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Eric Miller
04-05-2011, 01:04 PM
"the art of painting on glass"by albinus elskus

Does anybody have this book? It's out of print.

I'm specifically looking to obtain the section about the correct technique for safely using acid to polish glass.

(or, does anybody know how to safely and correctly do this? I asked previously and was directed to a company in Tiffin, OH who charges for the services. I did not contact them since I'm doubtful they will share the technique).

I have these large flat cut surfaces, cut on the d-saw. They really are too large to polish by hand on the wheel, and there are too many surfaces per piece for it to be cost/time effective.

If I can figure out the right way to accomplish this, it's "the last piece in the puzzle" of these pieces I'm trying to make.

John Van Koningsveld
04-05-2011, 01:12 PM
I have the book. Let me dig it up. I will let you know when I find it, and maybe I can photocopy the pages you need.

Eric Miller
04-05-2011, 01:14 PM
you, sir, are the man.

Pete VanderLaan
04-05-2011, 02:00 PM
There is a reason that we make the references to the company in Tiffen. They do it very reasonably for what it is. HF polishing is the single most dangerous thing you can do in glass. Your first mistake will be your last mistake, getting an exposure opens you up to a disease very similar to Leukemia. The HF drills to the bone marrow and can only be stopped with injections of calcium glutamate. While buying HF can be done with relatively little difficulty, disposal legally is close to impossible requiring the use of one of the haz mat sites in Arkansas. If you do it in a school or a public shared facility you can be shut down and fined by your State as well as Federal OSHA. Personally you can be sued by all sorts of people you may have never met

To be blunt, you are on a fool's errand.

Eric Miller
04-05-2011, 02:17 PM
I guess I'll give up then. Thanks, Pete.

Thomas Chapman
04-05-2011, 04:46 PM
It's been a number of years since I spoke the the folks up in Tiffin. I never did use them. They seemed helpful, explaining the difference between acid etching and acid polishing (don't ask me about that now).
Seemed like their terms at the time were something like however much you could fit into their "basket" which was 30 inches by something (X?) for $400.

Pete VanderLaan
04-05-2011, 05:52 PM
You have it right Thomas. Normally I encourage people to explore processing their own work in every possible way but HF is so profoundly dangerous and has such amazing staying power after bad disposal that I get my shorts all in a bunch about it. I'm not trying to offend. I'm just really fearful of the stuff and yes I have used it. I got rid of everything over 25 years ago.

I was neutralizing a small batch and it virtually jumped out of the bath in my direction. It did miss me and I was fully suited up. I did have to tear up and replace all of the floorboards in the room while fully suited up. All the painted surfaces in the area peeled completely in two days. I have religion on this issue.

Kenny Pieper
04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
I have the book. Let me dig it up. I will let you know when I find it, and maybe I can photocopy the pages you need.

I would be very much interested in this also.

Eric Miller
04-06-2011, 10:54 AM
I would be very much interested in this also.

Kenny, I did find some useful info on this.





I'm not sure if I intend to pursue it...weighing the danger vs. the advantage. (e.g. $4K worth of ventilation and safety equip vs. $4K for a big rociprolap)

However, Pete is not alone in his fervent evangelism of the dangers of this stuff...and that gives me pause.

On one hand, I can't help but think that this can be done safely in an open air shed with strong ventilation, gauntlet style rubber gloves, a face shield, apron,and a breather. If books have been written on the subject, and the technique widely used in the European lead crystal engraving industry, then certainly it can be achieved safely on a small scale.

On the other hand, the price of being wrong is.....not worth it.

I'm on the fence. Every time I say "screw it, its too dangerous", a little voice says "are the people in Tiffin really magical elves or something? you want to make this work or don't you?"...and I'm back on the fence.

I'm in Columbus. I think I'll drive out there and see what they have to offer before considering the DIY route further. Maybe I'll learn something about their process and safety procedures.

Pete VanderLaan
04-06-2011, 01:09 PM
Eric, when I did acid work, I had a special filter on my big compressor that allowed me to breath clean air from an isolated source inside a suit. That is also the way you have to do it to satisfy OSHA. It says nothing of the disposal of the spent acid, which is far from spent something like nuclear spent rods are far from spent. It's not safe, you can't afford to make it safe in a shed in your back yard.

