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Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum
December 10, 2018, 09:24:29 am
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Pickle

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Author Topic: Pickle  (Read 2311 times)
RoyKims
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« on: July 15, 2011, 10:56:22 pm »

i'm new at this and want to get better. when you use pickle does that mean you need do nothing in order to solder it??
what's the best pickle to use and who is an inexpensive suppllier. i've read that a saturated solution of salt and vinegar works fine. what's your thoughts on this. i have what it takes to make it.
i also can not afford silver right now so will need to use nickel silver for my sheet and wire. thoughts?  a good supplier??
TIA,
roy
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bobby1
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 11:30:00 pm »

For pickle and pickling I use a cheap, small crockpot from Wal Mart. I also use their swimming pool "ph down" as a pickle solution. It is chemically the same as the much more expensive Sparex.
Bob
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RoyKims
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 12:05:11 am »

bob,
what about my other questions?
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bobby1
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 08:34:00 am »

Roy,
The purpose of the pickle is to clean the piece after soldering to remove the left over flux and to remove the oxidation of the copper component of the sterling alloy. Yes, after rinsing you can resume soldering on the piece. I have heard of the salt and vinegar mix but because the regular pickle has worked well for me I haven't been inspired to try anything else. Some people worry about the possible hazards of a splash of pickle (of any component mixtures) when you first drop the heated piece into the pickle but using the best procedure minimizes the possibility of a splash. The method that I use is to lift the BACK side of the pickle pot lid while keeping the front side in contact with the pickle pot edge and reaching around and dropping the piece into the pickle. This utilizes the lid as a shield from any sputters or splashes. Nickle Silver, aka German Silver, contains no silver and consists mostly of nickle. It has some disadvantages in that it doesn't anneal and soften like sterling and overall it is much harder both in hardness and workability. Many people are severely allergic to nickle, also. It is much cheaper, though. I can't recommend a supplier because I haven't bought or used Nickle Silver except for a very few instances 30 years ago.
Bob
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Steve
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2011, 09:24:29 am »

Nickel silver is made up of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.  There is no silver in it.

I think if you are aspiring to be a silversmith then it would be better to save your pennies and start with silver...... dunno
the soldering techniques for different metals are each unique to that metal as far as heating, softening/hardening, solder flow and things like that.  I work in sterling and mixed metals - sterling/brass/copper - and I had to develop methods for each of the marrying processes.

Here are two suppliers of Nickel Silver:

Thunderbird Supply - http://www.thunderbirdsupply.com/metal.aspx

Indian Jewelry Supply - https://eclient.ijsinc.com/eshop/default.aspx?ControlName=SubCategories&category_id=67456DE9-C3D5-4711-8E7A-0EC8AA82B7D9
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Andere
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 03:42:00 pm »

We've used generic pickle in metal studio and the crock pot method works very well. I can vouch for hot pickle splashes being painful, especially in the eyes. Also, keep steel out of it or it'll precipitate copper on everything. It is possible to solder directly after pickle and rinsing (we soaked pieces in baking soda and water to remove the pickle residue) but sanding the surface intended for soldering increases the success rate. What gas are you using, and what grade of solder?

Our instructor professed a strong dislike for the workability of nickel silver and encouraged us to work in brass or copper for practice, as its more predictable, easier to acquire and not as hard on tools. You can probably find varying gagues of sheet scrap for very cheap or free from industrial metal shops. We get ours from the Online Metals shop- they sell scrap to students for pocket change. Because copper is a pure metal, it works for granulation, reticulation and other pure/pure bonding techniques that nickel silver or brass won't do- good practice material for working in pure silver.
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Bluesssman
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 04:24:30 pm »

I also use a crock pot and because of Bob, have been using swimming pool product with great success. As far as the splash, I place the jewelry piece into the pickle with copper tongs.

I have never used nickel silver. We exclusively use Argentium silver for all of our silver jewelry.

