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Etching Technique Source Book

Poster: rmhowe <magnusm@ncsu.edu>

S. M. wrote:
> My lord,
> Do you have the publisher and ISBN on that book?
The technique is on page 41 of the revised edition, and I think it
was also in the earlier edition. Low-Tech Photoetching.

The Complete Metalsmith
 by Tim McCreight, an Illustrated Handbook
 Davis Publications Inc. Worcester, Massachusetts
 Library of Congress Catalog Number 81-66573
ISBN 0-87192-240-1

 My revised edition is 1991 - however, his very similar
 appearing book on:

Practical Casting, ISBN 0-9615984-5-X was put out in it's
revised edition in 1994 by Brynmorgen Press
                           33 Woodland Road
                           Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107
                           (207) 767-6059

so he may have had some change in printers.

However, it is a VERY common book, and both usually sell
for about $15 from many booksellers. Tim McCreight is one
of the best known metalsmith authors these days and these
books have been being reprinted for about 10 years now.
Check your local bookstores or Jewelry shows.
He also has a couple of other books on the market. One
in a compendium of advanced techniques of other metalsmiths
called Metals Technic, and the name of the other escapes me
at the moment. I don't think I have that one yet.

For the really low tech, you could use asphaltum as a resist,
they did it in period, and etch copper based items with
vinegar. For example, when the Bakufu government of Japan
kept debasing the currency with subsequent issues containing
more copper and less silver they used plum vinegar to etch
away the copper from the surface - thereby restoring the more
silvery appearance of the coins - for a while. Vinegar is
basicly Acetic acid, photo stop bath, with the sugars.
In practice you can use it to remove rust, and etch with,
but the sugar in the vinegar makes kind of a gooey mess
you have to clean up. But it does bubble away quite nicely.
White Vinegar seems to work better than yellow. Much less 
hazardous. But Tandy Printed Circuit Board Etch is widely
available too. So is Stop Bath at photo supply stores.

To make the asphaltum more usable you probably need to mix
in some resin (pine rosin) to thicken it in a double boiler.
This makes it stiffer and easier to scratch the design thru
as opposed to just plain sticky. I obtained some at a local
somewhat unusual paint store. They also dealt in art supplies.
A friend picked me up some rosin from a farm store, he said
that farmers use it to help dehair hogs. Don't ask me how.
On the other hand if your paint is of suitable hardness you
could just scratch through that.

The enamelists of Limoges, however, chiseled and engraved away
the cells for their enamels in period. I know, I bought the 
book, it shows it. The metal used was also fairly thick.
M. Magnus Malleus, Atlantia
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