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mjcall
03-29-2004, 09:56 AM
I want to start playing with making my own chains. One of the few lapidary/jewelry making tools I donít own is a tumbler. Since using rotary buffing methods to polish a chain is both difficult and quite frankly dangerous, I am looking to getting setup for tumble polishing. The purpose of starting this thread is to pick the brains of my forum jewelry maker friends who do tumble polishing.

As I see it, the tumbler doesnít need to be Hi-Tech for this application. A simple small rock polisher such as a Lortone 3A would get the job done. If this isnít true feel free to correct me. I would like to know more about the what and where of a good general use media. Do you use steel, stainless steel, impregnated plastic, combination or what? If you use metal what shapes and what sizes? Where do you get your media? What are your cycle times? Do use any kind of cushion? Any other gems of wisdom about the process that you can impart would be appreciated.

I know I have asked a lot of questions but I really havenít found a good source of detailed information to date. If there is a good link out there Iím sure someone will point it out as well.

Thanks to all. :)

M_

Moth
03-29-2004, 10:20 AM
Hi!

Yes, a regular old rock tumbler is precisely right.

I use mixed size stainless steel shot, but that is not your only option. Sometimes you can find stainless steel tumbling media that contains pins and other shapes of metal which might be just what you need to polish those hard to reach spaces between links.

The problem with tumbling chains is the tangling issue. You could always just polish one piece at a time if you aren't a high volume producer, but if you are very prolific, there is a trick.

You can buy one of those plastic ladders that go in parakeet cages. They are about 4 inches long or so. You thread the chains around the rungs of the ladder like a basket weave and put the whole contraption in the tumbler. This allows you to do probably 5 chains at a time, plus other loose findings without them getting tangled to the point of freaking out when you open the tumbler to find the knotted mass.

If your chains are fine enough, you could also cut a drinking straw in half, thread the chain through the straw and clasp it. This is only a good idea if the clasp is small enough to feed through the straw freely so the whole chain gets polished evenly. (bracelet lengths are most appropriate for this application)

I tumble for about 3 hours, check it and decide whether it needs more or not. I have never thought it needed more, but lots of people tumble overnight, so it is just what you think is right.

My favorite part is how hard it makes the finished item. Tumble polishing is like spending three hours pounding the wire with miniature chasing hammers.

~~Mary

Aislyn
03-29-2004, 10:47 AM
The Lortone 3A works just fine, I've had one for several years and frequently recommend it. It needs to be new, or scrupulously cleaned, because you don't want even one bit of rock tumbling grit in there. I got mine from Kingsley North for around $60.

For media, you need stainless steel shot. Two pounds will be plenty. It *must* be stainless steel, which costs more, or your life will be a misery of maintenance and rusted shot. For chains, the best thing to get is stainless steel mixed shot without pins. It's hard to find it without pins, so you should probably plan on having to spend an hour picking the pins out of it before putting it in your tumbler. Pins don't hurt chain (they get into nooks and crannies, but ping up smooth expanses, so whether they're nice for you depends on what you make) but they don't do anything for chains and they're hell to pick out of it, day after day.

You can add plastic pellets for cushioning delicate objects, if you like, but chains don't need them and they make changing the water much more difficult because they float.

When you first get your tumbler and shot, put baking soda and water in it, dump in the shot and tumble it for a hour or so. It's messy and you have to rinse for a long time to get the baking soda all out, but it'll save you turning your jewelry grey the first time you use it and then having to try to get that off.

When you have it all cleaned and rinsed, put in your chain, a squirt of Dawn, enough water to see... and turn it on. You can leave it in there for anything from a quick 15 minute spruce up to hours and hours, as in forgetting about it overnight. *s* My tumbler has never hurt a chain (though it will tangle narrow ones really badly) and never hurt anything else except for dulling the polish on some soft stones, such as malachite or turquoise... but not always, just a couple of times. It is absolutely essential for smooth chains if you're cutting your own rings or buying unpolished rings.

The Lortone will bog down with a lot of weight in it, but it's great for personal use. The polish is... indescribable. Once you see it, you won't understand why anyone would polish a chain any other way. If I had to replace my tumblers at 5 times the price, I wouldn't hesitate. It's that good. *s*

(Note: I don't sell tumblers, or shot... or Dawn. *s*)

-- Aislyn

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-29-2004, 10:58 AM
Regarding the Dawn...I've heard many ppl say use a squirt of that...now, is Dawn being used as a general term for any old dishwashing liquid, or does it specifically need to -be- Dawn detergent?

