Before you relic anything

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by John Strope, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. John Strope

    John Strope

    Mar 9, 2018
    Lincoln, NE
    I'm in the process of building a P bass. I had some cheap chrome knobs laying around that I decided I would mess with ye olde Muriatic Acid and see what would happen. I got the knobs, shook them around for a while, got them lightly dinged to where I liked, and prepared my containers for the vapor treatment. I was going for a very subtly aging look, and as they were junk parts there weren't very high stakes.

    Or so I thought.

    Before we continue, a little backstory: I'm a mechanical engineer, and believe it or not that requires an unnecessary amount of college chemistry classes. All of what follows I should've seen coming a mile away.

    Back to the story.

    I went to the dollar store because I didn't want to ruin any of my usable containers and picked up some cheap pie tins with lids for me to use. I head back to my workspace, put my parts in the inner tin, pour in the muriatic acid, and go to turn on the ventilation.

    Oh boy.

    When I come back, the container is absolutely billowing fumes and smoke. Muriatic acid reacts with metals like tin and aluminum. I knew this. Everyone knows this. Why I didn't think of this, I will never know.

    Anyway, smoke is pouring out of the container as the acid burns through the bottom of the container, all over the table, and onto the polished concrete.

    Muriatic acid is used as industrial concrete bleach. Meaning that it ate through the top layers of the concrete and permanently stained the floor.

    The worst part is, I use a public workspace, meaning I don't own the floor that I ruined.

    Live and learn everyone. Only use plastic, acid-safe containers when handling chemicals. Also, it'd probably pay off to just do it outside. That way if you're unsure and something goes wrong, you'll only kill your grass and poison your water supply.

    Side note: google muriatic acid reacting with aluminum. Now imagine a 12"pie tin filled halfway full with the stuff.
  2. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Sorry, I had to laugh at your story----but I sincerely hope that you weren't injured in any way? HCL is nasty stuff---years ago I worked in a warehouse and I witnessed what happens when someone (not me) drops an entire gallon of it on the restroom floor.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    You got my LIKE. :roflmao:
  4. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    IMG_3007.JPG I stopped using muriatic. I have better results with straight bleach. Chrome or nickel rusts nicely overnight, and unplated metal rusts in a few hours.
    Acid, bleach, or diet Pepsi, use a glass container.
    Bummer about the floor:thumbsdown:
    saabfender and Bassbeater like this.
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Hey! Get them saddles level!
  6. Hendricks97


    Jan 3, 2017
    I have a container of muriatric acid and a container of paint thinner that apparently look similar when not paying attention. My 16 year old son did some painting and washed his hands with the "thinner" and kept complaining about how his hands were burning. I didn't realize the mistake until the next morning when I saw the sink and countertop.
  7. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I don't relic things, but when I do chemical soaks to clean or strip things I always use glass bowls. You can find them on the cheap at thrift stores so you don't have to raid the kitchen.
  8. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    I dissolved an aluminum electro socket jack plate with muriatic acid. Quite a scene with the fumes lol aluminum won’t corrode but will dissolve.

    Luckily it was on grass outside my garage.

    Tip is to use 2 containers and not let the acid touch the parts. Put parts in a smaller container, leave it open, then put that in a larger container that has the acid poured in. Cover the larger container. The fumes should eat away at the plating. Let it sit a few hours then spray a little salt water on them and let them sit a little more. Finally rinse with fresh water to stop the aging process.

    That worked for me on a few relics.