Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mad man Zach and his Firescale Remover

When the time came for us to decide where our son Zachary should go to jewelry school, we had much input. Some of the input came from a friend who worked at Tiffany's and his strong recommendation was FIT in New York. So off Zachary went. He came back with many bits of knowledge to add to our 3 generation bag of tricks. One of the best is firescale remover. Firescale is deposited when metal is heated while being exposed to oxygen. It is very common on silver and can even be present less frequently on gold pieces.

The firescale can be prevented by treating the surface before soldering with a boric acid based coating. The piece is treated by dipping in a concentrated solution of powedered boric acid in denatured alcohol. After dipping, the alcohol is burned off by exposing the piece to a flame. This is done after your solution bottle is removed from the area. Then soldering is done in the normal manner and the fine coating of boric acid prevents the formation of firescale on the treated area.

I can see teachers cringing at the thought of bottles of alcohol solution around open flames. So, there is another solution. Firescale remover, a polishing compound, can be used in the finishing stages. There is a very effective compound, bright yellow in color, that can take care of this issue without having to resort to the alcohol solution.

Zach found out about the compound from a silversmith back east that worked on liturgical pieces. He was amazed at the results. Then came the hunt for the compound to bring back to Utah. After a few months of searching, we finally hit on the correct formulation. We have it here at the store, very reasonably priced and we think teachers especially will love it. And the name that you ask for it by......why of course Madman Zach's Firescale Remover.

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