I put up pics of my copper headpin success on FB and asked if anyone had any recipes for homemade pickle solution (still not the Vlasic pickle juice!). I received a wealth of responses and thought I'd share them with those of you who mentioned also wanting to expand into metal work. So, here goes:
Items you will need:
small, dedicated crock pot (I wouldn't use it for ANYthing else!) (a ceramic pot is best, apparently the acid won't eat through glass but will through metal after awhile... interesting)
tongs (copper or wood so as not to contaminate the pickle)
brass brush, fine sandpaper or an emery board/file
Items you will need for the homemade version:
all of the above plus:
citric acid & water (only if you don't use the vinegar/sea salt solution)
The first is from a blog called Jewelry Studies Intl and is for homemade pickle. This one mentions cleaning Argentium, so I'm not sure about the copper pins, but I believe it will be okay because several ladies on FB mentioned citric pickling solutions. Try it on scrap copper, first, if you aren't sure. Or, if you're more chicken than me, wait and check back here. I plan to test drive it myself. I'll let you know!
Etsty also has wonderful bloggers that give solutions to questions of how to...? If you don't have a crock pot, but you're a mom who now has a toddler who no longer needs a bottle and you just so happen to have a bottle warmer on hand, this is a great solution for heating your solution: Etsy metal Blog
The blog, I Dream I Can Fly also goes the vinegar/salt route (go here to check her out) so I do believe this is a good recipe to try. The only "disagreement" I see is some have 1 TBSP salt to every 1 cup of vinegar, vs. 3 c vinegar & 2 TBSP salt. There may be some experimentation required here, but it's close so I think I'd go the 1:1 route on this. They also all agree that you want it heated (hence the crock pot). There's also the added caveat that pickling solution will remove any rose color from your copper so either create a set up that will only dip the pin part, not the balled up part or just put some serious elbow grease into getting the fire scale off without the pickle solution. Just still be careful, going over the rose color with sandpaper or an emery board will also remove the color and return it to just plain copper.
Another pickle solution is citric acid and vinegar; 1/2 cup citric acid to a 1/2 gallon of water (or scale to size as needed) and heat in a crock pot (obviously a necessary tool!).
All these homemade pickles will keep awhile, I'm told, stored in an airtight container when not in use. You'll know to replace them when they turn a lovely green from either the copper (which, it's been suggested, this could be saved and used as a plating solution if you're into that) or when it grows an equally lovely mold.... Uhm, ew! Time to start over with fresh pickle!
However, if you'd rather go the route of buying your pickle, here are a couple sites that sell it ready-made:
Rio Grande Jewelry Making Supplies
Santa Fe Jewelrs Supply
And that's what I have to share for today. If you have any other suggstions, recipes or blogs you'd like to share, please feel free to post 'em in the comments.
And, remember, wade in slowly. We're working our way up to that Freestyle swim. No cannon balls in this pool, please!