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Black rubber tumbler drums

I seem to remember someone saying they had trouble tumbling silver
pieces in black rubber tumbler drums. There was some kind of a
residue that got all over the pieces. Was I having a nightmare or
has this actually happened to you or anyone you know. I’m about to
give my extra tumbler to a friend but I’d feel horrible if it turned
out badly.

Thanks - Charleen

Charleen, I have used a black rubber tumbler drum with no problems.
There are no guarantees and I suppose it depends on your particular
tumbler. Joel

Joel Schwalb

I have had my black rubber tumbler drum deposit a black sludge on my
pieces several times. The experts here tell me it is because there
is a small amount of investment left on the casting that is an
abrasive. Most times I’ve been able to salvage the piece by
repeatedly cleaning in Tarnox and/or repeated heating and quenching
followed by much polishing. A few pieces have not been salvageable.
The drum will deposit sludge on subsequent tumblings unless it is
well cleaned. After one of these disasters, I tumble it empty (soap
and stainless shot but no pieces) overnight and rinse well in hot
water before I use it again. It should be fine to give away.

Peggy E. Pollak, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer in Botany
Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5640 USA
Phone: 928-523-9492
FAX: 928-523-7500


You are not dreaming , sometimes gunk breaks down frome the black
barrels and gets on silver. I don’t know what is really happening,
but it has happened to me. When it happened I took everything out
of the tumbler and scrubbed it out. then I put the shot back in
with new cleaner and ran that for a while. Then I put the work back
in and no problem. I do seem to recall that the crud on the work
came off when I pickled everything again, a real drag but… A
strong cleaner like that green stuff you can buy at the store, will
work. I have used it a lot in the studio, It is made from oranges
or citrus. Very strong stuff. It will burn your throat if you
inhale the mist by accident. But it is supposed to be nontoxic. I
don’t use my barrel tumbler much anymore, but I don’t do a lot of
production anymore either. I have started using a red rouge gunk
from Rio recently, it seems to give me a really nice shine, I am
using wood chips not steel shot.

good luck, Dennis