I actually don't want references of "where to do it, how to get the stuff" on craftweb. I don't want the liability of even remotely appearing to be condoning experimenting with HF. If you want to continue to discuss HF, please take the discussion elsewhere. I am taking the liberty of removing your links. Do it elsewhere by private discussion.

Thank you.

Larry Cazes
04-06-2011, 02:39 PM
My father was a PhD Organic Chemist and consequently there were few things we did NOT have access to in our basement chem lab when I was growing up. This is one of them. The warnings your getting here about HF are not overblown.

Eben Horton
04-06-2011, 05:01 PM
Eric, when I did acid work, I had a special filter on my big compressor that allowed me to breath clean air from an isolated source inside a suit. That is also the way you have to do it to satisfy OSHA. It says nothing of the disposal of the spent acid, which is far from spent something like nuclear spent rods are far from spent. It's not safe, you can't afford to make it safe in a shed in your back yard.

I actually don't want references of "where to do it, how to get the stuff" on craftweb. I don't want the liability of even remotely appearing to be condoning experimenting with HF. If you want to continue to discuss HF, please take the discussion elsewhere. I am taking the liberty of removing your links. Do it elsewhere by private discussion.

Thank you.

Gee.. People told me that you used to do a lot of acid when you were younger, but I thought they were talking about something else. :)

Jim Bowman
04-06-2011, 05:04 PM
When I was a student at CCAC in Oakland in the 80s, we had an acid polishing set-up in the corner of the classroom. The there was a ventilation cabinate ,a sink, rubber gloves, apron, boots, face shield, and eye-wash basin. The acid was pumped from a large platic barrel into a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Then you would place the glass in a plastic plant-type hanging basket and dip it in the acid. I used it to etch a sandblasted surface to a satin finish, and lived to tell. I guess I'm just lucky. I seriously doubt that the set-up is still there.

David Patchen
04-06-2011, 05:48 PM
When I was a student at CCAC in Oakland in the 80s, we had an acid polishing set-up in the corner of the classroom. The there was a ventilation cabinate ,a sink, rubber gloves, apron, boots, face shield, and eye-wash basin. The acid was pumped from a large platic barrel into a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Then you would place the glass in a plastic plant-type hanging basket and dip it in the acid. I used it to etch a sandblasted surface to a satin finish, and lived to tell. I guess I'm just lucky. I seriously doubt that the set-up is still there.

I think there's a big difference between acid-etching and acid-polishing. Pete?

Richard Huntrods
04-06-2011, 11:05 PM
When I was a student at CCAC in Oakland in the 80s, we had an acid polishing set-up in the corner of the classroom. The there was a ventilation cabinate ,a sink, rubber gloves, apron, boots, face shield, and eye-wash basin. The acid was pumped from a large platic barrel into a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Then you would place the glass in a plastic plant-type hanging basket and dip it in the acid. I used it to etch a sandblasted surface to a satin finish, and lived to tell. I guess I'm just lucky. I seriously doubt that the set-up is still there.

When I was taking organic chem in the 70's we used to wash our hands in benzene because it didn't strip out the oils like acetone did.

Then there are the stories about DMSO and other very interesting chemicals.

Then there was the spinning band distillation tower in our lab to make un-denatured ethanol. The medical lab where my wife worked had cobalt-60 in lead-lined cabinets. THICK lead-lined cabinets. She worked on some of the very earliest prostaglandin-e assay tests. All seriously scary stuff now.

-R

Virgil Jones
04-07-2011, 06:59 AM
When I was taking organic chem in the 70's we used to wash our hands in benzene because it didn't strip out the oils like acetone did.

Then there are the stories about DMSO and other very interesting chemicals.

Then there was the spinning band distillation tower in our lab to make un-denatured ethanol. The medical lab where my wife worked had cobalt-60 in lead-lined cabinets. THICK lead-lined cabinets. She worked on some of the very earliest prostaglandin-e assay tests. All seriously scary stuff now.

