I wanted to produce beryllium hydroxide as my example of a beryllium compound. To produce this solid, I placed beryllium in copper(II) chloride crystals, then added a few drops of water. An extremely vigorous reaction began, with steam being profusely evolved and the beryllium jumping around. When more water was added, the reaction slowed, but large amounts of copper and hydrogen were still being produced.
I accidentally placed the lid on the container and it popped off 6 feet into the air after a few seconds. When the reaction was over, I let the copper particles settle, then decanted the cloudy (beryllium hydroxide was dissolved in its chloride solution) solution from the copper. Addition of ammonia seemed to solidify the solution. Beryllium hydroxide precipitated as an extremely firm and gelatinous precipitate, colored slightly blue by copper impurities locked inside the hydroxide structure.
Tilting the container up side down made the excess ammonia and liquid run out while leaving the structure of the hydroxide untouched. I added some water and vigorously shook it to dislodge some of the beryllium hydroxide. After stirring with a twist tie and using various other ways to break the hydroxide into small pieces, I finally got it onto filter paper, where it dried to a powder, just as I expected. (Do not breathe fumes, can cause berylliosis!) This powder can be used to generate other boring beryllium compounds.