Salt Bath Etch Recipe
45% Copper Sulfate
45% Table Salt
10% PH Down (Sodium Bisulfate)
Put the dry solution in a bucket and add warm water to dissolve the crystals. The solution should be a nice blue color. For 1 cup of Copper Sulfate approximately 1 ½ gallons of water is added.
Copper Sulfate is packaged as Root Kill ( 99.9% copper sulfate). It can be found at Home Deport or Ace Hardware in the plumbing section. This product will kill trees and is toxic to fish.
PH Down can also be purchased at Home Depot or at a pool supply shop.
As the solution is used it will become depleted. It’s not acid but you still need to be responsible when using this solution – keep a cover on the bucket and don’t let your kids drink it.
There are a number of different products to use as the resist. I use shellac with an amber tint. You could also use wax, latex paint, or nail polish. For etching steel you will want to choose a resist that will stand up to the etching solution over a reasonable length of time.
2 pieces of 2 X 1/4” strap 8” long
Forge an arc shape with a jig for more uniformity or use the anvils horn. Cut holes on the top of each arc with a plasma cutter large enough for a ¾” piece of schedule 40 pipe approximately ¾” long. Weld the pipe to the arc. Be sure to clean up the welds and remove any scale with a grinder or in a pickle. Now it’s time to have fun – get your paint brush and awaken your creative muse! Remember anything that does is not covered with resist will etch – that includes the edges, sides and back.