~D.

Aislyn
03-29-2004, 11:09 AM
I specifically mean Dawn because it cuts oil and there is always the potential for oils when handling all this metal. Oils coat and darken silver if they're free range in the tumbler, but Dawn cuts them completely. If we get dark rings, the answer is always more Dawn. *s*

People have various tumbling 'recipes' they swear by, like with anything else, but I've never experimented because I'm so completely happy with my current results. *s*

Charlee
03-29-2004, 11:38 AM
I don't have a tumbler...yet. But I can attest to the polishing abilities of tumbling based on the appearance of Sterling Silver Rings purchased from Urban Maille. OMG! They are so incredibly smooth and shiny. A Lortone tumbler just like the one you mentioned is high on my very long shopping list.

No affiliation to UM, other than being a UM ring slut. :angel: I love em, I do!

Barrie
03-29-2004, 11:57 AM
I actually use regular steel, not stainless, but the trick is to keep the steel completely submerged in soapy water. We don't have Dawn here in Canada, so I use Ivory bar soap. The cool thing I find about the bar soap, is that whatever they use to make the soap stay in a bar shape leaves a film on the silver (that you absolutely can't see) but until you actually wear a piece of the jewelry you tumble, tarnish is almost non-existant. I can start a show season in September, and not have to polish anything by December - amazing!
Here's a link to my tumble polishing notes I give my students.
http://www.itsmystore.com/cgi-bin/itsmy/go.exe?page=21&domain=11&webdir=windermere

It's the only method I use to polish jewelry, but keep in mind that I use a lot of textured metal, and don't have to polish any large flat surfaces. Cool idea about the bird ladder Mary! I'll have to give that a try! Oh, and I use a Lortone 1.5, have done forever, with about 2 pounds of steel shot. This tumbler is about 6 years old now, and has many, many years left in it. Good luck!

bratti50
03-29-2004, 12:15 PM
I've tumbled my rings with the stainless steel shot before and they come out really nice. My question is...........is there an easier way to sort the rings from the shot other than by spending a large amount of time picking them out by hand? I've even tried a magnet, either it wasn't strong enough or there wasn't enough magnetable (don'cha love the professional term) stuff in the shot.
Thanks for the help.
Barbara J.

Aislyn
03-29-2004, 12:34 PM
I've tumbled my rings with the stainless steel shot before and they come out really nice. My question is...........is there an easier way to sort the rings from the shot other than by spending a large amount of time picking them out by hand? I've even tried a magnet, either it wasn't strong enough or there wasn't enough magnetable (don'cha love the professional term) stuff in the shot.
Thanks for the help.
Barbara J.

Gary (my DH) and I fantasize about a magnet that picks up only precious metals. *sigh* I wish....

We thread a copper wire through the coil before we cut it, then tie the ends together once it's cut and toss the whole thing in the tumbler. It works fabulously well as long as the tumbler isn't crowded. *s*

Wire Mania
03-29-2004, 01:31 PM
I LOVE my tumbler it just adds so much sparkle to completed project. I also put all my rings on a piece of wire to tumble it works so much better that sorting thru all that shot. Also by the way the shot is stainless steel and stainless steel in not magnetic so unfortunately a magnet would not work...

Fyrsmith
03-29-2004, 02:12 PM
Hi everyone,

I just got some tumbling media from Mary and tried tumbling chains. What a tangle! So, Mary, thanks for the ladder idea, I will try that next time.

Barrie, I have several very old unlabled tumblers, various sizes. What size of barrel is the Lortone 1.5? What size are other models?

Wire Mania, while it is true that most stainless steel alloys are non-magnetic, some are definitley magnetic. My Leatherman tool, which is most definitely stainless (used in a saltwater environment) is strongly magnetic, can't be anywhere near the boat's compass! I wonder if we could get or make tumbling media out of one of the alloys that is magnetic?

