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Acid safe container

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I was wondering what type of container most people use for storing acid in, for etching blades.

I want to find something acid safe that is long enough for larger blades, and seals up tight.

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I've had ferric chloride in a 3' long tube of PVC for almost three years now and it's held up just fine. Easy. Cheap. Effective.


You mentioned "acid" however. You may have meant FC, but technically it's not an acid. I think it's called a "caustic." Anyway, it's way safer than acid.


If you are really storing acid (i.e. Nitric, Hydrochloric, etc.) you need to store it in glass. Way back in the day I used David Boye's etching solution called "Aqua Regia" to etch my damascus. It was a mix of hydrochloric and nitric acid. It needed a vented glass container since it constantly gave off fumes that, if built up, would cause the container to explode. Totally scary stuff. You had to suit up like you were about to walk on the moon before you used it. Not sure what real acid would do to PVC.


Anyway, my advice, stay the heck away from real acid if you can. FC won't hurt you unless you get it in your eye, and it works just fine for damascus etches.





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you could also pour it back into the container it came in to store it.... And what ever you put it in make sure it has a good base so it doesn't tip over . Like if you are using a piece of pipe make a wide stand on the bottom that is fixed to the pipe or just holds the pipe upright... and make sure you label it...



I use sulfuric (battery acid) in a glass pyrex baking tray and pour the acid back into the original container when I'm through...



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I have two tubes for my ferric chloride mixes: A short one for knives and hawks and a long one for swords.


The short one is 18" of 3" PVC plugged with a floor flange on the bottom and a screw cap on top. With the floor flange screwed to a piece of plywood it's freestanding. Holds about a gallon, which is handy since I mixed one quart of Radio Shack FC and three quarts of distilled water in it. I bought it from Larry Kemp a few years ago at a hammerin for (I think) about $5.


The sword tube is 52 inches of 4" PVC pipe. I couldn't find a closed floor flange, so it just has a flat cap on the bottom and a screw cap on top. It stands secured to the rear upright of my treadle hammer by large hose clamps, duct tape, and cable ties. It holds five gallons of a blend of 1lb dry ferric chloride, four gallons of distilled water, and a gallon of distilled white vinegar. The vinegar tends to seperate out, so I have to stir it up before use or one end of the blade will etch twice as deep as the other.


The ferric nitrate for wood stays in rubber-stoppered glass, as does the straight nitric acid. Both of those are wipe-on application only (for what I do) anyway. I have also done what Dick describes, but instead of sulfuric acid I have descaled with muriatic (HCl) acid and etched with nital (95% ethyl alcohol + 5% HNO3 by volume) in the pyrex pan, pouring the liquid back into the original jar afterwards. For all these true acids (and the ferric nitrate) I use shatterproof jars. These come in cases of four from any chemical supply house and are made of brown glass coated with a thick layer of some sort of clear rubbery stuff and have Bakelite screw caps. They will break, but the rubbery stuff keeps the glass from flying everywhere and keeps the chemical from splattering. In the event of minor mishaps they'll even prevent a spill at all, but some acids will eat the coating fairly quickly.


As Dave said, true acids are bad stuff. The straight nitric scares the heck out of me because there are so many interesting ways for it to hurt me and everything else in the shop. If you have any of that or any muriatic, don't leave a vented container in your finishing area or in any closed room. It will cause every ferrous object in that room to get a fine coat of rust in a matter of days.


Ferric Chloride doesn't do that, but it does evaporate, so keep it tightly covered.

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For Ferric Chloride I keep it in one of the large washing liquid bottles, has a large mouth and a handle as a bonus. Make sure you lable it though, don't want to confuse it with the original contents.


Jerry Fisher

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