Folksy Ltd

Liver of sulphur query

One for the jewellers…who uses liver of sulphur? If you do, what type do you use & where do you get it from please?
I’ve always oxidised my copper wire work, & have just been using pre mixed bottles from Amazon which have always been fine & lasted a good while. However, the last couple of batches I’ve had don’t seem to be the same quality - takes forever to work & the colour doesn’t seem to get as dark. A little google search throws up loads of options - lump / gel / concentrated, with a massive range of prices, & I don’t know where to start!
Would really appreciate any input or recommendations. Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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Because I don’t use liver of sulphur very often I tend to buy the cheapest ready mixed solution and then when it stops working I don’t mind chucking what’s left as it hasn’t cost me much. I think the first bottle I got (which lasted for years) came from Metal Clay, can’t remember if the replacement came from the same source or not.
My understanding is that lump LoS lasts longest as you make up the solution fresh each time (but you do need to store the lumps in the correct manner). Have you ever tried the boiled egg method instead?

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I use cool tools Liver of Sulphur Gel, just 1-2 drops in hot water from the tap and it works a treat in 5-10 minutes, I’ve had the odd problem with some copper not ‘taking’ but usually a quick clean with a scotch pad and a 2nd dip it’s fine

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Ah thanks for that Sasha. I’ll have a look into the lump stuff & how I’d need to store it. TBH the bottles I was getting aren’t expensive, I’ve just always used those so wondered if there was a better alternative (still feel like a complete novice sometimes!) Going to have to go & google the boiled egg method - sounds interesting…& can’t smell any worse than LOS :rofl:

Thanks Max! I hadn’t thought about just scrubbing & dipping it again - doh! Will try that next time :grin:

Hard boil an egg or two place them in a sealable bag (or other container) and smash them up (shells and all). Put your pieces in the eggy mess, seal the bag and leave until it achieves a level of blackness you are happy with. Rinse the egg off. Might not be ideal for you - you might get egg stuck in the wire detailing - but might be worth a try whilst you wait for fresh LoS.

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I use the los oxidising solution from Cookson gold, as long as you stopper it really quick to exclude air and moisture it lasts well, I used to use the lump, but it fails really fast, as the entire lumps are exposed to air and moisture when you open the jar.
I add the metal items to hot water, so that temperature is even, then add a couple of drops of solution, not too much or the oxide layer will flake off.

Hmm, sorry but you lost me at ‘eggy mess’ :rofl: Not really a fan of boiled egg anyway, & yes think bits of shell would get in between the wires. Think I’ll stick to the chemical stuff!

@DeborahJonesJewellery - that’s interesting about the lump, maybe I should just stick to the liquid then. I’ll have a look at the cookson stuff. I knew about using hot water, but didn’t realise using too much would make it flake. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong recently - adding a bit more when it’s been taking ages (impatient, me? Never!)

i use the one from kernowcraft in small drop bottles

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I’ve also been using the small ready made bottles - cheap and cheerful but not sure they are the best long term option as some suppliers dilute it and it’s not very stable. Think there are better options if using it a lot and I did a bit of research on this a few weeks ago.

Conclusion I came to is that the gel stuff is probably the best option for me. Relatively expensive but seems it goes a long way as you only need a tiny amount and it’s much more stable than the other formats as doesn’t get ruined if the light gets to it (the one I looked at on YouTube didn’t anyway). Also easier to dispense and only use what you need as not having to try to break up the lumps.

Now I have more time for jewellery making and oxidising more often I’m planning to invest in some.

Btw other thing I found out - you probably know this already - is that the spent solution makes an excellent plant food and is a great eco friendly way to get rid of it. Just leave until it goes clear add some when watering.

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Hi, I’m Tanya. This is my first time posting on the forum (bit of a technophobe, but finally finished listing things). I think I looked at one of your beautiful designs on the gothic thread yesterday? I started wire wrapping for the first time this year and have yet to use bare wire or attempt oxidising. I was thinking about it so I was looking at LOS yesterday and wasn’t sure which to buy either. The same with what to coat it with after. I am still a bit intimidated by chemicals. Sorry I can’t recommend anything yet, but just wanted to say hello. :slight_smile:

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Hi Tanya, good to hear from you - re coating I just use wax. I’m all about shoestring homespun work arounds (provided they work) so I use one I made myself out of beeswax and olive oil (also great for disc cutting lubricant and protecting equipment and would probs make a great furniture polish :rofl:). I have lacquer spray but wax was all we used when I was training so I just go with this and seems to work.