-Don-

Wire Mania
03-29-2004, 02:23 PM
Don - You are correct some stainless is magnetic - There is a special process that steel goes thru at the mill to make it magnetic. But I was just stating that in general most stainless is non-magnetic, and stainless steel shot is not. That's really weird though that your leatherman is magnetic because mine won't stick to my magnetic tool bar.

farkel
03-29-2004, 03:21 PM
I don't have a tumbler but my DH has a vibrating brass cleaner that he uses. Will this work with steel shot?
Thanks, fran

Fyrsmith
03-29-2004, 03:49 PM
Hi Vicki,
My leatherman is the "Wave" model. Maybe yours is a different model/alloy?
A quick google search found lots of info on magnetic and non-magnetic stainless steel, including a site for "Magnetic Jewelry" advertizing "magnetic copper rings!!" The gullibility of the American consumer is mind boggling!

Sorry to go off topic, but I just had to report that copper ring thing.

-Don-

Barrie
03-29-2004, 10:40 PM
Barbara - You can use a regular twist tie for the rings, that should work out okay. Otherwise, the copper threading idea is great!

I don't use stainless steel, just regular steel shot, so mine are magnetic as all get out!! Works great when someone stupidly dumps the full barrel on the floor! <what, who me??>

Fran - The vibrating brass cleaner with steel shot shoudl work - I would think - vibrating tumblers work fine. Cut down the amount of time you polish for as vibrating is much faster (about 1/4 of the time, I believe).

Don - The outer barrel dimensions of the 1.5 are 4Ĺ" diameter by 3ľ" high. The 3a barrels are 4 1/2" diameter by 4 3/4" high. Lortone doesn't make the 1.5 anymore, hopefully they will still make the barrels. But the 3A is fine too. I would use at least 2.5 pounds of shot though.

Hope this helps!

mistymade
03-30-2004, 01:27 AM
I don't tumble stuff too often, but when I do, I use a 3 lb rock tumbler that I got from Harbor Freight. I use steel shot inside it with Dawn.:D

www.harborfreight.com
EDIT: (I tried to post a direct link but it didn't work. Just search for tumbler.

I am happy with this tumbler and I've never had a problem with mine. However, I have read 1 or 2 posts from someone who said that they did have a problem with it.

mjcall
03-30-2004, 07:04 AM
Barrie

Do you use steel as opposed to SS for any particular reason? I could see that itís magnetic properties would be appealing for separating the shot from the work pieces, that and cost are the only differences I am aware of. I would think that the lower maintenance would be in favor of using SS.

Thank You all for your inputs. What a great response. This is a 5 star thread for me.

M_ :clap:

beclectic
06-04-2004, 01:02 PM
I actually use regular steel, not stainless, but the trick is to keep the steel completely submerged in soapy water. We don't have Dawn here in Canada, so I use Ivory bar soap. The cool thing I find about the bar soap, is that whatever they use to make the soap stay in a bar shape leaves a film on the silver (that you absolutely can't see) but until you actually wear a piece of the jewelry you tumble, tarnish is almost non-existant. I can start a show season in September, and not have to polish anything by December - amazing!
Here's a link to my tumble polishing notes I give my students.
http://www.itsmystore.com/cgi-bin/itsmy/go.exe?page=21&domain=11&webdir=windermere
<snip>


Does anyone have any suggestions on what kind of store to look in to get this plain steel shot? Stainless Steel shot is very expensive in our local bead and lapidary shops and I don't have any idea who else would carry plain steel shot (our local shops don't). I would rather not buy it online because of shipping expenses but I will resort to that if necessary.

mjcall
06-04-2004, 01:19 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on what kind of store to look in to get this plain steel shot? Stainless Steel shot is very expensive in our local bead and lapidary shops and I don't have any idea who else would carry plain steel shot (our local shops don't). I would rather not buy it online because of shipping expenses but I will resort to that if necessary.

Rio Grande has a 2# Package of mixed carbon steel shot for $16.95. I bought thier SS 2# package for 29.95 because I tend to get involved and forgetful. I was sure I would at some point leave carbon steel shot exposed to air long enough to have a mess on my hands. :mad:

BTW thanks to all for your input, my Lortone 3A tumbler works like a champ.

M_ :clap:

Barrie
06-04-2004, 01:40 PM
Barbara, try a gun store. Gun enthusiasts use steel shot to polish bullets (although why they need polishing is a mystery to me!). Or possibly a coin store? Otherwise Rio is the best way to go. Stainles is way too expensive for me, and I did have some once upon a time, and took it back after one tumbling - hated the stuff, but can't remember why!! (this was about 8 years ago). The carbon steel works fine for me.

hlynn1975
06-05-2004, 09:54 AM
I'm looking to get a tumbler and saw this one on Ebay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=10323&item=4902971277&rd=1 Any idea if this would be any good? I am just starting to get into metal working and don't want to plunk down a lot of money only to find that I'm bored with metal and move onto something else.

