The History of Suiseki
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Common Classifications   
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Japanese Terminology
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Collecting Suiseki
Where To Collect
Tools & Gear
Evaluating Suiseki
Ten Views of a Rock
The Science of Suiseki
Preparing Your Suiseki
Using Acid
Drying Stones
Stone Cutting
Developing A Patina
Caring for Suiseki
Displaying Your Suiseki
The Daiza
The Suiban
The Tokonoma
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Preparing Stones: | Cleaning | Using Acid | Drying | Stone Cutting | Developing Patina | Care

Cleaning Stones with Acid

For persistent calcareous projections which remain on stone after washing, use hydrochloric or concentrated formic acid, concentrated or diluted. Always follow instructions carefully and completely.

  • never pour water into concentrated acid
  • dilute acid by pouring acid SLOWLY into water while mixing
  • and here is a helpful saying submitted by a reader:
    "A little nemonic device for using acid. It is silly but, as it is so very important to handle acid properly, I find it helpful.... DO AS YOU OUGHTA, ADD ACID TO WATER.
    Yes, I am aware that only in New England does "oughta", (ought to) rhyme with "watah", (water) -- but it still works, perhaps because it is funny. In other words, this is an easy way to remember that one must NOT add water to acid but one must add acid to water."
    Virginia Williamson, New Hampshire

    Safety when using acid
  • work with acids in open air and wear mask
  • do not inhale vapors
  • wear goggles
  • wear good rubber gloves
  • wear plastic or rubber overalls
  • if acid splashes into eye, wash thoroughly and contact physician

    Applying acid to stone

  • use nonmetallic brushes (acid destroys metallic parts)
  • after using acid, clean this area of stone with soap & water
  • put stone in water after acid/ soap & water cleaning; soak several hours

    Neutralizing soaking water
    At end of the stone-soaking process, you must neutralize any acid in the soaking water. Using Litmus or Ph paper (obtained at any drugstore), test the pH level of the water. If the pH level is well below 7, the water is till acidic. Neutralize it by adding soda to the water. Pour half a drinking glass of a solution of soda and water into the container and mix thoroughly. Retest and add more the soda until you reach a pH level of 7.

    After neutralizing, soak the stone in water for a while to neutralize acid which has penetrated the stone's surface. Neutralized water can be safely poured down a normal drain. To dispose of acids, contact your local health officials to determine regulation procedures (best done before you begin acid procedure).

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