contains Thiocarbamide, harmful if swallowed, avoid contact
with eyes, etc. It also says the stuff is otherwise non-toxic,
non-abrasive, and biodegradable.

Some more comments on liver of sulphur antique finishes…

Remember that the best finish comes with sterling silver or
other alloys that contain some copper. fine silver doesn’t
antique well. By extension, this will mean the silver that has
been extensively heated and pickled to remove fire stain, will
have a surface that’s depleted in copper, and won’t antique all
that well, until it’s been polished enough to cut through that
surface into the sterling silver underneath. Yet another reason
to use prips flux in sterling silver work to get the best
antique. If you DO have to antique a fire scaled surface, then
reanneal the piece after the surface is finished, to get a
uniform fire scale all over. It will, of course, turn black from
annealing. You then pickle, buff only very lightly to brighten
it slightly, but don’t remove the fire stain. Then your liver of
sulphur will at least give you a uniform color instead of a
blotchy one. (this treatment, by the way, was common in the
work of a number of well known silver companies, such as george
jensen’s work, especially prior to world war 2.) But the best
color will come on a clean, fire stain free, sterling silver
alloy, or another alloy with similar or greater copper content.

Liver of sulphur applied too strong can become too thick,
non-adherent, and flake off. It applies best when the solution
is fresh and warm to hot. but if it’s too strong, it can give
you trouble. It works best when it takes a moment for the color
to fully develop. It can be a really SHORT moment, but if the
color just comes up instantly, it often becomes too thick.
Repeated dips and rinses, to more slowly build up the color, also
improves it’s uniformity. My own method of burnishing the color
with a brass platers brush does the same thing. I prefer that
metallic blue/black color to dull black, but both are possible,
and for some work, the dull/matte black is the better choice.
For that, it’s all the more important to use a dilute enough
solution that the color doesn’t instantly develop. You can use a
cotton swab or soft bristle brush to work the solution into the
surface, which helps to defeat things like variations from
fingerprints, etc.

And as to removing the finish, with Vin-Rock CQ-2 or tarnex, or
other chemical means, remember that these chemicals reduce the
sulphides of silver back to silver, but they don’t restore the
polish. The result after tarnex or C!-2 will be a dull, probably
slightly blotchy, slightly off-white color, similar to the metal
after annealing and pickling without the use of prips flux or
other such protectant. You then need to repolish, or use a
platers brush to burnish, or otherwise rebrighten the silver as
desired.

Tumbling chains…

Yup. Been there. With some chains its still worth the work. I
find several types of tumbling process to be usedful with chains,
including steel shot in a rotary tumbler, the magnetic tumbler
with it’s little pins, and vibratory tumblers with several types
of media, including steel shot, ceramic media, and walnut shells
treated with rouge. But you have to choose which chains to do
this to rather carefully, as well as the media you’ll use with
any given chain. Once I tumbled a strand of larger, graduated,
hollow silver beads strung on foxtail chain after some repair
work. Major mistake. Only an hour in the steel shot. Broke the
chain, so then I had a whole bunch of loose beads mixed with the
shot, and all of them were chock, jammed, full of the small size
of tapered pins included in my mix of shot. Took me hours to get
all those damned things cleaned back out so I could restring the
darn thing. And getting all the little magnetic tumbler’s needle
like pins out of some rope chains can be a daunting challenge
too. These tend to be mistakes we usually don’t repeat too
often… Still, tumbling is pretty useful with some chains. You
just have to rather carefully choose the media you’re gonna use.

cheers.
Peter Rowe


#4

Hi, I believe this might be the right phone number…good luck!
Vin Rock Inc 3024 Fontenay Rd Cleveland, OH 44120-1729 Phone:
(216)991-9593

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
@Linda_Crawford
http://www.jps.net/lcrawford


#5

Hello Peter, Thanks for reminding me about warming the liver of
sulfur before using. I had big problems with uneven or poor
coloration. Once I warmed the piece and the liquid the coloring
was much faster and more even. Another excuse to keep the shop
warm! Steve Ramsdell


#6

Hi Peter, I can relate to that! After spending quite some time
picking shot out of a chain I thought there had to be a better
way. The next time I had a chain the ‘captured’ some of my steel
shot here’s how I got the shot out.

Let the chain fall on a solid surface from a height of about
12-18 inches. Remove any shot that comes out. This may have to be
repeated several times, but it’s a lot quicker & easier than
trying to pick the shot out with a tweezers.

Dave


#7

Peter, Just read your comments on Tarnex and have to disagree
with you on some points. The Tarnex that I am familiar with is
very effective at removing even heavy oxidation on sterling, but
its’ effectiveness diminishes quite rapidly with time.
Furthermore, aside from claims about being non-abrasive,
non-toxic and bio-degradable, it IS highly corrosive and
repeated use will cause etching as will prolonged immersion. As
for the active ingredient my impression is that it is thiourea.
Our experience with chains is that for mild tarnishing the
vibratory tumbler is very effective using ceramic media and
detergent. The trick with chains in the vibratory is that you
must join the ends together and drap the chain around the center
post otherwise it will kink and/or knot. Serpentine and
herringbone chains are another matter…I wouldn’t even dream
of putting them into a tumbler; as a matter of fact, I won’t
even sell the damned things ! When we have to clean one of the
aforementioned I drap it around a three inch piece of round wood
and then polish it on the buffing wheel. Afterward, I dangle it
in the ultra to remove the compound. Another method for heavy
oxide removal is, of course, bombing. I am sure Orchid has
delved into bombing in the past and I am not going to open up
that can of worms…it works great for me but, then, I have
also been very lucky to survive my mistakes ! Ciao for now, Ron
at Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, CA.


