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December 10, 2018, 09:29:29 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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RoyKims
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2011, 05:12:11 pm »

oh,  what kind of pickle for copper??
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2011, 01:15:20 pm »

For my copper I still use my plain white vinegar. Now if you are doing brass you will get some "pinking" when you pickle it. The reason for this is you are leaching out the zinc from the brass and it makes it look "pink" where the flux has made contact around the join. A light sanding and polishing will restore the brass color. This happens most often when you get the metal too hot when soldering. Do you know what depletion gilding is in silver working? That is what is happening here only you're depleting the zinc instead of the copper as is in the sterling silver. You can take a copper item that has silver solder showing on it and do a plating of copper over that solder by using some older pickle that is all grody green, place a plain piece of steel in there and then put your copper in and the copper ions will plate out onto the you work. It not the least bit pleasant when you have it happen to one of your nice pieces of silver work though but great for your copper work.
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RoyKims
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 08:15:43 pm »

B,
what an answer.     no, i didn't know but reading the context i do now. thanks
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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2011, 08:49:55 pm »

Roy,

I was frustrated when I first tried Nickel Silver as I was still using all the products that I used for silver. When I finally changed over to products condusive to N/S I enjoyed using N/S.
These are the products I use:
Flux...Wolverine black flux for N/S
Pickle....Nickle Pickle Thunderbird item #717040
Polish Indian Jewelery Supply #267-HSHF-1 White N/S polish.

The pickle took the frustration out, the polish gave the desired results!!

Milt
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RoyKims
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2011, 06:46:41 am »

Roy,

Polish Indian Jewelery Supply #267-HSHF-1 White N/S polish.

The pickle took the frustration out, the polish gave the desired results!!

Milt

milt, can you polish the wire with this after it's on the stone or will it remove the stones polish. mike says he uses zam on his silver with the stone mounted..

roy
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spirit bear beads
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 12:21:55 pm »

is rio pickle from rio grande??


roy

Yes from Rio Grande, comes dry powder and you mix it with water.
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2011, 02:36:42 pm »

can you polish the wire with this after it's on the stone or will it remove the stones polish. mike says he uses zam on his silver with the stone mounted..

roy

For the majority of stones, they can be set prior to polishing.  However, there are certain really soft ones that are set after polishing like all ambers and dyed shells.  The amber will melt and the dyed shells will lose their dyed color.
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2011, 05:35:49 pm »

Roy

I have had no proplems with the stone mounted. I always buff to the highest degree I can prior to mounting a stone. I find the metal polishes are really black and  a thorough washing and buffing with a polishing cloth does the trick.

The great thing about this hobby is you are always learning.I enjoy this forum and several other lapidary forums for that reason.

Good Luck
Milt
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 11:38:41 am »

I finally plugged in a new 'Lil Dipper" crockpot for my pickle solution. It developed a hairline crack the second time I used it. Pickle ran all over my welding table. Replaced it with a 1 1/2 Qt. Generic pot with a heavier removeable pot and no problems so far.....
I use 'Rio Pickle' from Rio Grande also. It does the job.
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« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2011, 02:54:00 pm »

Just read this thread and was wondering how much PH down is added to water to get the proper fluid to use as a silver pickle.

Thanks in advance.

Dickb
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will100
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« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2011, 03:52:45 pm »

All,

I use drain opener call "Liquid Fire" this is concentrated sulfuric Acid. I is important that you use this brand since many drain openers are Lye (sodium hydroxide and they will not work correctly as a pickle).

One bottle will last a very long time. Keep in a safe place.

This must be diluted 10 parts water to 1 part acid.

"Very Important " In diluting sulfuric acid,you must add the acid to the water.

I also keep mine in a small heated crock-pot.

After pickle I use a solution of 1 tablespoon sodium bicarbonate to one cup of water to neutralize the acid.

Then rinse in fresh water.

Use eye protection and latex or nitrile gloves.

Best Regards,
Will   
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« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2011, 06:19:48 pm »

We have found that vinegar in a baby crockpot works great. And cheap at around $2 a gallon!
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will100
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« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2011, 08:17:47 pm »

Many acids can be used.

