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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 17th Oct 2018, 5:54 pm   #21
MrBungle
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

AFAIK dentists do something similar.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 6:02 pm   #22
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I might try the file trick. I have a litre of battery acid left over from the 1970's when Halfords used to sell dry motor cycle batteries that you had to fill yourself. I was wondering what to do with it.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 9:15 pm   #23
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
It's amazing, looking back, what you could easily buy over the counter...
Absolutely. I remember travelling 20 miles into Birmingham one Saturday morning when I was about fourteen (1967) to a big supplier of chemicals to schools, and buying a pint bottle of concentrated sulphuric acid over the counter. It came in the usual brown fluted-glass bottle marked POISON. I carried it home on the train!

Around the same time, our local chemist was quite happy to sell me benign things like methylated spirits, test tubes, flasks, glass tubing and other laboratory sundries when I was interested in practical chemistry.

There is at least one video on YouTube where a chap successfully demonstrates sharpening files using a 10% solution of drain unblocking fluid, so it does seem to work. I'm glad Jim's found a good use for that left-over battery acid!
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:38 pm   #24
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

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Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
It's amazing, looking back, what you could easily buy over the counter: I remember in the late-60s as a schoolboy going to the local chemist and buying a pint(!) of Carbon Tetrachloride for cleaning switches, and Trichlorethylene (colloquially called Trike) was equally easily available.

There were versions of such solvents deliberately marketed at the man/woman-in-the-street too: little glass screw-lid bottles with a cotton pad in the top called "Dabitoff", and also 'Thawpit'.
I remember my parent had a bottle of "Dabitoff" around 30 years ago, great for getting tar & oil stains off.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:58 pm   #25
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I have a old engineering text book; it describes immersing the file in 20 to 30% nitric acid solution for a few minutes. Remove the file and wipe the surface on a cloth stretched across a block of wood, thus leaving the acid to eat away at the base of the teeth for a few minutes before washing off with water.

At the end of the page, it is mentioned that rubber gloves should be worn when handling the acid.


Health and safety?? when I started work in the 60's, there was a shed out at the back of the main workshop where parts were sent to be case hardened using POTTASIUM CYANIDE......................


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Old 18th Oct 2018, 4:10 am   #26
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I've sharpened files using citric acid, an ounce in a half-a-pint of hot water, left over-night.

Another trick I've read about is to simply leave them outside to go rusty as that will have a similar effect. I've never been patient enough to try that though.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 4:42 am   #27
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I do wonder if the number of kids/people harmed by using small quantities of dangerous chemicals at home was any more than the number harmed now by said people being unable to do anything interesting, getting bored out of their skulls and turning to what Tom Lehrer called 'Powdered happiness'
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 8:34 am   #28
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I have concentrated hydrochloric acid and oxalic acid here, amongst other things, bought via mail order relatively recently, and sent through the ordinary post. I also have an old DDT 'puffer', which nobody I've approached is willing to dispose of.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 9:05 am   #29
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

I have concentrated Hydrochloric and Phosphoric acid, Oxalic acid powder too.

Ah, the old Flit Guns.
Shame they banned DDT in 1956, the malaria mosquito was almost extinct. Another couple of years and it would be gone.

In the 70s as an apprentice I was expected to work with asbestos, hydrofluoric acid, trike, carbon tet, acetone etc with just rubber gloves.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 9:14 am   #30
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

There used to be a large department store in Tooting near my old school (Henleys I think) where you could buy almost anything to do with Chemistry. They sold the Merit chemistry sets and all the bits that went with them. No questions asked if you wanted copper sulphate, nitric acid, meths, acetone (very useful stuff), surgical spirit (used that for the spirit burners), sulphur......Those were the days!
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 9:39 am   #31
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

In my last year at Junior school (1963) we had the final term for a"science" lesson once a week.
We were asked to bring in suitable items.
My dad, a refrigeration gave me a steel cylinder with nozzle and valve containing about 4lb of liquid freon 12 to take along. He attached a label with the chemical formula and boiling point etc.
I had great fun running around the playground squirting at the backsides of other lads in my class!
I thinknthere must be a small hole in the ozone layer that I was responsible for.
In latter years I have occasionally used freezer spray as an anaesthetic when removing steel splinters from my fingers.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 9:50 am   #32
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

My F-in-law (retired pharmacist) has a load of old chemist (shop) bottles - both the fluted green and the plain glass versions, all antique - with the original content in many of them. He's passed a few on to us as we've decorated our kitchen as an 'apothecary' (as we experiment with food!).

His most eye-opening bottle is one that contains a whole load of opium crystals! Can't think of a use for them though......

Green bottles we have (some of them): all Latin BTW - most unknown to me....

Argent Nit.
Tinct Digital
Tinct Stramon
Tinct Aconiti
Tinct Iodi
Pot Binoxal
Liq Potassae
Pulv Digital
Antim Tartarat
Tr Iodi Mit

Clear bottles:

Cret Opt
Mist Quinnae
Pulv Capsici
Creta C Camph
Pulv Rhei Sod
cid Oxalic
Pot Acetas
Pulv Camboc
Pulv Cinchon
Pulv Callae
Pulv Gum Acac

Any 'enlightenment' on what they are would be helpful!

