No, I’m not talking about those things some people eat. I’m talking about a chemical which cleans the firescale (nasty black stuff) off metal which has been exposed to flame or kiln.
After a bad experience with the VERY toxic pickle I purchased at a jewelry supply place, I swore off that nasty stuff. It will eat holes in anything it comes into contact with. However, I started making lots of lampwork headpins on copper wire, which come out of the kiln covered in firescale.
While using steel wool gets a good chunk of the firescale off, I still wasn’t 100% thrilled with the results. So I started googling non toxic jewelry pickle and found a recipe using regular (cheap!) white vinegar, which I purchase by the gallon anyway. And regular table salt (also cheap!). That’s it.
The suggested ratio was 1 cup vinegar to 1 Tbsp salt. I placed the vinegar into a glass jar and heated it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then I added the salt and stirred.
I dipped the end of one headpin and swirled it around for a second or two. This is what it looked like:
So I dumped all of them into the pickle
After a 1 minute soak:
I removed them from the pickle at this point and just wiped the rest of the “soot” off with a paper towel. They are a dull pinkish color at this point
Rub them a little with 0000 steel wool and they get the shiny copper back.