Teresa - it is indeed possible that the slime comes from your rubber
First, let’s get rid of the slime. Right now, open a can of regular,
not diet coke. Let it sit and get rid of the bubbles. Next, drain
the tumbler with the scummy jewelry inside and rinse well. You can
even use a bit of liquid hand soap with hot water and rinse again a
couple of times. Drain it. Now, dump the can of flat coke in the
tumbler, close the lid and run it for 30 to 60 minutes. Open and
rinse until it isn’t sticky. The scum should be gone.
Now feel the inside of the barrel - is it abraded? Does it feel
smooth? If it feels ok, then likely the problem is that your cleaning
solution is inadequate. There are formulations available for the
purpose - Rio has a Sunsheen series that I find works well for me.
The only time I have the scummy problem is when I don’t use the
proper proportion of concentrated solution to the water it is mixed
with. I’ve taken to mixing a gallon jug so I get it right - mixing a
cup or two requires way more precision. I just use out of the jug of
premixed solution to barely cover the shot.
I find it easier to mix a shot processing solution when the
concentrate is liquid. Powdered stuff is just plain harder to measure
precisely - especially when the instructions are to add a spoonful -
what size of spoon? Did you level the teaspoon properly? So use a
concentrate made for the purpose. It not only cleans, it promotes
movement of the shot. Steel shot requires a different pH than
abrasive media. If you want to be a chemist and play with it - enjoy.
I’d rather make jewelry. The notion of - just use a bit of Ivory or a
dab of that may be fine - but like everything else, if you can figure
an easy way to get a good result, stick with it.
About the pins - I usually remove them from the shot. They are only
useful if you have very detailed pieces with holes or very deep
places that need burnishing. They often create problems with flat
surfaces. To remove them and maintain your sanity - use a magnet. Yes
I know that this stuff is all stainless and supposedly not magnetic.
This is how I do it. I use a magnet encased in hard plastic with a
handle - they sell them at fabric and craft stores to pick up pins.
Put a plastic bag over the magnet and drag the magnet thru the shot.
The pins weigh a bit less than the rest of the stuff and will stick
to the magnet. When you have a bunch of pins on the magnet, place the
magnet over a plastic bowl and pull the magnet out of the bag. The
pins will fall in the bowl off the plastic bag. Repeat until the
pins are mostly gone. Dry the pins and keep them in a little jar
until you need them. The trick with this is to have a magnet that is
just strong enough that’s why I use the sewing room magnet.
And if you have doubts about your rubber barrels, there are
alternative barrels made of hard plastic available as replacements.
They are usually easier to use because they have a different type of