Thanks,
Heather

Barrie
06-05-2004, 11:47 AM
This looks just like the one I saw on the TSI website (supplier in Seattle, WA). They had it listed for $29.95 (fyi). With the ridiculous price of Lortone tumblers, I personally would go for it. Good luck!

srroldtime
06-08-2007, 11:21 PM
This is my first post so forgive typos Please
Someone ask about where to get steel shot Try some place that sell reloading supplys to hunt ducks you have to have steel shot. I dont know if you can reload your own shells but if you could a gun supply should have steel shot in different sizes.
Thanks SRR

BlindCaveFish
06-10-2007, 01:38 PM
I just wanted to say that I've been using Barrie's method for ~3 years and I've never had a problem with the steel shot. I love it, And it was half the price of stainless, which is awesome!

Kerensamere
06-11-2007, 12:00 AM
I'd heard that some people use walnut shells and other organic material awhile back and someone suggested using uncooked rice.

I bought a big bag at the local big box store, very cheap, and use it in my tumbler that I got from Harbour Frieght. I put a couple of scoops of rice in the tumbler, my soldered pieces, a couple of shots of liquid dish detergent, I've used Dawn and am presently using Ivory (liquid, but I'm thinking of trying Barrie's suggestion of the bar variety). Sometimes I use water, other times I don't, I'm still playing with the ratio.

My soldered stained glass jewelry pieces come out looking beautiful. Typcially I leave the pieces in over night, put them in at the end of an evening work session and clean them off in the morning. I still polish my pieces with silver polish when I'm done. For me the process cleans all the flux and gunk off the pieces and buffs the soldered areas and any sterling pieces I've attached to a nice shine.

I hand polish with store bought silver polish that is supposed to deter tarnish. Again, I want to try that Ivory soap bar, maybe it will cut out an extra step! I do mostly outdoor shows and in the humidity or if I'm on the shore my pieces tarnish so quickly it drives me mad! I've got a bunch of inventory that desperately needs to be recleaned and I'm thinking a trip to the grocery store for some soap will happen in the morning!

Jen

sparecat
06-11-2007, 02:22 PM
I have a vibrating type tumbler...sorry don't remember the name. I used the stainless steel shot because I knew no more than I used it that it would rust quickly. Which ever you buy try to get it from a local source....its heavy and the freight charges will quickly evaporate any savings you might realize from buying on line. As for removing the small pieces just dump them into a sieve or colander...make sure it is one with holes smaller than the shot. I have walnut shells that I bought to try but so far they are still sitting in the bag.

Linda Cone
06-29-2007, 12:00 AM
I just bought a Lortone 3A rotary tumbler, and tried it using just one pound of SS shot, a little water and a drop of Dawn. I put several pieces of PMC jewelry in it, and tumbled for 3 hours, but was disappointed with the result - not very shiny, and kind of pitted. Should I use more shot? I'm thinking of trying a vibratory tumbler instead, and found one by GemsUSA for only $59 - Check it out at: http://www.gemsusa.com/lortone_vibratory.htm#lt . Does anyone know this tumbler? It looks pretty good.

Barrie
06-29-2007, 10:48 AM
Linda, a rotary tumbler will give you no different of a finish than a vibratory one, it's just that the vibratory one is faster. You can try leaving it in longer, and you will need a bit more than a 'drop' of Dawn, more like a squirt! Does the water cover the steel? It should be at least 1/2 an inch over the steel. If you post a pic of the pieces, maybe we can let you know more info.
Good luck!

rocky_mountain_girl
07-17-2007, 05:12 PM
I actually use regular steel, not stainless, but the trick is to keep the steel completely submerged in soapy water. We don't have Dawn here in Canada, so I use Ivory bar soap. The cool thing I find about the bar soap, is that whatever they use to make the soap stay in a bar shape leaves a film on the silver (that you absolutely can't see) but until you actually wear a piece of the jewelry you tumble, tarnish is almost non-existant. I can start a show season in September, and not have to polish anything by December - amazing!
Here's a link to my tumble polishing notes I give my students.
http://www.itsmystore.com/cgi-bin/itsmy/go.exe?page=21&domain=11&webdir=windermere

It's the only method I use to polish jewelry, but keep in mind that I use a lot of textured metal, and don't have to polish any large flat surfaces. Cool idea about the bird ladder Mary! I'll have to give that a try! Oh, and I use a Lortone 1.5, have done forever, with about 2 pounds of steel shot. This tumbler is about 6 years old now, and has many, many years left in it. Good luck!

