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Refinements to baking soda detarnishing?



 
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:15 pm    Post subject: Refinements to baking soda detarnishing? Reply with quote

I've tried baking soda and aluminum to detarnish silver. I've done it with mp's and a whole horn.

What I keep encountering is it works up to a point. There are always certain stubborn spots and also hit and miss results on the engraving on the bell. Using a fresh piece of aluminum budges the stubborn spots a little.

Anyone have insights on how to improve this? This guy says never use salt though some videos include salt. He doesn't elaborate on why he thinks you shouldn't use it.


Link

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etc-etc
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do not use salt (alkali metal chlorides) on brass as it leads to corrosion and eventual complete destruction of the material - look up "bronze disease".

You can use the method shown in video for tarnished gold-plated-on-silver horns and mouthpieces as gold plating is porous enough to let the reaction occur for the silver layer beneath.

For stubborn spots, you can use:
1) repeated treatments,
2) higher concentrations of baking soda,
3) washing soda instead of baking soda,
4) fresh aluminum sheets, and
5) higher temperature of water.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

etc-etc wrote:
For stubborn spots, you can use:
1) repeated treatments,
2) higher concentrations of baking soda,
3) washing soda instead of baking soda,
4) fresh aluminum sheets, and
5) higher temperature of water.

Assuming a stripped-down silver-plated horn - i.e. nothing that isn't metal in the bath is any temperature too much? I.e. boiling water right off the stove isn't going to hurt anything?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not use boiling water for horn detarnishing as amounts required are too much for safe handling, especially with a plastic container. If the container fails - just imagine - results will be terrible.

For the horn, water that just finished boiling should be OK unless there are any weakened and stressed solder joints.
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing in life is perfect and I cannot help however perhaps I can shed some light on why there are uneven results.

Think of it, you have a chemical bath that you hope will react to an untreated sheet of metal that has been simply dipped into the bath and has had no preparation whatsoever after it has been handled for years.

it will have picked up gunge oils and greases and none of these has been disturbed before immersion. I am surprised that the treatment works as well as it does.

If you were to gently wash away all the grease and oil in a bath of degreaser then the detarnishing treatment would have unencumbered access to all the silver. If the solution cannot get access to the silver it cannot work on it.

I am not suggesting that this is the reason for the patchy results or the cure, but removing stubborn oily deposits would seem to be a logical improvement before using the process. As for the engraving, I could easily see how oily deposits that would prevent the bath from working might build up in engraving, so degreasing in the engraving might help there too.

Maybe a preparatory soft soap bath and gentle rubbing so as to remove these oils but not disturb the silver oxide is the answer at least in part to the problem.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bflatman wrote:
If you were to gently wash away all the grease and oil in a bath of degreaser then the detarnishing treatment would have unencumbered access to all the silver. If the solution cannot get access to the silver it cannot work on it.

Yes, gave it a going over with a strong grease-cutting dish soap.
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Hrossey
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did see something online suggesting adding vinegar to the water in addition to the baking soda, worth a try?
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. Baking soda is alkaline, vinegar is acidic. They will cancel each other out. Violently, if the concentrations are high.

White vinegar is sometimes suggested as a poor-man's chemical clean, essentially a mild acid dip. The baking soda works to actually reduce the oxidation, a totally different chemical reaction.
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rlk
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: Refinements to baking soda detarnishing? Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
I've tried baking soda and aluminum to detarnish silver. I've done it with mp's and a whole horn.

Anyone have insights on how to improve this?

Step one would be to use the correct chemicals.

You want to use washing soda, not baking soda.

It's easy enough to change baking soda into washing soda - google is your friend.

rlk
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mm55
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is nothing incorrect about using baking soda. It works just fine; I used it about two weeks ago on a silver horn and it's bright and shiny now. Washing soda also works. It may work faster than baking soda, but the reaction is so quick that the speed-up would be irrelevant to me. Regardless, baking soda works just fine.
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was never able to get baking soda to do anything worth the trouble with getting tarnish off silver. i tried lots of different sets of instructions. it works a little bit, but not really
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illegalbugler
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found that it did best with smaller pieces like mouthpieces, caps, slides. Those all came out great.

