To start out, I’m giving kudos to Szarka Carter of Magpie Gemstones. She is the one that turned me on to gun bluing for copper. Not personally, but I remember when I first started working with copper wire years ago, reading something she wrote about using it to oxidize her copper. And let me tell ya…I ran right out and got some, cause I really did not like using LOS (Liver of Sulfur)! It stinks, it’s finicky, and well…you basically do not want to inhale it. More on LOS next time.
Today’s topic is Gun Blue, and using it on our lovely copper creations. First of all, let’s talk safety. I know there are peeps out there that don’t wear gloves, masks, etc, but I’m here to tell you that on Birchwood’s Safety Data Sheet they have a Hazard Section that says, and I quote “DANGER! MAY INTENSIFY FIRE; OXIDIZER. TOXIC IF SWALLOWED. TOXIC IF INHALED. MAY CAUSE SEVER SKIN BURNS OR EYE DAMAGE. VERY TOXIC TO AQUATIC LIFE WITH LONG LASTING EFFECTS.” Gun Blueing is a chemical solution, made up of 2 acids, a sulfate, and water. If you would like to download the Data Sheet for yourself, you can find it here.
I never never never take a chance with any chemical, not on my skin, in my nose, or in storage. I wear rubber gloves from the dollar store, after I take off my rings and other jewelry…just to be safe. Who wants to accidentally darken their rings or watch, right? As far as not breathing in the stuff, if you have a window close by, you can open it slightly. If you have a fan, it would serve you well to use both of them, especially if you have any sort of lung issues. I have one and one-half lungs. Trust me, if you are standing over it for a half-hour or so, you need ventilation or a mask. And please, wear the gloves because of your skin, too. Why take the chance. I know, I make it sound really caustic, don’t I? I’ve been using it for years, but with the safety measures I take, so far, so good.
Perma Blue, the brand name for the Birchwood product, is also not good to be leaving around where the kids or your pets can get to them. I don’t have to worry about that so much. I don’t have kids around or pets right now (so sad). Perma Blue products do have child proof lids on them, but take extra measures to make sure your loved ones are safe, too.
Like I said, I buy the larger size, which seems to last forever. When it comes (and they may not ship it to your PO Box, so just be aware of that.), it will come with a metallic seal. I do not peal the whole thing off; I poke a hole in it large enough I can squeeze some of it into my glass container. Use a screw driver or a sharp knife. Just remember to wash it off well, after your done…the knife or screw driver. Okay, you knew that…I just poke a hole because in my mind, it might help to keep the product fresher longer. I cannot, however, document that.
Use a glass container to store the Gun Blue you are using in…one with a good lid, preferably metal. Get a container large enough to dip your items in. I use a wide mouth jar from Hobby Lobby. I keep the rest of my unused large bottle in a resealable plastic bag, just cause I like to be extra safe. Keep that out of reach of children and pets, as well. I cannot stress enough…there is no home remedy for swallowing this stuff. It would be an immediate visit to the ER!
Here’s why. My first jar’s lid had a liner in it. I think it was some sort of coated pressed cardboard. This new container’s lid did not. What I had was bare metal, but I thought…okay…I will give it a go.
Here is what happened. Nice lid, huh? Yep, for some reason this product can sweat, which it did, and it started to rust out my lid, probably my cheap lid, so I decided to use a baggie to give the lid a little more protection. I’ve been doing that for over eight months now and it’s working. No problem.
So…Here’s the list of things you will need to work with Gun Blue on copper wire:
- Gun Blue…like, no kidding, Gail
- Rubber or Nitrile gloves
- Glass jar with a wide mouth
- Some sort of handmade copper hook ( I forgot this, but it’s to dip your product in the Gun Blue. More on that later)
- Ventilation and/or a face mask (not one for Halloween!)
- And a towel to work on
I guess that is about it for your introduction to Gun Blue. Yeah, you wanted more, didn’t you? Well, next time I will be discussing using Liver of Sulfur, much the same way as I did here. After that, we get to work. We will be using both side by side and you can be the judge. On paper, at least. I get stuck with the smell. Love you all. Don’t forget…
Stay Wired Up!!!