Why did I pursue an alternative to hydrofluoric acid?
Although in my youth I had my share of unfortunate experience—exploding kick presses, dense orange clouds of acid gas, and even getting shot in a hold-up of my jewelry store—as a full-time artisan-jeweler-metalsmith since 1971, my goal is not to die in an industrial accident, but rather, of old age. I’m getting closer every day.
Artists and metalsmiths working with hydrofluoric acid need to realize the dire peril involved. I etched titanium for ten years with hydrofluoric acid and used a full face mask with a separate air supply and a powerful fume hood. But I decided I didn’t want to find out years from now that my fume hood had back draft, releasing acid fumes into my studio.
Here is one report on the seriousness of exposure to hydrofluoric acid. I spent several years testing different formulations until I perfected a product that met my exacting quality standards and that I’m proud to use in my own work.