1. Sulfuric acid - ACE Harware --- reacts with copper creating copper sulfate
2. Vinegar (Acetic acid) reacts with Copper Oxide creating Copper Acetate
2. Sparex No2 (Sodium Bisulfate)-- SFJS
3. Sulfamic Acid - The Home Depot  reacts with copper creating copper sulfate
4. Sodium Bisulfate -- Rio Grande or Nava Ph Decreaser,  same as Sparex No 2  reacts with copper creating copper sulfate

Sulfuric is very inexpensive a quart cost less than $5 and that results in 11 quarts.

Sulfuric acid also works very fast and removes flux nicely as well.

I got the information from.

Jewelry Making by Murry Bovin pages 33 and 34. This is a great reference book.


Vinegar is the safest but works slower.


NOTE:

Copper Acetate very toxic to aquatic life. Poisons
Copper Sulfate  very toxic to aquatic life.  Poisons


Best Regards,
Will
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will100
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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2011, 07:31:06 am »

Corrections:
   
   
Many acids can be used.

1. Sulfuric acid - ACE Harware --- reacts with copper oxide creating copper sulfate
2. Vinegar (Acetic acid) reacts with Copper Oxide creating Copper Acetate
2. Sparex No2 (Sodium Bisulfate)-- SFJS
3. Sulfamic Acid - The Home Depot  reacts with copper oxide creating copper sulfamate (I believe ?)
4. Sodium Bisulfate -- Rio Grande or Nava Ph Decreaser,  same as Sparex No 2  reacts with copper creating copper sulfate

Sulfuric is very inexpensive a quart cost less than $5 and that results in 11 quarts.

Sulfuric acid also works very fast and removes flux nicely as well.

I got much of the information from.

Jewelry Making by Murry Bovin pages 33 and 34. This is a great reference book.


Vinegar is the safest but works slower.


NOTE:

Copper Acetate very toxic to aquatic life. Poison
Copper Sulfate  very toxic to aquatic life.  Poison


Best Regards,
Will
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2011, 02:18:01 pm »

Thanks for the replies.

I have the PH Down, but just need to know how much of it to add to water to get a silver pickle solution. It was easier to get that send off to Rio to buy some Sparex.

Dickb
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will100
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2011, 02:31:47 pm »

PH Down and Sparex No 2 are the same chemical.

My reference book says for Sparex use one tablespoon to one quart water.

It needs heating to be effective.

If it does not work well  I would increase the amount  Ph Down a little till effective.

Best Regards,
Will
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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2011, 11:57:07 am »

Hi Will:

That is the information I needed, so thank you and I'll try it at that concentration first. Like you say I can always add more if needed. Already have the small crock pot to heat it with and I am just about ready to try my hand at silver smithing.

Thanks again for all the information.

Dickb
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RoyKims
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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2011, 10:11:43 pm »

for heat, i'd think my alcohol burner would work fine. it's set up for dop. to get it up the temp up use the microwave first.. how much do i need to and whats the cost???
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will100
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« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2011, 07:34:52 am »

The temperature should be hot but not boiling.

Boiling will cause acidic fumes.

I would not heat in a microwave that's used for food.

Ph down when added to water is very acidic.

Use in a protected way so its not to splashed in your eyes.

If you do, flush your eyes with water immediately.

I like a crock pot cause its stable.

Will
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2011, 08:21:25 am »

Here's the small crock pot that I got to use as a pickle pot. I either bought it separately or as part of a set that came with 2 pots, 1 Large and 1 small.
It's small enough to set on the bench without taking up much room.



Dickb
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« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2011, 08:50:07 am »

I got a new "little dipper" a while back and it cracked about the second time I used it. Might have been a fluke but I went to an inexpensive "Rival" brand with a removable pot and all is well.
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will100
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« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2011, 05:05:53 pm »

Looks like the same one I got but much nicer looking.

That will be great.

Good luck Silversmithing.

Will
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« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2012, 04:53:41 pm »

I buy mine like that a Goodwill for a couple of dollars and always have an extra one on hand. I have a full sized crockpot for big bulky items that need to be pickled also purchased at Goodwill for arouond three dollars.
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« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2012, 08:44:10 am »

We are all taught to solder then pickle.  Any book will tell you that.  Well you do not need to! 
 
