Tuesday, April 1, 2014
More Etching Tests
So, the electro-etching thing wasn't working for me. It was just taking way too long and I wasn't getting the results I was going for. I also realized that even when using a saline solution instead of an acid, I'd still have to dispose of the used etchant as hazardous waste, because of the metal salts dissolved in it. So basically, as far as I can tell, there's no way to etch without having to deal with disposing of hazardous chemicals. So I decided to just go ahead and get some ferric chloride, which is what most folks use.
This stuff requires a bit more care when handling, as it stains anything it touches (except metal, which it eats instead!), can burn pinholes in fabric and can give you a mild acid burn if you get it on your skin. If you do (which I did; wearing protective gloves doesn't do much good when you get the stuff inside the glove!), you can just neutralize the acid with baking soda and scrub up with soap and water, so it's not a huge deal. You do NOT want to get it in your eyes or ingest it, though. I think I can manage to avoid that.
Well, the results are MUCH better than I was getting with the electro setup. The test piece was in the ferric chloride solution for an hour and 40mins, and got me a nice, deep etch. All of those photos are of the same piece - taken at different angles with/without flash. I LOVE how the light plays over the metal!!!
I then played around with some torch pantina'ing, which gave me a bunch of colors in the recesses - reds and yellows and even some blue/green hues. Then I ran out of butane for my torch, so I'll continue my exploration of that as soon as I can find my extra can of butane. :P
And when I get my spiffy Renaissance Wax sealer (hopefully tomorrow), I'll see what it looks like with the finish on it and all buffed out. I should also be getting my jewelers saw later this week, and then I can start cutting the pieces out and actually making a finished pendant.
Yay! Getting closer!