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After Annealing a Post - Tumble polish


#1
    You know, I said before that I never work-hardened my ear
posts, but it somehow slipped my mind that I tumble-polish all
of my earrings with steel shot.  No wonder I don't work-harden
them. 

How are you doing this. I have a vibrating tumbler, mixed steel
shot, and everytime I try this on earrings I get little swirls
and scratches in the metal on the face and back of the earrings.
I thought this was from the posts (I did round and finish the
ends). It isn’t a very expensive tumbler - could that be the
reason?

Nancy


#2

How are you doing this. I have a vibrating tumbler, mixed steel
shot, and everytime I try this on earrings I get little swirls
and scratches in the metal on the face and back of the earrings.
I thought this was from the posts (I did round and finish the
ends). It isn’t a very expensive tumbler - could that be the
reason?

I tumble my earrings too and that hardens the posts. I have a
small rotating tumbler that is once again working fine and not
turning everything black. Nothing seems to scratch, its probably
the rotation movement as opposed to side to side of the
vibration. Jan


#3

Dear Nancy, it sounds like you have some contaminant in the
solution that you tumble in. Little scratches are caused by
abrasives. Tumble polishing is a burnishing action. What kind of
lubricant, soap, are you using and how much water is in the
vibrator bowl? How do you keep your steel shot clean? Cheap
tumblers, properly used, give the best polish! :slight_smile: chuck hunner,
its dark now on the gulf coast of Florida.


#4
    How are you doing this.  I have a vibrating tumbler, mixed
steel shot, and everytime I try this on earrings I get little
swirls and scratches in the metal on the face and back of the
earrings.

Nancy, I.e. the tumble polishing:I have a cheap vibrating tumbler
too, and this is what I do… First, I chuck the pieces into a
pale blue plastic pyramid medium,(available from Rio Grande, and
several other sources), with a small amount of water, just enough
to get everything wet, maybe 1/2 " to 1" of water resting on the
bottom of the tumbler. To this I add a product called Fastcut
deburring compound, according to instructions. I leave this to
vibrate away for a minimum of four hours, sometimes six. This is
a finecut medium, and will remove all light surface scratches,
but will wear fine details down if left too long. When this
process is finished, I rinse all work well, making sure to dig
out all of the annoying little pyramids that may have felt it
necessary to stick themselves in somewhere, and toss,(ever so
gently) into a mixed steel shot medium, again rinsed to lightly
wet…too wet, and there’s not enough friction to burnish, too
dry, and the shot beats the tar out of the work. To the shot I
add a liquid called Mr. Tumble also according to directions, and
tumble at least four hours, sometimes overnight. The pieces come
out looking hand polished, but remember that your initial hand
finishing work, sanding etc…is paramount to a good finish. Mr.
Tumble is something toxic I’m sure…I smell ammonia…and the
ingredients aren’t listed, so be cautious. That said, it does
work wonderfully, You can even store steel shot in it, and this
keeps the shot completely rust free. Please be judicious in its
disposal. Note:If the work is cast pieces, I first tumble for at
least four hours with pink pyramids and Fastcut, before the blue
and shot. This method seems to do the trick with my
very,(anal-retentive-obsessive-compulsive), detailed work.
Please note, that much of my work is hand stamped, at least on
the front If you care to see it, check out the Lapidary Journal
article: April 1996,p. 22, or the more recent piece in the Autumn
1997 Niche Magazine,p.75. Both Fastcut, and Mr. Tumble can be
obtained at: A&A Jewelry tools and supplies 319 W. 6th st. L.A.,
Ca 90014 (213) 627-8004 They also have a catalog available. Good
luck! I hope this helps. Lisa, (Byzantia) In,(I went horseback
riding, and watched hawks today in my back yard) Topanga,CA


#5

These scratches were bigger, more defined and deeper than what a
coarser abrasive would leave and they were spiral in form.
That’s why I thought they were from the posts. It was brand new
mixed steel shot from Thunderbird and I used what Rio suggested -
Sunsheen Gold and Silver Deburring Compound diluted as per
directions. Can’t remember now how much liquid, in ratio to
shot, I used. I’d love to get this to work! I have a rotating
tumbler as well as the vibrating tumbler, but was told the
vibrating tumbler was the best to use. I rinse the shot
completely and then keep it in a plastic jug covered completely
with water and a tight fitting lid. My work is fabricated, not
cast, and already had a good polish before it went into the
tumbler.

BTW, I just polished a bunch of removable bails using the shot
and shattered auto windshield glass with already rounded edges
(an old rock tumbler’s trick) in the vibrating tumbler. They
came out great, no swirls or scratches and a good mirror finish.
I didn’t use the shattered glass with the earrings, this was an
experiment, but I will use it for bails again.

Nancy
Bacliff, Texas Gulf Coast USA


#6

Nancy,

One other solution not yet mentioned is a dry tumbeling medium
from Rio. They have one for gold, and one for silver.

I fabricate most of the work I do and there are little or no
scratches to remove. A light rub with 0000steel wool will remove
light to med scratches and then overnight in the tumbler (vibrator
type) brings up a polish. Wash after removing from the tumbler and
dry. Naturally there will be some pieces to touch up with a buff,
but the dry tumbeling works fine. It will polish twisted 24 ga.
wire

Think “HONK” if you’re a telepath

Bobert
Carmel,CA