The etching fluid is usually poured over the metallic surface, which is enclosed in a border, as described before. If the whole object is to be put into the fluid, it must be entirely covered with the etching-ground. After etching it is washed with pure water, dried with a linen cloth, and the etching-ground is then washed off with turpentine oil or a light volatile camphor oil. The latter is very good for the purpose.

Etching Fluids for Iron and Steel


Pure nitric acid, diluted for light etching with 4 to 8 parts of water, for deep etching with an equal weight of water.


Tartaric acid, 1 part, by weight; mercuric chloride, 15 parts, by weight; water, 420 parts; nitric acid, 16 to 20 drops, if 1 part equals 28.5 grains.


Spirit, 80 per cent, 120 parts, by weight; pure nitric acid, 8 parts; silver nitrate, 1 part.


Pure acetic acid, 30 per cent, 40 parts, by weight; absolute alcohol, 10 parts; pure nitric acid, 10 parts.


Fuming nitric acid, 10 parts, by weight; pure acetic acid, 30 per cent, 50 parts, diluted with water if necessary or desired.


A chromic acid solution.


Bromine, 1 part; water, 100 parts. Or—mercuric chloride, 1 part; water, 30 parts.


Antimonic chloride, 1 part; water, 6 parts; hydrochloric acid, 6 parts.

For Delicate Etchings on Steel


Iodine, 2 parts; potassium iodide, 4 parts; water, 40 parts.


Silver acetate, 8 parts, by weight; alcohol, 250 parts; water, 250 parts; pure nitric acid, 260 parts; ether, 64 parts; oxalic acid, 4 parts.


A copper chloride solution.

Etching Powder for Iron and Steel

Blue vitriol, 50 parts; common salt, 50 parts; mixed and moistened with water.

For lustrous figures on a dull ground, as on sword blades, the whole surface is polished, the portions which are to remain bright covered with stencils and the object exposed to the fumes of nitric acid. This is best done by pouring sulphuric acid, 20 parts, over common salt, 10 parts.