#8

I have not been able to read every post about Tarnex, but I
thought I would share with you simple experiment I did with it
about 25 years ago. I have not used it much since then, except to
clean some of my wife’s small sterling chains. After reading the
cautions on the label about rinsing good and being warned not to
leave it in the Tarnex for very long. I put a cast sterling
silver ring in a baby food jar (we had a lot of them back then!)
filled with Tarnex. The next day I check it out, and could not
see any thing different, so I decided to leave it another day. I
forgot about it for over a week and took another look at it. The
Tarnex was still clear, the ring looked as good as it did when I
put it in the jar. I shook the jar and could see no difference. I
set it back on the shelf.

To make a long story, shorter I checked this jar every month or
so, for over a year and a half. Then I forgot about. We sold this
house, and while packing up my shop I found the jar. The lid
looked a little rusty on the outside, the ring sat in the bottom
of the jar. It had the neatest very thin “crystal” radiating out
from the ring for about an inch! It looked like it was a silver
"crystal"! Very long and thin as a thread. Beautiful! I wanted it!

I opened up the jar, and the crystal disappeared as I was trying
to get the ring out. After inspecting the ring, not finding any
physical change in appearance. None. I polished it as usual and
sold it.

That was 2 1/2 years in the jar of Tarnex. I still do not leave
the chains in it, except for a quick dip, good rinse and quick
thorough drying, but I still wonder why it did not do more to the
ring? I guess I will begin the same experiment this week and give
you updates as the days, weeks, and months go by. I will put a
chain in there too! –

Don Norris

Please visit my web sites:
http://www.frii.com/~dnorris


#9

I find that when nothing else works at getting the tarnish off,
the magnetic tumbler will do the trick. My tumbler will take an
old chain and make it shine much better than when it was brand
new. As for bombing, I find that the magnetic tumbler gives
better results, without the risk of harmful repercussions. Swest
sells a 2 gallon concentrate of thiourea which is much cheaper
than Tarnex. It is called Tarnish remover and is non toxic or so
I think. I also find my gembrite system does a pretty good job
at removing tarnish. If anyone needs any cad/cam work done
please email me. I invite as much flat work as I can get at a
reasonable price. Go Titans!! Scott Castgold@home.com


#10
  Peter, Just read your comments on Tarnex and have to disagree with
you on some points. The Tarnex that I am familiar with is very
effective at removing even heavy oxidation on sterling, but its'
effectiveness diminishes quite rapidly with time. 

I suspect that it also may have a limited shelf life. Not sure about
this. But perhaps my poor experience with the stuff was due to it’s
being either old, or depleted. The Vin-rock product, didn’t seem to
be anywhere near as limited in either quality, and worked a lot
faster. As I said, my understanding, based on what the Vin-Rock reps
told me, is that their product, purchased in bulk, wholesale, was used
to make the commercial product, Tarnex, and that the marketers of
Tarnex felt they could use it at considerably less concentration than
recommended by Vin-Rock. Whether or not this is true, of course, I
have no idea. I only know what i was told.

   Furthermore, aside from claims about being non-abrasive,
non-toxic and bio-degradable, it IS highly corrosive and repeated
use will cause etching as will prolonged immersion. 

It’s important to remember that these products do not restore a
polish. When the silver oxidizes, it is a form of corrosion. The
tarnex or vin-rock removes that. Doesn’t restore the former smooth
surface, nor the polish. So far as I know, however, untarnished
sterling silver should not be affected by this chemistry. I could
always be wrong on this, but I’ve never seen it etch too much on clean
silver. The tarnished stuff, after immersion, does come out looking a
bit dingy, but white. It then needs refinishing. As

for the active ingredient my impression is that it is thiourea.

Some chemists in the group can tell us what the difference is between
Thiourea and thiocarbamide. I’d expect them to be chemically pretty
similar. I don’t know however. I just was reading the listed
ingredient on the Vin-Rock container.

Peter Rowe


#11

For Peter Rowe, Yep, as you suspected, Thiourea and Thiocarbamide are
one and the same. They are synonyms for the same stuff. Just as
Methanol, Methyl Alcohol and Wood Alcohol are different names for the
same material. Fresh Tarnex does work like magic on tarnished silver.
But I have noticed on several occasions that a soldered joint became
weakened after a 10-15 minute treatment with Tarnex. A crack appeared
at the joint several months after treatment and it may have been a
coincidence, but I kinda doubt it because it happened 3-4 times. I try
to use Tarnex very sparingly on soldered pieces and rinse them
thoroughly after treatment. Has anybody else made this same
observation? Regards…Bob Williams


#12
 As  for the active ingredient my impression is that it is
thiourea. 
Some chemists in the group can tell us what the difference is between
Thiourea and thiocarbamide.  I'd expect them to be chemically pretty
similar.  I don't know however.  I just was reading the listed
ingredient on the Vin-Rock container.

G’day: Carbamide is another name for urea. . Thiocarbamide is
another name for thiourea Cheers John Burgess


#13
   Some chemists in the group can tell us what the difference is
between Thiourea and thiocarbamide.  I'd expect them to be
chemically pretty similar.  I don't know however.  I just was
reading the listed ingredient on the Vin-Rock container. 

Yes, they are pretty similar, identical in fact: NH2.CS.NH2
Kevin