24/10/2011

Cleaning with Pickle

I bought a pickle pot and safety pickle over a year ago, when I started experimenting with my torch. At first I didn't bother because I didn't solder much or make that many head pins and I could cleans them quickly enough with steel wool or using a silver bath cleaning fluid that is also acid but not as strong as safety pickle.

As i got more interested in working with the torch I finally decided to get the pickle pot, but then I got pregnant and didn't want to risk using chemicals anywhere near my baby, before or after birth, so it's been sitting there for ages.

I've since moved and set up my studio in a room with a lock on the door, the baby is now in daycare and I have to make some earrings for a friend's wedding.  After making some head pins I finally had the chance to try out the pickle pot. Since I was only cleaning about 26 head pins and made the pickle for the first time I barely even to plug in the unit because the mix is supposed to be done with warm water and it cleans fast enough that it didn't have time to cool.

I was pleased with the result. Some of the balls have tiny pits that are still dark and I will have to use some steel wool and possibly a file to get rid of the remaining black but on the whole the pins came out clean and shiny, not as white or discolored as they did when I used the silver bath cleaning fluid in the past, and it's certainly much faster than cleaning the whole batch of pins with steel wool.

I'm storing the pickle in a glass jar for future use. I could probably leave it in the pot but I'm afraid it'll corrode the plastic and since I don't use it very often it would be a waste to ruin it before it's even worth what I paid for it.

I had a bit of a problem fishing the pins out becase the liquid isn't entirely clear and I couldn't see where they were. The brass tweezers I bought to use with this are not long enough if the pot is full and fishing around for tiny pins with tweezers is  more truble than it's worth. I finally opted for emptying out the pot and only then removing the pins. I'll have to work out a more practical solution for when I just want to see if they're clean enough.

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