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Thread: Silver Maintenance

  1. #1
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    2,264

    Silver Maintenance

    Silver Maintainance
    I sun my silver in an open jar and leave it in bright sun for a couple of days every month or so. I haven't been able to do that since the first of last November. It's cold and often dark here, and I don't have a good place to mess with it indoors. I do continue to shoot wet plate outdoors until the daily highs can't get above 20 F. So, my silver hasn't been sunned or filtered in about half a year.

    I finally got around to it this week. Poured it into my big glass jar, covered with fine mesh, put a piece of shiny foil behind it, and kept it in the direct sun for a bit over two days. It did get murky! Tonight I filtered it three times with a coffee filter but it still looked a bit gray so I filtered it twice with cotton balls. That seemed to pick up the fine particles and cleared it nicely. It no longer smells like alcohol either. I decided to check the SG and it was 1.05! I've simply been adding distilled water to bring up the volume all winter. It took a lot of silver nitrate to bring it back up! (8x10 Lund tank.) I was surprised the tins were looking pretty good but they were starting to get spots on them. Upshot is I have fresh collodion, developer, fixer, and now nicely cleaned silver to work with this weekend.🙂 In the past I only filtered the silver two or three times with a coffee filter and will continue to do that, but now I'm also running it through a couple of cotton balls. I was pretty impressed with what those pulled out.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  2. #2
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,893

    Re: Silver Maintenance

    Back in the late 1970s, I worked in a oil industry related cement testing lab for Gulf Oil. One of the things we did was to left a smidge (metric notation is "Smidgon") of white precipitate in the bottom of the little dish. We ported this into an industry standard coffee can and just left it on the shelf.

    At some point the commodities market for silver metal exploded eventually topping out at something like $50/oz. We got to thinking about this coffee can nearly full of silver chloride powder. Refining it in the lab might have been possible but would have attracted attention, so we called around a bit. Eventually I connected with a sketchy sounding grad assistant in the chem dept of a local university. He met me at the loading dock, hefted the can, squinted a bit and gave me cash, maybe it was $75, its a long time ago now.

    We split it and took a long lunch.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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