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How to use Liver of Sulfur
(Win-Ox, Silver Black, etc.) are easy to apply but are too easily removed.
The chemical also tends to creep out long after the work is finished unless the piece is
rinsed very thoroughly.
Liver of Sulfur is the most effective oxidizer of sterling
silver we know of in both cost and performance.
It, unfortunately, is the least easy to apply.
It penetrates and thus is the most resistant. We usually finish our work with tripoli then
scrub it clean in
hot soapy water with a brass brush and then oxidize.
This way the areas needing to be polished can be stripped easily without having to apply
on the buff that may gouge out recessed areas that are intended to remain oxidized.
You can achieve an extremely good antiqued effect by partially removing
the oxidized surface using
very fine steel wool. Next buff the piece with a new muslin wheel without any compound.
the steel wool scratches. Finish by hand rubbing with a rouge cloth. This gives the piece
a nice glow.
One ounce will make about a quart of solution. Dissolve the
mineral in warm water.
Make up only what you need at one time. Both the mineral and solution forms will stay
preserved if they are
kept in air tight and light proof containers. Opaque or dark brown "medicine"
bottles are good choices.
A yellow color tells you that the solution and / or the mineral form is still potent.
A clear solution with gray flakes at the bottom means it's time to make a fresh batch.
To get Liver of Sulfur to work the solution and/or the metal must
Heat the solution until the first whiff of steam appears. Never boil it.
Large quantities can be held at the proper temperature in a crock pot. Plastic mesh
from the grocery store can be used to dip multiple small items.
Small quantities can be heated in an old tin then poured back into an
Also the metal can be continuously torch heated and dipped into a cold solution to quickly
do small jobs.
Never dry out or boil the solution if you use this technique. Keep it wet and dip again
when steam appears.
One can tell the right amount of time to treat the metal by
observing the color change.
The desired effect is to achieve a solid blue-black appearance.
A colorful rainbow effect means that you must do one of the following...
Prolong the treatment, increase the temperature or make the solution stronger by adding
more mineral Liver of Sulfur.
Over heating or prolonged treatment should be avoided at all
Black, blotchy flakes will begin to appear on the metal's surface and the oxidization will
become very difficult to remove.
Rinse thoroughly and avoid skin contact. Liver of
Sulfur fumes are both smelly (like rotten eggs) and toxic.
Use only in a well ventilated area and never leave the lid off the solution for long
periods of time.
Always use eye protection when working with chemicals, and
keep all containers well labeled.