I congratulate Gerald for starting this thread. He has said what has needed to be said on this and several other forums. I am not a chemist but I studied, enjoyed and absorbed the subject in high school and at introductory college level. I probably know just enough to understand how little I really do know but certainly enough for it to have been useful in a 40 year photography career (I am totally out of my depth when guys like PE who are chemists discuss things like organic synthesis).
The lack of knowledge of chemistry displayed by people who propose mixing wierd and wonderful concoctions appalls me. People who don't seem to even understand the purpose of the components in a simple developer write seeking help as to the possible effect of adding some obscure chemical they have read about that is most likely unobtainable in any modest quantity.
I saw last year on another forum a suggestion that it was cheaper to make silver nitrate from scrap silver and nitric acid than to buy the substance. The guy who made the suggestion was under the impression that this reaction produced silver nitrate and water - as it does but he was unaware of the deadly nitric oxide also produced. There is also a video on YouTube that demonstrates this reaction but some good samaritan who cautions about the dangers also gets it wrong by saying that the gas produced is nitrogen dioxide (also dangerous but at least it is brown so you can see it).
As others have said, you can fully enjoy photography, including the darkroom, without knowing much about chemistry apart from general common sense safety precautions but if you want to start mixing chemicals together for any purpose you owe it to yourself and others to learn some chemistry. OzJohn