-R

In the 70's you could by DMSO and Oranges at the same time on street corners in Phoenix, Az.

Eric Miller
04-07-2011, 09:01 AM
I think there's a big difference between acid-etching and acid-polishing. Pete?

I *think* the issue is specifically the use of Hydrofluoric acid. Acid etching can be done with a number of safe(er) acids and commercially available products. I'm assuming that since etching is described in Henry's book, it makes the cut of what would be considered safe for discussion here.

From what I gather, acid polishing down to clear can only be done with a mixture of Hydrofluoric and Sulfuric acids. While sulfuric acid on its own is relatively tame, what I'm getting from this thread is that the HF is wicked dangerous.

Eric Miller
04-07-2011, 09:02 AM
I am taking the liberty of removing your links. Do it elsewhere by private discussion.

Thank you.

I also removed the .jpg attachment as well.

Eric Miller
04-08-2011, 09:34 AM
I *think* the issue is specifically the use of Hydrofluoric acid. Acid etching can be done with a number of safe(er) acids and commercially available products. I'm assuming that since etching is described in Henry's book, it makes the cut of what would be considered safe for discussion here.

From what I gather, acid polishing down to clear can only be done with a mixture of Hydrofluoric and Sulfuric acids. While sulfuric acid on its own is relatively tame, what I'm getting from this thread is that the HF is wicked dangerous.

Pete, (and others with bona fide experience here) can you confirm that my assumptions above are correct?

Pete VanderLaan
04-08-2011, 09:56 AM
I am going to give Henry a call and ask him to respond. I'm pretty sure what he will say.

Assumptions are pretty dangerous things when dealing in this kind of permanent toxicology. I don't consider fuming Sulfuric to be a tame material although I do certainly admit to using it quite frequently for other purposes. I think if you insist on pursuing etching that you at least consider Ammonium bifluoride as an alternative. These days I sandblast a piece and treat it with heated baby oil and I am quite content with the results.

Doing something just because you can doesn't make it a good idea.

Eric Miller
04-08-2011, 10:28 AM
Assumptions are pretty dangerous things when dealing in this kind of permanent toxicology.
I'm completely sold on this line of thinking. There will be no acid polishing in my backyard shed until all assumptions have evolved into knowledge.

consider Ammonium bifluoride as an alternative.
Will that polish furnace glass to clear? (I'm looking to polish to clear in this case, not etch or frost)

treat it with heated baby oil and I am quite content with the results.
This produces a translucent frost, correct?

Doing something just because you can doesn't make it a good idea.
Again, I'm completely on board with your teachings here. In the summer of my 15th year I think I remember my father telling me something similar right before I took my first solo flight...but yet, that stubborn kid took flight and father's fears were never realized.

I will not permit any other outcome here: I will either:
not do it because it is too dangerous, and thanks to your guidance...or I will do it safely and successfully.

With a wife and three children, and at least 40 good glassblowing years left in my life, no other outcome is acceptable to me.

Dan Ellis
04-08-2011, 07:26 PM
Why heated baby oil? And doesn't it collect dust?

Joe Pfeifer
04-08-2011, 11:56 PM
In case anyone would like to have a nice frost, vs gloss acid polish, there is a material available (powder) you mix with hydrochloric, called lerite. It's safer to store, and somewhat safer to handle. (used in bottle frosting).

John Van Koningsveld
04-09-2011, 07:30 AM
Joe, I have been trying to find a reliable source for this product. Do you have one?

Pete VanderLaan
04-09-2011, 07:40 AM
Will that polish furnace glass to clear? (I'm looking to polish to clear in this case, not etch or frost)


With a wife and three children, and at least 40 good glassblowing years left in my life, no other outcome is acceptable to me.
********



No, if you have to have clear, send it to Tiffin. Spurge.
Well it's good to know you're only fifty.

Rick Sherbert
04-09-2011, 11:06 AM
No, if you have to have clear, send it to Tiffin. Spurge.
Well it's good to know you're only fifty.

I think Spurge is pretty dangerous too. It removes 18 years from alot of peoples lives...