It did improve my horn a bit but I still had stubborn spots like Robert P. I haven't tried degreasing but will give that a try.
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Croquethed
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The baking soda soak does work. I dip mine for about a half hour in the soda and hot but not boiling water, with a 1/2 cup to cup of soda per gallon, about every other month, before it gets its monthly Dawn soak.

I find it doesn't keep the tarnish off as long as a quick swipe with Twinkle, whch is one of the less abrasive polishes, but it serves the purpose and preserves the silver. The trick is not to let it go too long between soda soaks, which can be hard to do...because that smoky look when it first starts to tarnish is also very intriguing.

I keep the horn on the stand during the day because I pick it up for a half hour here and there, and keeping it exposed to the air quickens the tarnishh process. BUt I endorse using the soda.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the moral of the story is to not let the horn get too funky to begin with - start doing it when the horn is new or give it one good going over with silver polish and maintain it thereafter with the baking soda bath. Giving it a good going over with dishwashing liquid first seems to help.

I read a claim somewhere that repeated applications over time took the silver off silverware. My understanding was the whole point is that it won't remove silver. Anyone know enough chemistry to say one way or the other that this will or won't remove any silver?
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maxfinis
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few tricks I found helpful: 1) make sure the horn is squeaky clean inside and out, 2) use hot enough water (I use the hottest tap water, and if the bath will take more than 10 minutes I add a little boiling water to bring temp back up), 3) use plenty of baking soda (I never measured, but probably more than 1 cup per gallon, dissolved well; never tried washing soda), 4) run warm water through horn to gently warm the metal before putting in the hot bath in order to not shock the cold metal (no science behind this or evidence that this does anything, but just seemed to make sense), 5) move horn around the bath to make sure all areas get enough exposure, and 6) rinse horn well afterward (I give it another quick washing to get out all the soda residue). #1 and #2 are the most critical steps for me, and when I didn't do one of them, the result was poor. The only downside afterwards is that you see all the flaws in the plating that were previously covered up by the tarnish. The upside is that it's fast, easy, least-destructive, and reaches every nook and cranny.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
I read a claim somewhere that repeated applications over time took the silver off silverware. My understanding was the whole point is that it won't remove silver. Anyone know enough chemistry to say one way or the other that this will or won't remove any silver?

1 - This method won't remove any silver. It uses an electrochemical reaction to turn the silver sulfide - aka tarnished silver - (Ag2S) back into plain Ag (that's silver) by causing the sulfur to bond with something else - the aluminum instead of the silver.

I've only had High School chemistry, but it's solid chemistry.

2 - I have read a few times - somewhere - that silver treated this way is more susceptible to tarnish because.... well, I don't remember. I have no idea if this is factual or bogus or an alternative fact.

3 - Most silver polishes make your silver - on a trumpet, on silverwear, on whatever - by using some sort of abrasive to literally removed the tarnished silver until the underlying non-tarnished silver is exposed. Shiny! This is why toothpaste works as a kind of silver polish - it has mild abrasives.

A few polishes - notably 3M Tarnishield - utilize the electrochemical reaction to polish the silver. Many, like Wright's, use the mild abrasive method.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
2 - I have read a few times - somewhere - that silver treated this way is more susceptible to tarnish because.... well, I don't remember.

Silver polish leaves a thin coating on the metal to act as a barrier against air, the baking soda bath doesn't.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
Crazy Finn wrote:
2 - I have read a few times - somewhere - that silver treated this way is more susceptible to tarnish because.... well, I don't remember.

Silver polish leaves a thin coating on the metal to act as a barrier against air, the baking soda bath doesn't.

Well, that's true. 3M Tarnishield get good pub on this site from those who use it - including at least one manufacturer in Southern California.

I was thinking that someone mentioned that using the baking soda method itself made silver more susceptible - not just in comparison with some product that has the coating. But, I don't remember any really more specific or helpful that that. I remember being a bit dubious about it, but I'm no chemical engineer (though I know a few).
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/tarnish.html

The baking soda method will not make the silver more susceptible to tarnish than any other cleaning method, and in fact a normal wash may be worse, but some silver polishes include agents to provide a "film" over the horn to reduce tarnish. That is one of the benefits of 3M's Tarnishield -- the "shield" part helps prevent oxidation after it is applied.
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