Bought the Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) and a $40 battery charger from Lowes.
Hooked up the positive to an old file, the negative to an old plane iron, submerged the items, avoiding contact but maintaining line of sight, turned on the charger and, nothing.
Flipped the switch several times, and, for some reason, the charge took and bubbles began to rise from the file. I didn't know why the charge didn't take the first time.
Okay, test complete, replace the plane iron with a #8 Bailey. Submerge the item, no contact, flip the switch. Nothing.
I flipped the switch and 'adjusted' the clips on the positive and negative pieces (anode and cathode?), and eventually, after much flipping, the charge took (as shown on the meter, 2 or 3). Bubbles appeared, and I left before I broke it again.
Came back a few hours later, turned the contraption off and checked out the results. Quite Good!
Cool, so now let's do a plane iron. Repeated above procedures, but despite my best switch flipping and contact adjusting, no luck. So I gave up and now I'm asking this question:
Is this a connection/contact issue? Do I need a more 'clean' area to connect to? Is the charger, which has such magical things as polarity and spark protection, too 'safe' for this use? IOW, is it protected against this type of thing? And if so, did it work for me the first couple of times b/c I 'tricked' it into working by the multiple, frenetic flipping of switches?
If anyone with help or insights or encouragement or any other such feedback would be so kind as to respond, I would be much abliged!