Eric Miller
04-09-2011, 11:51 AM
I think Spurge is pretty dangerous too. It removes 18 years from alot of peoples lives...

This is perhaps the funniest post I've ever read here.

Pete VanderLaan
04-09-2011, 12:24 PM
OK, Splurge then.

Greg Vriethoff
04-09-2011, 12:27 PM
I think Spurge is pretty dangerous too. It removes 18 years from alot of peoples lives...
It's also a skin and eye irritant (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7445.html).

Eric Miller
04-09-2011, 02:42 PM
It's also a skin and eye irritant (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7445.html).
The spurge Rick is referring to comes from a different kind of hard wood.

Rick Sherbert
04-09-2011, 06:19 PM
The spurge Rick is referring to comes from a different kind of hard wood.

LOL Eric :)

Alexander Adams
04-09-2011, 07:39 PM
HF seeks out Calcium which is vital to proper organ and muscle function. Short term exposure risks could include organ failure. Long term stuff would be down right awful. Exposure to a small amount will be painful but sensing the exposure will be delayed. Upon arriving at the Emergency room, be sure to bring the MSDS sheet with you or be redundant and say Hydrofluoric Acid and HF as most ER doctors will simply assume that you have mumbled or mispronounced Hydrochloric Acid which is very common and requires a different treatment upon exposure. Some ERs are more prepared than others to deal with patients who are exposed to HF. Some ER Doctors wont even know how to treat a patient who has been exposed. Pain killers are not administered during treatment because the only way to know if the treatment is working is if the pain of the exposure diminishes and finally subsides. (having fun yet)

The Sulfuric Acid removes the salts that build up on the glass surface as the HF chews through the material. Some glasses work better than others in this process.

Does one add Acid to Water or Water to Acid? I can never remember but I know that one ought to know this before finding out the explosive hard way.

It's a felony to dispose of the material improperly. Felonies are fun things to explain to cops during traffic stops and future employers.

An example. A small amount of HF killed a sanitation worker in Brooklyn in the early 90's. A partially full container popped as the garbage truck compacted its load. The gasses that seeped out the back of the truck quickly took out the worker following the vehicle. I couldn't think of a worse way to go.

Polishing with HF is usually a shortcut for other methods that are safer. Waterford Crystal was able to eliminate multiple passes on the lathe for carving their wares. Instead they hit the work with one rough wheel and send it over for a bath. If Aristide Colette were making work today, I'm sure that a sandblaster would trump the bath of HF. How about fire polishing work?

The risk simply isn't worth it. I used to be employed to periodically HF polish for someone. We did it at an approved plant, with state-of-the-art hazmat suits and OSHA approved ventilation. I was young and didn't think about the risk so much. Today, I wouldn't even want to be the guy rinsing, it's just too dangerous.

Sandblast with a coarse mesh of aluminium oxide, then switch to a finer mesh. Wash it well, dry and apply some type of clear oil that will oxidise (harden) over time. There are some unique products available at Michaels Art&Craft supply that can be applied and will dry after a week to create a shiny surface. Avoid the Cream Etch.....that stuff is blech unless you feel like tagging the windows of a shopping center.

Rosanna Gusler
04-10-2011, 08:34 AM
it is add acid to water. rosanna

Pete VanderLaan
04-10-2011, 10:04 AM
Thank you Alex. You said in just a few words what seems to take me pages. And what you need to ask for is subcutaneous calcium glutamate injections at the ER. They probably won't have it. Too bad. If it got to your lungs it won't matter.

Eric Miller
04-10-2011, 08:55 PM
Sandblast with a coarse mesh of aluminium oxide, then switch to a finer mesh. Wash it well, dry and apply some type of clear oil that will oxidise (harden) over time. There are some unique products available at Michaels Art&Craft supply that can be applied and will dry after a week to create a shiny surface.

Yeah, I'm really going to have to do something like this I think. Too many good and experienced people now have warned against it, proceeding is just nominating myself for a Darwin award.