Actually you can use any liquid detergent "dish" soap. dawn ,joy, palmolive etecetera ...are all concentrated liquid detergents and all will disperse and break down oils

hiltmere
07-24-2007, 12:32 PM
Well, I bought a new tumbler, and "test ran" it for two hours (shot, water and Dawn) as suggested to clean it out. Then my first tumbled jewelry came out great, the second batch came out BLACK. I'd heard the answer to black jewelry is add more Dawn. So I ran again, with not just a healthy squirt, but a GUSH of Dawn. Came out blacker still. ARRRG

Upon research, it seems that this is a common occurance with a new tumbler? I'm running it right now with just shot, water and baking soda. Should that fix the problem? I'm going to do it for 3 hours, but checking every 30 minutes (good thing, it was all bowed out from gas!)

What about the black bracelet? Should I run it again after the tumbler is cleaned/cured or whatever? Would that clean it up?

Thanks,
Meredith

Kerensamere
07-24-2007, 09:16 PM
I'd try good old silver cleaner/polish and some elbow grease on the bracelet, see if that does the trick.

I too am curious about the black issue as I had a similar situation with one of my batches, I ended up hand polishing everything myself.

Jen

Icre8art
10-23-2007, 06:43 PM
With the ivory soap.... do you just cut a shaving or two off the bar.. to get this invisible film on the jewelry??????

I have Dawn, but would love to take advantage of the Ivory bar soap film with my stainless steel shot and rotary tumbler. :thumbsup:

Prudence
10-27-2007, 07:49 AM
Don't know about Barrie but I use a small handheld cheese grater for the bar of Ivory soap. Pru

Barrie
10-27-2007, 03:06 PM
With the ivory soap.... do you just cut a shaving or two off the bar.. to get this invisible film on the jewelry??????

I have Dawn, but would love to take advantage of the Ivory bar soap film with my stainless steel shot and rotary tumbler. :thumbsup:

I can never find my old cheese grater when I need it, so I just use my pocket knife and shave off a few pieces into the tumbler.

The reason I don't recommend detergent of any kind (including dish detergent) is that it can cause a breakdown of the rubber in the barrel resulting in black jewelry. I NEVER have that problem with the bar soap - and haven't heard of any problems from students of mine that use the bar soap. Just my 2 cents worth.

Bee Inspired
10-28-2007, 08:19 PM
Hi,

I use stainless steel shot and started out with 1 pound of shot and it worked just fine for me...however I added another pound and it works even better!! I use a Lortone 3A tumbler and I'm one of those people that walks around declaring "I love my tumbler". I use one of this mini garlic graters to grate the ivory soap. If it's in the kitchen, where my work bench is currently located, then it's game for use with the tools. :)

I have a question about using the baking soda in the tumbler to clean the shot. How much baking soda and water do you use?

Bee
"The mind is like an umbrella, it works better when it's open"

dread
10-29-2007, 02:12 PM
Ivory soap - how cool - gotta get me some

so now for the most stupid tumbling accident of the week (month, year maybe) I put my copper beads in to the tumbler to clean them up - never thinking that the shot was smaller tham the holes !

So now I have some (luckily didnt do a whole heaping bunch - with the little shot pins inside of them - is there a way to easily get them out - magnet or do they become little copper maraca beads !

Mental note: buy shot bigger than the holes (or is there another secret out there ?)

LadyArowana
10-31-2007, 01:04 AM
Hi Deborah, I think you will just need a lot of patient fiddling with a sewing needle or something to try and persuade the pins out of the beads, I quite like the idea of them as tiny maracas though !

