But I went to Orchard (for you non-US folks this is one of our larger national chain hardware stores) and found a much bigger roll of 95/5 tin/antimony solder; $12 for 8oz (see photo below). This is what I ended up using for my first batch of SnCl2.
I didn't know any exact formula other than dissolving it in HCl. So I weighed 10g (in two sections) of the Sn/Sb solder on my scale and poured 100mL of 31.45% HCl into my beaker. I then dropped the two solder pieces into the beaker and stood back to watch.
The only other time I've worked with HCl was the 14.5% solution you get from the pool section of the local hardware store, which is fairly weak, but it was enough to clean up some old metal gas cans I had laying about. This 31.45% stuff I got from the local pool supply place in town. I got 4gal for ~$30 (including a $5 deposit for the bottles and crate).
This being the first time I worked with this concentration of HCl I didn't realize it would fume so much. The night air was cool and slightly damp, so I could see the fume cloud. Of course it was smart that I was outside on my patio in the open air so it could waft away. I just had to stay out of the fume cloud to avoid choking. I'll definitely need to eventually rig up a fume hood and scrubber. I don't like the idea of this stuff just venting out into the world.
The solution became cloudy after a short period of time. I didn't have a glass stirring rod handy so I stuck a plastic knife into the solution to stir it around and noticed the tin was still mostly intact. After waiting a while I decided to pull out the tin strips. They were definitely dissolving away, as the diameter of the wire was diminished from the original, but I thought it would go faster if I chopped them down into little 1mm bits back into the solution. This definitely helped the dissolution.
Meanwhile, I was whiling away the time waiting for the tin to completely dissolve by reading the forum. I came across this thread where LazerSteve shared his formula for making SnCl2:
Doing some quick math I figured I probably didn't have enough HCl, so I topped it up to 200mL to get closer to Steve's ratio and that seemed to help. After a while (and a nap...I was doing this after midnight in the wee morning hours) the solder was completely dissolved. There was a grayish precipitate at the bottom of my beaker, which I assume was the antimony. The solution was clear, just as it was supposed to be.
I filtered out the solution through a coffee filter, separating the antimony muck from the Stannous solution and ended up with about 200mL of what I hope is Stannous Chloride (see photos below).
I currently have it stored in a PETE #1 juice bottle. Is there a problem with this? I didn't have a glass bottle handy and will transfer it ASAP. I also plan to store it in a dark place to preserve it. If I'd known that this stuff doesn't have a shelf life I wouldn't have made so much.
So I guess I should add about a gram of the solder to help preserve it?
By the way, I did employ adequate safety gear at all times, including goggles and shoulder-length rubber gloves. A facemask or respirator might've also been a good idea to avoid the many times I found myself in the path of the fume cloud
This was fun, if extremely simple. I still have lots of prepping to do before I delve into the really fun stuff (actually recovering PM from the various forms of scrap I have). In the meantime I've been a busy little hunter/gatherer and have lots of tools, materials and sources to share as far as what I got and where I got it from. I'll post about that stuff as I find more time.