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Old 18th Oct 2018, 9:54 am   #33
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

In my youth 'playing with mercury' was quite normal in our science lab and not discouraged by the teacher. Most chemicals were available from our local chemist also test tubes and glass tubing for heating and bending.

Our repair workshop was awash with carbon tetrachloride in the form of Radiospares switch cleaner. We also had lots of asbestos in electrical things and also in brake and clutch linings, all of these I was exposed to and survived. I know at least three people that died from mesothelioma though, I guess I've just been lucky.

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Old 18th Oct 2018, 10:30 am   #34
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Here's what I reckon some of them are:

Argent Nit. Silver Nitrate - used in eye drops as an antibacterial.
Tinct Digital Tincture of Digitalis (Foxglove) - used as a cardiac stimulant
Tinct Stramon Tincture of Stramonium (Datura) - used as a treatment for asthma, and as a painkiller. Rather poisonous!
Tinct Aconiti Tincture of Aconite: once used as an anti-inflammatory to treat gout, but it's also a favourite thing for poisoners to use in Victorian crime-stories!
Tinct Iodi Tincture of Iodine - used as a disinfectant on wounds.
Pot Binoxal
Liq Potassae
Pulv Digital Powdered Digitalis (foxglove) again
Antim Tartarat Antimony Tartrate - used as an emetic to treat poisoning!
Tr Iodi Mit

a "tincture" is basically a solution of something in alcohol, often jocularly used to refer to a spirit such as gin. "have we got time for a swift tincture before the play starts?"


As to Mercury, I remember that in O-level physics the working of an electric motor was explained using an ancient demonstration-piece involving a star-shaped wheel on a spindle, a horseshoe-magnet and a dish of mercury. The magnet fitted round the wheel, positioned above the dish of mercury so one 'leg' of the star touched the surface at any one time. DC applied between the wheel-spindle and the mercury tray created a magnetic field as current passed through the 'leg' of the star, so the star-shaped wheel rotated. Each time the end of the star-leg came out of the mercury tray there was a brief flash and a puff of mercury-vapour was produced; this vapour was allowed to disperse into the room to be breathed by the 30-odd viewers!
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 10:37 am   #35
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

(Argent Nit will be Silver Nitrate, no doubt. All those names are greek or latin origin??)

I do recall one incident- if you tell kids WHY they shouldn't do something they take more notice and some curiosity is defuzed....their imagination is then an advantage. Unfortunately i was told not to watch arc welding but not why. Then when i was told why (after having watched through a knothole) i spent odd moments during the next 3 years wondering whether i would go blind. I didn't.

I mentioned this before, but- another thing- if you have a cut-off oil drum as a brazier/incinerator, don't use anything more volatile than paraffin as a start-up accelerant...otherwise it can Mortar Bomb. I was about 35 before this happened to me.. then shortly after my Dad had an identical FOOMF! using his.

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Old 18th Oct 2018, 11:20 am   #36
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
I do recall one incident- if you tell kids WHY they shouldn't do something they take more notice and some curiosity is defuzed....their imagination is then an advantage.
Very true.

Unfortunately it doesn't work if I ask mine not to tidy up after themselves, they'd rather go and do something dangerous instead.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 11:44 am   #37
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Not sure about 'enlightenment', but a few more suggestions:

Cret Opt
Mist Quinnae - possibly Quinine related ?
Pulv Capsici - I suspect chilli powder. Pulver is German for powder, Capsicum
Creta C Camph - 'Creta cum Camphora'
Pulv Rhei Sod - probably something like 'Gregory's powder' https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...%20Sod&f=false
cid Oxalic - Oxalic acid, or an Oxalate ?
Pot Acetas - Potassium Acetate ?
Pulv Camboc
Pulv Cinchon - probably powdered cinchona bark (Jesuit's bark)
Pulv Callae
Pulv Gum Acac - powdered Gum Arabic (Acacia)
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 11:58 am   #38
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Posts above mention asbestos: quite rightly, enough investigations have been completed to conclusively establish that asbestos - or rather the dust from it - can be very harmful. But sometimes I wonder about the broad definition of 'asbestos' in that assessment. I am under the impression that there are different types of asbestos: certainly there is the 'blue' and the 'white' variety, and I believe that it is the blue that is particularly hazardous.
As a child, I lived on an estate where everyone lived in asbestos-built bungalows: the asbestos was the white variety. Occasionally, when a bungalow became vacant, it was demolished: bits of asbestos were littered all over the site where the building had stood. Now boys being boys, we soon discovered that if bits of that asbestos were thrown onto a bonfire, they would explode with bits thrown high into the air. Now that - and the fact that I lived in such a pre-fabricated building for many years - makes me wonder about the alleged risks of being exposed to asbestos (the white variety). I am now approaching 70 years of age: my health is (almost) as good as it ever was.

Al.
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 12:53 pm   #39
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Please don't be complacement about asbestos. A good friend of mine died recently from mesothelioma. The most likely cause was sanding an 'artex' type wall finish by hand about twenty years earlier. When tested the material was shown to contain chrysotile which is a form of white asbestos. Mesothelioma is almost invariably incurable and usually leads to an unpleasant demise within two years of diagnosis.

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Old 18th Oct 2018, 1:05 pm   #40
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Default Re: Don't try this at home...

Artex is a serious problem if there is a fire that is hot enough to peel it off the walls.
If you need to dispose of it just scrape it off wet and send it to land fill.
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