Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

Not much going on, on the old worktable today:

I had cut out some pieces of copper for earrings, pendants, connectors, etc., a few weeks ago (probably actually a few months ago - I wanted to stamp them with my brand new Zentangle stamps, but I never got around to it.

When I made the copper pendant last week for my upcoming metal workshop, I poured up a new container of etching acid, and it tends to go bad, so I decided to finally stamp and etch these pieces yesterday, before I have to throw out the acid. The pieces took a nice deep etch, and I still had enough time left to patina them in Liver of Sulfur (LOS) - which is where I started to run into trouble.

The LOS was all ready in the crock pot, nice and warm. I put some craft wire through the holes in the pieces, and dipped them in, and .... no LOS stuck to them. It ran off like water on a duck's back. Very weird. I dipped again, and again, and again - and nothing stuck. So strange. What was going on?

I remembered that I had had the bright idea after etching to clean the lingering Staz-On from the metal with acetone, instead of burning it off with the torch like I usually do. I didn't want to haul out the torch and the annealing pan, and the acetone was right there from when I cleaned the ink off the stamps, so why not?

Well, here's why - evidently it's incompatible with the Liver of Sulfur.

I took all the pieces to the sink and washed and scrubbed them really well with steel wool, and dipped again. It took several dips, but the pieces got about 98% covered. Interestingly, most of the spots that would not take the patina were on the back (non-etched) side - so not of much concern to me.

If you look at this photo again, there is a small area on the front of one of the oval earrings, where there's no LOS (arrow). Probably won't impact the finished piece.

So today's task is to remove all the LOS I struggled to put on there, leaving the pretty, patinated copper underneath.

After that, I may start a new beadweaving piece - I'm feeling the need to bead!

Today's burning question to my readers - I'm really wondering if my readers tend to be jewelry makers, or jewelry buyers. Would you rather by the components (once cleaned up and finished) like this, and incorporate them into your own designs, or are you looking to purchase finished jewelry? Please drop me a comment and let me know!

Thanks, and have a great Wednesday!

2 comments: said...

I just re-read this - why would you throw out the acid ?

Yes it can get weaker - but I use a lot and put a sheet of plastic over then the lid to keep it from evaporating - when it goes back on the heated fryer - I use a cat litter scoop to clean out the copper debris (gets crusty) and just add a little fresh (not much) and it works for a long time and as you know I go through a lot of copper

Sweet Freedom said...

I store mine in a sealed Tupperware, and it does last for a couple of months, but it eventually gets to where it just won't etch any more. I don't heat mine.

This particular batch got contaminated when the little cardboard seal that sits in the top of the lid fell out and into the bottle, and then poured out into the tupperware - it rapidly dissolved and spread throughout the acid, and was just a gunky mess.

But I haven't tried refreshing the acid once it quits working.