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[Beginners' Corner] Polishing Materials?


#1

As previously stated we are actually wire wrappers and are just
starting in silver smiting. We do not casting-just soldering.
When we first bought the tumbler/vibrator from Rey-tech they
recommended steel shot-that was a mess!!! Rust!! even when stored
in soap. Next we were told to use Walnut shells in rough. Works
great, but getting the little pieces back out is terrible. More
recently we just use the Dremel with several different polishers
such as tripoly, rough, do not care for Zam, etc. Would
appreciate any recommendations that you all have.

Oh yeah, also what do you use as a base (anvil?) when attempting
to make designs on the silver?? Thanks jb

J. Byers
http://www.csranet.com/~phoenixe
@Phoenixe


#2

Hi JB,

I make lots of chain & all I’ve ever used to polish it is a
vibratory tumbler with assorted shapes of steel shot. I use about
7 pounds of shot in the smallest vibratory tumbler Raytech sells,
add a pinch of dry burnishing soap & about 2 ounces of household
ammonia. Put in the items to be polished & run the tumbler for
1/2 to 1 hour. The soap & ammonia work for about 2 days. Then I
wash the shot with hot water & put it back in the tumbler with a
new charge of soap & ammonia. Burnishing soap is nothing more
than a low sudsing soap, powdered dishwasher detergent works as
well. The soap provides lubrication for the shot & items being
polished. The same ingredients & routine will work with either
carbon steel or stainless steel shot. The important thing to do
is to put the cover on the tumbler tightly when ever it’s not in
use.

It sounds like you purchased the carbon steel shot, it rusts!
There’s a stainless steel shot available that doesn’t rust.
However, it costs more than the carbon steel shot. Thunderbird
Supply sells the stainless steel shot. Their prices are about
the lowest I’ve found. They have a web site at
http://www.tbscorp.com Their email address is: tbird@tbscorp.com.

If you want to give your steel shot another try, it should be
cleaned up first. This can be done by rinsing the shot off with
water until the water runs clean. Then return the shot to the
tumbler, add water until it covers about 1/2 the shot, add some (
I use a 2 ounce dixie cup full) Draino or lye (sodium
hydroxide), Put the cover on the tumbler & let it run for about
an hour. Rinse the shot in water & clean out the tumbler. Return
the shot to the tumbler & repeat the cleaning process if required
or add the burnishing soap & ammonia. Place the lid on the
tumbler tightly when the tumbler’s not in use.

FWIW: I’ve been using the same carbon steel shot for about 8
years.

Dave


#3
When we first bought the tumbler/vibrator from Rey-tech they
recommended steel shot-that was a mess!!! Rust!! even when stored
in soap.  

You should use the shot restorer. I bought a box of it and have
been using the same box for years. You can store the shot in it
with water and it won’t rust up. If I don’t get my tumbler
emptied out soon enough, I just run it with the restorer and it
cleans it right up. I got my shot restorer from S’west and I
don’t think it was too much. I got it when I bought the tumbler
and have never had any trouble…

ou all have.

Oh yeah, also what do you use as a base (anvil?) when attempting
to make designs on the silver?? Thanks jb 

I have an anvil, but I also got a piece of steel beam from the
scrapyard. I covered the surface with masking tape and it works
fine also.

regards,
Susan Embler
Dallas, Texas


#4
they recommended steel shot-that was a mess!!! Rust!! even
when stored in soap.  

Being the lazy artist that I am, I bought stainless shot. I’m
slowly building my way up to having enough (money, don’t you
know). I started with enough variable sized/shaped shot to put
about an inch on the bottom of the barrel. I love it. The big
polishing motor in my dining room hasn’t been used in quite a
while.

kathi parker