I'm sure you all do it, experiment and things either come out good or bad, right? Here's what I did with warm pickle and LOS! I had these balled copper headpins I made a while ago and just dug out when cleaning out something or other (a quote from my friend Jill - "there's beads all over the place in your house...."). I liked the color I got when I quenched them in water after balling them up in the torch - you get that pretty rose color, and sometimes blue. But they had firescale, so I thought, I know, use a warm pickle!
I used the recipe of 1 tablespoon salt to 1 cup vinegar - heat in the microwave - and dump your stuff in! Use a glass container, and if you use one that has a lid, you can use this over and over.
Not only did the pickle take off the firescale, it took off the pretty rose color AND made these things super super shiny. Like shinier than any copper I have ever seen! Not what I wanted - insert sad face.
BUT, I thought, I can use liver of sulpher (LOS) to darken them a bit. So I mixed up a little bit of LOS gel I received as a prize from ArtBLISS and Jeanette Blix. I like the gel, it's very easy to use. Just mix a little bit in some warm water, again in a glass container, and if you have a lid, you can store it for several uses. Just make sure that before you dispose of it (down the toilet is a great place) that you neutralize it with baking soda first, since LOS is an acid and may hurt your pipes (although I have read that if you run water for a minute or so, it will be fine).
ACK. I only put them in for 2 seconds, max, and they turned out SOOOOOO dark! Too much LOS, I am guessing, although I think the super shininess also may have made the copper a little porous. In any event, guess where they went next?
Into the tumbler. You can get a reasonably priced tumbler at Harbor Freight and they usually have 20% off coupons, as well, in the Sunday newspaper or you can sign up for coupons on-line. Use stainless steel shot as the tumbling agent. Put your items you want to tumble polish into the container, then add a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid and enough water to cover all items in the tumbler. Make sure there's enough room, though, for everything to tumble - don't fill it too full! Also, make sure you have the lid on correctly, so it doesn't leak (personal experience)!
And here's what I got after a few hours of tumbling.
They are now all work hardened and some of the patina has worn off. They actually look almost bronze or brass in color, I think I like them! It's kind of an amazing difference to me, though, from how they started out!