I was gifted a small pumice stone by the graciousness of Mistress Eithne (Northshield). It even floats in water!
The purpose of this pumice stone, as gifted to me, was to scrape hides for making velum. I did this a few times with it and found that 1 – I was using the pumice stone too early in the process and 2 – that the stone was gumming up with fat etc. and had become unusable. So I tried several things to clean it out.
I tried scraping stuff off. I tried picking stuff out, I even tried microwaving it on the suggestion of Master Johannes von Narrenstein, to get the fat and oils out. None of these things worked even a little bit. So what did work?
A small plastic bowl with soapy water and a lid. In fact it was the small plastic bowl and lid you get from Kentucky Fried Chicken. (KFC) Soap was Dawn dish soap. I did mention that the pumice stone floated right? So how do you soak a stone that floats in water? I filled the bowl to the top added in the soap, mixed it up until I had a slight froth and then dropped the pumice stone into the mixture. The stone floated and my stomach sank.
“Wait a minute,” said I to myself. And then I put the lid on it displacing some of the mixture but effectively dunking the entire pumice stone under the soapy concoction. And then I forgot about it for a couple of days. Note, I did this with my wife’s knowledge and permission. And really if you’re going to put stuff out where the spouse will find it, you really should inform them and, to preserve marital tranquility, get permission even if you really don’t need it.
Well a couple days later I was doing something at the sink and noticed the KFC bowl and went, “Huh, what’s that… oh yeah!” And I opened it up, dumped out the soapy water, rinsed the ever loving bejesus out of the pumice stone, blotted it dry and left it to air dry the rest of the way. And… VOILA, the pumice stone I couldn’t use for several years is nice and rough and ready to be used to scrape velum at the right stage this time.
You know, you use soap and water to clean greasy pans all the time. Often times folks, simple really is the best solution.