My metalsmithing book recommends "Tie a bit of string through beads, piercings ( I think he means of jewelry not on ones body LOL ) and other likely trouble spots." Not tried it myself, just what the book says. Fiona

dread
11-01-2007, 11:12 AM
Yes I've been fiddling to get them out

and Yes I do remember someone mentioning about putting them on a string so that nothing goes into them -- what can I say I was anxious and dumb blonde moment (and I'm not even blonde any more !)

thanks for your help

kodiaknamaste
11-03-2007, 02:17 AM
Just a few tips...vibratory tumblers need to be run with a full load to get the right action/movement of media....do NOT cover the shot with whatever liquid you're using, only about 2-3oz in a 4lb barrel...burnishing compound; using dawn or some kind of soap works in most cases, but some have additives that will attack your rubber barrels....using a product that is specifically made for burnishing works best, by keeping suspended the oxidation and other particulate that comes off your jewelry, off your jewelry...you get what you pay for, and in the end, you'll most likely pay for that inexpensive alternative, with time, $ or both.

Carbon shot is designed for castings and base metal type burnishing...stainless is best for your sterling and gold, you'd be surprised in the superior, silky shine you get. Not to say carbon shot doesn't work OK, but the maintenance is a pain in the butt.

I don't mean to contradict anyone, but these are things I've learned from years of experience. My favorite machine is the Gy-Roc, if anyone is interested. It was the original vibratory tumbler, invented back in the 50's, and hasn't changed it's basic design since. It cost just a few bucks more, but will last a lifetime, and maybe your grandkids.

Kodiak-
http://charlieschaincraft.com/

cbaumgart79
01-10-2008, 05:55 PM
I can never find my old cheese grater when I need it, so I just use my pocket knife and shave off a few pieces into the tumbler.

The reason I don't recommend detergent of any kind (including dish detergent) is that it can cause a breakdown of the rubber in the barrel resulting in black jewelry. I NEVER have that problem with the bar soap - and haven't heard of any problems from students of mine that use the bar soap. Just my 2 cents worth.

help help help i just got a new tumbler and did the bar soap and ss shot and tumbled for 3 hours and my jewelry came out very tarnished. what is the problem. someone suggested salt in our water so i used purified drinking water and bar soap. its not touching the jewelry. its hard and shiny but not silver more like a yellow brown color. help!!!!!!!!!

Iona
01-15-2008, 09:39 PM
cbaumgart, You didn't say if you were tumbling Sterling or what metal. If the Sterling is tarnished or antiqued it will turn other like items in the tumbler dark. I really like Super Sunsheene Burnishing Compound from Rio Grande. A few times this happened to my shot also and a run with just the shot and the Burnishing Compound helped the situtation. If you forget and put Malachite, or another stone that is soft and it removes the polish you can use a product called Zam with a cotton buff to repolish the stone. Good luck, I love my tumbler too, it saves so much time when you have a lot to polish for a show. Iona

Linja
05-24-2008, 01:01 AM
I am having trouble with my tumbler turning my sterling silver black, too. It comes out looking like very shiny gun metal. I have washed my tumbler and shot several times and even used Sunshine Shot cleaner from Rio Grande. I am using stainless steel shot. I have followed the advice found in this thread and my silver is still turning black.

I borrowed a friend's tumbler and ran some sterling silver bracelets and a chain through her tumbler and everything came out beautiful, silver and shiny!

I am very frustrated. Could it be the rubber tumbler itself? Anybody have any ideas?

HELP!! :crying:

Barrie
05-24-2008, 08:12 PM
Try washing your tumbler barrel in the dishwasher - sounds weird but it worked well for some on another forum. I never have a problem with carbon steel shot, as I keep it in the barrel with fresh soap and water at all times. It lasts for YEARS without any maintenance at all. I have heard from many lately that the first few tumblings are fine, then they get grey silver. But for most, washing the barrel in the dishwasher has 'cured' the problem.I don't know if it's the grade of rubber they're using now, I don't know if it's something in the water, I don't know if it's the type of shot, but persistence is the key and start with the barrel and go from there. Once you've washed the barrel in the dw, try using Ivory bar soap (humor me! LOL!). If that doesn't help, try using bottled water. But I have a feeling the barrel is the issue, and once it's broken in so to speak, you should be fine. Keep posting and let us know how it goes.

Linja
05-24-2008, 11:47 PM
Thanks. I have washed the barrel in the dishwasher, but will do so again. I have been using a commercial burnishing compound and then I tried Dawn. I have also been using distilled water. I have been working on this problem for over a week with no results and have a big show next weekend. Getting impatient and nervous about getting everything polished.