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Thank you for replying. I love your work arounds and like home solutions where possible myself. Is there anything olive oil isn’t good for? :rofl:I was looking at protectaclear but this might be a good option. Lovely to meet you.

Ahh thanks for that @feelfeltfound - yep I suspect that’s what’s happened with mine, different supplier & they’re watering it down. I think I might just get some from Kernowcraft as Valerie @jenniesgems suggested for now. Then maybe have a play around with a gel type in the new year once things have calmed down. Yes, I did read about using it as fertiliser - the garden’s been appreciating it!

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Hi Tanya! Well done for coming on the forum - it’s daunting at first but really lovely on here. You have some gorgeous designs, just been having a little look in your shop :heart_eyes:
Most of my makes are bare copper, I personally find it slightly easier to work with - it’s softer & not as slippery, plus you don’t need to worry about tool marks as much (but then I can be quite heavy handed :rofl:) I actually don’t coat anything - I have tried with wax a couple of times, but I found it gets into the weaving, & my skin really didn’t get on with it. I’m probably not the best person to ask - everything I know I learned from google or trial & error! I really need to change how I polish too as I still think I could get a better finished look. The idea with oxidising wire work is that you only polish up the high points to emphasise the weaving, but my brass brush gets too far into the gaps I think. Something else I need to research! :grin:

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Hi Tanya i use a lacquer on my sheet copper designs but i probably wouldn’t recommend using on wire work as it would get stuck and clog in between the wire

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Thanks Dee. I wish I had paid a visit sooner. I saw the LOS thread and instantly though “Ahhh they must me my people!” :laughing:I hadn’t realised Folksy was such a supportive community. Thank you for the compliment. I love your pieces too. I still have a lot to learn as I have been following online tutorials mostly. Plus I think my pricing is a bit on the high side, but it is trial and error on my part too. I love the antiqued copper look with a patina, as it really brings out the finer details that a shiny plated copper hides. Does it leave marks on the skin? I have read it only leaves the green mark if the wearer is copper deficient. It’s good to hear there are less tool marks with to worry about with bare copper. I try my best (add coils to cover them on occasion) but spirals are a difficult one to keep mark free, especially with the anti-tarnish coating.

Based on the tutors I follow (Kelly Jones, Nicole Hanna) they tend use ultra fine (0000) steel wool to polish and buff with. From looking around online it seems inexpensive. I can’t say I have used either a brass brush or wire wool yet to give an actual opinion but that may be an option to research? From what I can see your work is gorgeous as it is. Thank you for the advice regarding the coating. x

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Hi Valarie. Thank you so much for the advice. I think you have just saved me a small fortune. :slight_smile:

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No worries. It doesn’t stain, but is messy & incredibly smelly - think rotten eggs. Need your windows open! I do try not to get too much on my skin, but looking at the one Kernowcraft sell it’s actually sold as a bathing product in Japan, which was a new one on me! I use 0000 wire wool to clean up the pieces after oxidising, but they still need a bit of a polish after as the steel wool doesn’t really put any shine on them (that’s what I use the brush for, but think I need to upgrade!)

I think the green staining from copper is more to do with your skin type & how much you sweat rather than any deficiency. I find if I wear a cuff whilst out & about in the summer I will have a green mark on my wrist, but it doesn’t happen in winter (i’m cold blooded lol). It comes off easily, but I avoid making ear wires from copper - one thing having it on your wrist, different putting it through your ears! There are a lot of theories about health benefits of copper - I read one that said if you don’t go green then it’s not working!!

Yes I think Nicole Hanna was one of the blogs I read about oxidising in the first place! Wire weaving seems to be more of an American thing, & they all seem to use tumble polishers in the US but I decided it wouldn’t really work for me. And yes, spirals are a pain :rofl:

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I like the effect from polishing the item before oxidising it - keep forgetting not to touch it in between. I use either a brass brush (just have cheap one and has lasted a long time but is starting to fall apart), steel wool (just household stuff - sometimes the soap filled pads) or sometimes fine sand paper.

I’ve stated using smaller and smaller containers for oxidising so I don’t need to save up a batch to be done -uses less product and creates less guff. Results are really unpredictable and often end up putting more drops in through lack of patience :grinning: