Not everyone can detect the almond smell so that can't be used as a measure of safety.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
To the OP: if you want to make an ambrotype, why not just learn wetplate? I suspect it is easier than dryplate although perhaps not as convenient.
KCN is optional in wetplate. Personally, I use ammonium thiosulfate to fix ambrotypes.
I'm pretty sure Sigma-Aldrich doesn't sell to individuals.
This from their Order Center page:
"Ordering Instructions and Help
Due to the hazardous nature of many of the products we sell, all requests to order / request quotes on-line are reviewed to verify that you are part of an organization that is an existing Sigma-Aldrich customer.
If your organization has not ordered from us in the past or you have an immediate need to order, please call your Local Sigma-Aldrich Office. Otherwise, complete the request process on-line using the My Profile form. These requests are usually reviewed and completed within two business days."
I'm not exactly timid about chemicals, but potassium cyanide is one I will probably never order. Hydrocyanic acid is so dangerous, I believe it's shipped in compressed gas cylinders instead of glass bottles, even though it's liquid at room temperature.
Happiness is a load of bulk chemicals, a handful of recipes, a brick of film and a box of paper. - desertrat
I don't understand the guys that drive around with this stuff in their car. Not only could you Darwin yourself, but you could take others with you. Just so you can make images? ("you" is used figuratively, not anyone in this thread, that I know of anyway)
I appreciate the warnings, and I am aware of the dangers posed with this and all of the chemicals I use. For every hour I am touching a camera, I am reading 4-10 about what I plan to do. I do not crassly run into any project. If you do your research, and are careful, then there is no reason why you should fear KCN or anything else.
heres a story on fear: I am scared of heights. Anything over about 6 feet will get me nervous. I also really like to multi-pitch rock climb. Being 400 feet up on hand placed (trad) gear is common. How do I translate that fear into something useful? I make damn sure my knots are tied right.
They used to use this stuff in the gas chambers before they decided to use lethal injection. KCN is ruff stuff, I would use some of the other methods suggested. Safety is everyone's business.
If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.
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I hope your car runs on unicorn tears, since gasoline is toxic and highly flammable. Seriously, KCN can be handled safely. It can be dangerous, but so can the stuff under your sink and a rusty garden rake. I prefer KCN as a wet plate fix for a number of reasons and with some simple precautions. the risks can be minimized.
Originally Posted by patrickjames
At this point, the only company I know of selling KCN to individuals is Chemsavers You may get lucky and find some cheap platers grade KCN at a local electroplating company, but otherwise, it's become very expensive and difficult to find.
Last edited by JPD; 06-08-2010 at 04:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Bad joke.
J. Patric Dahlén
Thanks Barry, I was having a tough time replying to this with out trollin'. I prefer helpful conversation rather than gloom and doom warnings. Thanks for the link. I'm going away for 2 months soon and I've got a place I'm going to try in the fall, that link will be my backup
Originally Posted by Barry S
Just curious, what are you persuasions/work flow when working with KCN
Alex, the precautions I use with KCN are similar to how I handle other hazardous wet plate chemicals like Cadmium Bromide. It's just a matter of slowing down, having respect for the chemicals, and taking some very simple precautions.
Storage--Hazardous chemicals are stored in a safe area and well-labeled, away from children or anyone else that might be curious.
Planning--Before I retrieve and open any hazardous chemical, I know exactly how much I need and how I'm going to handle it. I have a scale, weigh boats, spoons/spatulas, and beakers ready.
Respirator--I use a respirator with the appropriate cartridges to avoid breathing any aerosolized powders. KCN comes in large hygroscopic crystals, so this isn't a big issue, but I notice my cartridges absorb the bitter almond smell, so that helps.
Nitrile Gloves--I bought a case of disposable nitrile gloves and I always use them when preparing chems and practicing the wet plate process.
Safe Usage-- I try not to splash or drip chemicals and recommend a separate fixer box for KCN as opposed to a tray. I keep plenty of paper towels and lab wipes on hand to pick up drips or small spills.
Out of curiosity, how are the properties of cyanide fixers different from modern fixers? What advantages do they have?