Hot water will remove the flux,  which is all you need to do to continue working on your piece .   Pickle will remove the flux and clean your metal, which makes every thing look nice.  but now you have acid in the air to breath and acid to rust your tools.

You can just use a crockpot of hot water to remove the flux,  now you do not need to worry about splash back,  or acid in the air.  Yes I know your work is still looks dirty,  but wait maybe that's a good thing.  Remember solder does not like dirty metal,  so now if you clean your join area the solder like be more likely to stay in your join.  A fiberglass brush is great for this little cleaning job,  and now you know you have a clean join for the solder.

Then when you are done with all of the soldering,  pickle your piece in cold pickle that you are keeping in a closed container.  Yes it will take more time being cold, but you only have to wait once.

 And as an added benefit when the crockpot gets left on all night, there is no ugly mess to deal with,  just add water and you are good to go.



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« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2012, 11:38:24 am »

I use an electric hot plate & a rectangular pyrite bowl. That way if I'm doing a longer piece like a bracelet it'll fit. Small crock pots are too deep & not long enough for big pieces. I use Sparex it's not expensive. The bag I have was like a pound & cost about $9 & has lasted me over a year. You don't need to change it all the time. When the water starts getting low I just add some. It's usually because of evaporation because you want it just below boiling. Then if it doesn't seem to be doing the job, I just toss in another spoon full of the Sparex. Only time I really change it is after it gets so cruddy that I can't see the piece in the bottom to fish it out LOL. I do a lot of silver & sparex is very cost effective & works the best. I pickle in between every soldering step, keeps the old flux from building up & the fire scale to a min.
Mike
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« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2012, 01:38:55 pm »

I use an electric hot plate & a rectangular pyrite bowl. That way if I'm doing a longer piece like a bracelet it'll fit. Small crock pots are too deep & not long enough for big pieces. I use Sparex it's not expensive. The bag I have was like a pound & cost about $9 & has lasted me over a year. You don't need to change it all the time. When the water starts getting low I just add some. It's usually because of evaporation because you want it just below boiling. Then if it doesn't seem to be doing the job, I just toss in another spoon full of the Sparex. Only time I really change it is after it gets so cruddy that I can't see the piece in the bottom to fish it out LOL. I do a lot of silver & sparex is very cost effective & works the best. I pickle in between every soldering step, keeps the old flux from building up & the fire scale to a min.
Mike

I totally agree with Mike......except I use a 3-1/2qt crock pot with an all plastic strainer to put the soldered pieces in so I don't have to search for them at the bottom of the pot.  I got the strainer at K-Mart - it is a collapsible type with the mesh on the bottom only.  Works great...................
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« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2012, 05:40:28 pm »

i kept acid in two jars that i thought were airtight anly to find out later they were not. i noticed tools rusting for no reason and it was the acid causing it.. how do you stop this???

roy
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« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2012, 06:43:38 pm »

I've never had that problem with sparex. I've had an open bowl of it in my studio for years & never had a rust problem. I have tools that I use when soldering right near the bowl of pickle & the only rust on them is from the heat when manipulating pieces under the torch. The fumes from blacking solution will rust stuff if you don't keep it tightly sealed.
Mike
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« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2012, 09:44:39 am »

I use rio's pickle and a mr. coffee - $1 at goodwill
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« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2012, 10:01:11 am »

FYI
I just bought a mini crockpot (20z) at Big Lots for $6.00.  I found it in the houseware section.

Nancie
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zarguy
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« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2012, 11:25:06 pm »

My silversmith friend recommends 20-25% muriatic acid in water & used cold (for sterling silver). Does anybody else use this for pickle?

Lynn
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tetonartgallery
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« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2012, 12:46:53 pm »

FYI
I just bought a mini crockpot (20z) at Big Lots for $6.00.  I found it in the houseware section.

Nancie

I use old coffee makers tyhat i buy for a dollar at secondhand stores -

Not sure if this was covered here, but I just learned that if your pickle gets contaminated with ferrous metal and starts turning everything pink you can refresh it with a little hydrogen peroxide.
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