At this point I have three good options:
1. Tiffin
2. buy a rociprolap
3. blast (or flat gind) down to a fine grit, then coat with "something glossy"

fire polishing is not a great option for three reasons:
- the face down (pastorelli side) would invaribly get dicked up unless you had a mirror smooth pastorelli. (these are two sided objects, both sides need polished )

- I really want to keep the crisp 90 degree edges left from the saw cuts, its part of the aesthetic. fire polishing would radius these edges and soften them considerably.

- each slice is taken from a larger hemispherical chunk of glass, and then reassembled in sequence so the swirls of color inside create a sort of repeating transitional rythm from slice to slice. So, if I crack just one slice bringing it back up to fire polish, the whole piece is f**ked. The original chunk could be 20-30lb of glass, w$200 worth of color inside.

I really have no desire to get in the acid polishing game...I really just want to make these objects, that's all I'm concerned about.

Alexander Adams
04-10-2011, 09:37 PM
Cut on a Covington type slab saw, then lap wheel, then reciprolap. Obviously, it's a dream equipment situation. I would think that Tiffen would leave you with a rather dry look. If you jiggled the things on the reciprolap with a prepolish abrasive, you could probably get a surface that wouldn't even need oil. (obviously this is a dream equipment scenario)

Pete VanderLaan
04-11-2011, 07:20 AM
I would bet there will be trouble will the color and the thickness of the slab, which I am currently guessing. I slab cut stuff all the time and lap it and it's really hard to get a complete cut without some sort of "munch " at the end of the sawing.

The bigger it gets the harder to get it off the lap. At a certain point the flatness of the lap will come in to play and you really need two laps minimum, or two trays since you still have to polish. I have to have about 20 trays for six laps. The laps have really gotten too expensive to buy anymore. They are four times the price I used to pay for them and have a horrible learning curve.

Tom Bloyd
04-11-2011, 08:56 AM
I heard there is a coldworking shop in Seattle that does all the finish work for a lot of the high end work there. Anyone know of the place?

Thomas Chapman
04-11-2011, 10:09 AM
Look up Joe BenVenuto in Seattle. He does Preston's and others. For coldwork, Joe be the man.

Rich Samuel
04-11-2011, 12:44 PM
Tom, Michael Bokrosh may be the guy you're thinking of.

http://www.bokrosh.com/index.html

David Patchen
04-11-2011, 12:55 PM
What about using an alpha handheld polisher? I'm amazed at how quickly the pads cut and polish. If you're careful you could definitely keep the surface flat and preserve the corners.

Joe Pfeifer
04-12-2011, 10:16 PM
Where does Michael Bokrosh get his colored optical glasses?

Rich Samuel
04-13-2011, 05:36 AM
Schott, mostly, but I'm sure he has other sources as well.

Joe Pfeifer
04-13-2011, 03:21 PM
Joe, I have been trying to find a reliable source for this product. Do you have one?

mfg is Seppic:

http://www.seppic.com/industrial-specialties/frosting-glass/lerite-@/1243/view-1013-seproduit.html;jsessionid=-Bbp4BHDqPZXgqOe-fm4PQ__

SEPPIC Inc.
30, Two Bridges Road, suite 210
Fairfield, New Jersey 07004-1530
us.seppic@airliquide.com
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
+1 973 882 5597

John Van Koningsveld
04-13-2011, 10:27 PM
Joe, thank you.

Eric Miller
04-14-2011, 11:25 AM
mfg is Seppic:

http://www.seppic.com/industrial-specialties/frosting-glass/lerite-@/1243/view-1013-seproduit.html;jsessionid=-Bbp4BHDqPZXgqOe-fm4PQ__


this product says "Allows a range of frosting appearances, from matte to shiny"

I notice its "Formulation based on ammonium bifluoride", which lines up with Pete's earlier suggestion as an alternative to HF polishing.

Anybody here ever use this stuff to achieve the "shiny" appearance?

This might be the ticket!

Eric Miller
04-14-2011, 11:40 AM
to future readers of this thread...if the cautionary statements here don't steer you away from DIY acid polishing, then read this thread:

http://warmglass.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=19336&start=0

if THAT doesn't steer you away, then God help you.