Gary
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hulagrub
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 05:53:50 pm »

We have been trying to find some ph down, in the area, but no luck. Charlotte tried the vinegar and salt, and said it worked just as good as the ph down did in her silver class at William Holland.
Roy, she mixed one cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of salt.
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 07:13:42 pm »

Me, I have used straight white vinegar in gallon jugs from Costco or Walmart for the last 20  years. There is no real advantage to adding salt that I have been able to discern. I have two crock pots, a big one that holds about two thirds of a gallon and a tiny little things that you're supposed to put aromatic oils and such in to make your house smell pretty. The big crock pot is for, well, big things and the little things like rings and such. I have found that while the white vinegar is not instant, poof, clean, it will be in about three to five minuets. After it is saturated with copper and green as can be I put in 5 gallon bucket and let it evaporate to nothing, not hard to do here in Arizona, then about once a year I throw the whole shebang in the trash full of used cat litter. White vinegar is a good cheap pickle, about a $1.60 a gallon the last time I bought it at Walmart. That's where you can get PH Down here in Arizona too.
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RoyKims
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2011, 08:14:37 pm »

THANKS ALL !!
i'll file it away in the gray amtter until i need it.. copper may be the way to go at first. i just can't justify silver at this stage.. i do have 3 Toz. of .999 but it's bullion and not much use to me the way it is.. things are really tight here right now and it doesn't look like it'll get better anytime soon.. thanks again for all the replies,
roy
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spirit bear beads
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2011, 09:25:07 am »

I use Rio Pickle, and use it at room temp.  No, I don't heat it, and it works fine.
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RoyKims
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 03:05:31 pm »

is rio pickle from rio grande??

the solder i have and been using is a 2% Ag and another that's 56% Ag.   the 56% melting point is way above whhat my pro iron will get. a small pencil torch does well.  i do have an acet/ox torch but i need ox... i also need to get LP from the house to the shop.. s***, so many things.. keeps me happy tho. you all could help by lessoning the amount of Al Ox polish i have..hehe dunno

if i start with copper how do you pickle it??  silver smithing is the reason i started all of this.. it'll be a great outlet for the gray matter.

i'll start with copper. a lot of stones look better in it also.. like bloodstone..  kambaba should also.. oh, is there a solder that's the same color as copper ?

roy
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milto
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2011, 03:11:41 pm »

Stay with Nickel Silver, you may never go back to silver. For what ever reason N/S has been given a bad rap by the silver purist. I have used N/S for rings, pendants, ear rings, etc and have found it excellent and reasonable. The main advantage is once it has been worked correctly and brought to a beautiful shine you are done mostly forever. Silver you are polishing before every show etc.

You do not have the proplems of copper , with the silver solder ring, and copper solder is diffucult to work and hard to find , in my opinion.

My only recommendation for working with N/S is use N/S pickle and flux, and a little (not much) more heat then with silver. Thunderbird and Indian Jewelery Supply are my Suppliers and find them both good suppliers, I am fortuned to go through Galup NM twice a year and can stock up. Just finishing a beautiful Ice Cream Opal ring for my wife and would defy anyone but a jeweler to tell the difference between it and  silver.

My 2 cents worth and happy we all have our own views and techniques to keep the world from being to boring.

Milt
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DonniesTreasures
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2011, 03:15:00 pm »

Roy, I got this stuff for brass & copper from Monsterslayer.com
Here's the address:  http://www.monsterslayer.com/Metals/Solder.aspx
Look for this one:  CU-FOS-FLO #7  20 Ga wire Hard Solder for Copper and Brass
Melting Temp: 1310*F.    Composition: 92.75% Copper, 7.25% Phosphorus
Joint Color: Light Copper

I haven't used it yet though.  Just been getting things together for the day I decide to get started.
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RoyKims
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2011, 05:09:55 pm »

thanks gal..  i'll ck it out..

milt, what kind of pickle for NS ?  flux i'll use borax. it works on just about everything..

roy
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