Introduction: Making Ferric Chloride

About: I'm a bladesmith from Lancaster County Pennsylvania. I teach knife making classes, forge custom knives for collectors, build my own machinery and am just a little bit of a science geek.

Ferric Chloride is quite a handy solution to have around. While personally I use it for etching my pattern welded steel blades but it's also used to remove suspended particles in sewage and drinking water, making circuit boards, testing for phenol, coloring Raku pottery, stopping superficial bleeding (like when cutting an animals claws) and quite a few more. About a year back, buying ferric chloride at my local electronics store started becoming an issue so I hit the books and did some back yard chemistry.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Making ferric chloride is relatively simple. Here's what you need:

  • Muriatic Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)
  • 0000 Steel Wool
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (6% or higher works best)
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • High Temperature Glass Vessels for mixing
  • Baking Soda (for neutralizing any spills)

I get my muriatic acid, along with the steel wool and even the baking soda from the local big box hardware store. The 6% or higher hydrogen peroxide wont be found out your local pharmacy, instead try a beauty supply store. I recommend high temperature glass vessels, such as Pyrex, for mixing because this will result in an exothermic reaction. Personal safety equipment I recommend includes but is not limited to, eye protection, face shield, rubber gloves, respirator, long sleeved shirt and even an apron. The point is, that even though in this video I use PSE's minimally, you can not be too safe. Don't take chances, if you have a concern address it immediately with the appropriate solution.

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