I'm about as daring, hard headed, and "don't give a f**k" as people come, and I can tell you that after weeks of optimistic research, DIY acid polishing of glass is nothing short of stupid.

If I can't figure something else out such as flat lapping or blasting to a fine grit and spraying with something inert, I'm gonna bite the bullet and send it to Tiffin, or buy a reciprolap.

John Riepma
04-14-2011, 06:04 PM
It sounds like you could probably consider doing your next root canal or colonoscopy yourself and use the money you save to have someone else do the polishing for you. You'll probably come out ahead or at least even from a health and safety perspective and get a better job at less cost.

On the polishing, I mean....:)

Don Burt
04-15-2011, 07:17 AM
I've taken sandblasted flat stained glass sheet back to a gloss by firing china paint flux on it to 1070F. You have to put a lot on. It contains about 60% PbO, which makes safety interesting. But it does gloss. It will deteriorate very quickly with weak acid contact. But if you can keep the piece indoors away from citrus fruit, can find a way to spray it without poisoning yourself, and can keep children from tasting it after its completed, it should be safe and will remain brilliantly shiny forever.

Pete VanderLaan
04-15-2011, 09:09 AM
I've taken sandblasted flat stained glass sheet back to a gloss by firing china paint flux on it to 1070F. You have to put a lot on. It contains about 60% PbO, which makes safety interesting. But it does gloss. It will deteriorate very quickly with weak acid contact. But if you can keep the piece indoors away from citrus fruit, can find a way to spray it without poisoning yourself, and can keep children from tasting it after its completed, it should be safe and will remain brilliantly shiny forever.

*******
That is a lot of "ifs".

I would caution anyone that the Ammonium Biflouride is not a safe process. HF is HF.

Greg Vriethoff
04-16-2011, 11:38 PM
"Formulation based on ammonium bifluoride"

"shiny" appearance?
I was goofing-off one day at work ('cause my boss pissed me off about something. can't remember what now) while doing some sandblasting and etching with one of the better known commercial formulations that utilizes ammonium bifluoride. I took a scrap piece and masked it off with duct tape, and then cut a "message" out. I wanted to see how deep the stuff could actually etch if I left it in the bath for the rest of the day.

When I started work the next day I felt something clank on the bottom of the container when I was putting in the first piece of the day. Left that thing in all night, huh? Oops.

In addition to the "design" being etched-in about a quarter mil (maybe?) it was "shiny" relative to the sandblasted surface of the rest of the piece. "Shiny" as in not "high-polish" like Waterford, but more like badly applied gloss spray paint.

I'm almost certain I still have that piece somewhere. I've already dug around a little, but with no luck yet. If I find it I'll post pics. Hope I still have it.

Anders Rydstedt
03-31-2012, 11:56 AM
What is the difference between ammonium bifluoride, (which is what I believe is in "sugar acid") and hydrofluoric acid? The stuff you buy off the shelf says it has hydrofluoric acid on the msds. It seems to be at a weaker strength and is marketed for frosting soda -lime glass. Is it safer to use ammonium bifluoride? Ie. does it NOT eat your bones? Is this something you can get without a license and is it something that can be disposed of reasonably?. The sugar acid supposedly can be neutralized with baking soda. Any info would be appreciated. Id like to make a larger acid bath for dunking soda lime glass for a silky look.

Pete VanderLaan
03-31-2012, 03:44 PM
Ammonium bifluoride is NOT sugar acid. It does not fume the way HF does. It is safer but not to be assumed as safe. It is more easily neutralized than HF . You can buy ammonium fluoride in fifty lb bags or at least you used to be able to, It is still to be approached with serious ventilation and genuine caution. It does dissolve certain glasses better then other. I found it to be slow but a reasonable way to keep surfaces from fingerprinting. Again, it's dangerous stuff.

Dave Bross
03-31-2012, 10:20 PM
I'm getting in on this one late.

Something for about 15 posts back to help remember if it's acid in water or water in acid.

You don't mind putting your ass in water but you really don't want any water in your ass.

Johnny Memonic