Will go out and get a bar of Ivory bar soap and try that tomorrow. Will let you know the results. I really appreciate your help and suggestions. Thanks so much for the tips.

Dallen
05-25-2008, 12:29 PM
The way to tumble, or polish chain, is to wrap it into a 3" coil and fix it together tightly with a twist tie. That way it will not tangle in tumbling, or catch on the wheel.

Proper polishing in a tumbler requires 2 stages, first with plastic media with grit (or grit embedded), the second stage is with mixed steel shot or ceramic and tumbler soap (I use Rio Grands Sunsheen for final stage tumbling and am very happy with it.)

ALL tumblers should have 6 sided interior, so that polishing is fast and effective. Tumblers that are round inside will work, but they allow the items to just slip around the barrel, instead of properly tumbling.

*** It is important to dry jewelry immediately after tumbling, so that it doesn't get water spots.

Dallen
05-25-2008, 12:39 PM
Chlorine Bleach will turn Sterling Silver Black, so NEVER clean tumblers with bleach.

Barrie
05-25-2008, 09:51 PM
I never use a two stage tumbling process - just the burnishing stage. Works spectacularly, but I have to say that the commercial burnishing compound never worked well for me. I also don't have the six sided barrel, just a round one. Guess I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to these things! LOL!

Jane, I suggest running the tumbler with just steel and ivory soap overnight before cleaning the steel shot again, and putting fresh soap and water in with the jewelry. Keep us posted on how it goes! Oh, btw, I have my tumbling notes on my website (link below) if you click on tips and tricks, explains how I do my tumbling (which is by no means the only way to do it! Just works for me!). Good luck!

Linja
05-26-2008, 12:02 PM
Hi Barrie-
Went on your site and printed your Tumbling Notes. Will keep them close for reference!

Here is the latest. I called the company I bought the tumbler from and they recommended the following which I did last night. Cleaned the tumbler and shot with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup distilled water. Tumbled for about 4 hours. Spread the shot out on a towel and let it dry overnight. This morning I put in burnishing solution (which I also bought from them) and ran a piece of scrap silver through the tumbler for about 2 hours. It came out great. It may have the slightest hint of yellow (can't tell if I am just paranoid or it is really there). I am now tumbling another piece of scrap silver and will let you know what happens.

Once I get all this cleared up, I am going to try the Ivory soap route. I think you are right.....patience is necessary to get the barrel "cured"!!!

Will keep you posted.

Barrie
05-29-2008, 02:20 PM
RATS!! Can't edit older posts!! My post to Jane should have read "water, shot and ivory soap'!! Sorry for any confusion!

Linja
10-15-2008, 10:25 AM
Update on tumbling issue. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted - 5 months. :( Have been out of commission and am now back into the swing of things!

To prevent my silver from ending up black after tumbling, I ended up putting a plastic yogurt container inside the tumbler and using Rio Grande Sunshine shot cleaner. Everything is coming out GREAT. I think I may eventually end up getting a new tumbler.

I look forward to continue participating in the forums.

radicallyriley
11-22-2008, 08:41 PM
Hi,
I'm new to the group and just bought a vibratory tumbler, as I wanted to be able to use it for a variety of things. I know the time in polishing metal is far lower, I doubt I'll be tumbling rocks, but I'll likely experiment with sanding my polymer clay beads and felt it would best retain the shape of those that are not round.
I had read it wasn't as good at hardening metal as the rotary, but the instructions on my tumble vibe five actually say not to use steel or ceramic media at all. Upon further investigation, I have read that it is too heavy and will burn out the motor. In a couple of older threads here it seems people had been tumbling away with steel shot in the vibratory tumbler without a problem. I'm just wondering if this is still the case? Of course the more heavy duty the machine, the better it will stand up. Tumble vibe five is not heavy duty. That said, I don't expect to be prolific in my production either.

So, your thoughts all? Stick with the tumble vibe five? Get a rotary in addition to this for the sole purpose of hardening?

Thanks for your help,
Moyra

Shadesongs
11-23-2008, 05:58 AM
Does anyone know if you can use a tumbler with brass that has been darkened? I just hand polished with steel wool, a HUGE amount of brass charms that I darkened. And the whole time, two hours, I sat that, I wondered if a tumbler would do the trick better! For the next time!
Thank you,
Jerry