Finishing twisted wire that has been patinated with liver of sulfur
I'm making a few hundred jump rings from twisted sterling wire. I
plan to patinate them with liver of sulfur. Then I'd like to polish
the highs while not disturbing the lows so as to get the maximum
light-dark contrast. Can anyone advise me as to a finishing
plan/technique? I have a buffing arbor, a flex shaft, a rotary
tumbler (I need to buy media and compound), and of course my two
Marie - this is an ideal application for mass finishing - tumbling.
It would be better if you had a small vibratory tumbler, but you can
make it work with your rotary.
First - string your jump rings on plastic electrical ties so you can
find them maybe 10 or 20 per tie. The rings need to be able to move
so don't crowd them on the ties. Then patinate your junp rings, get
'em really black. Then put them in your tumbler with a mild abrasive
and tumbling liquid and run for 4 to ? hours - you will have to check
to see if enough highlights are revealed. It takes about an hour in a
vibratory tumbler. When they look about right, rinse well and run in
your rotary with stainless steel for 30 minutes. You are Done!
Here are things that can go wrong. The rings have to be very clean
to take even patination. If they are spotty, clean them with
de-greaser, like simple green. If that isn't good enough, run them
for an hour or two in the tumbler with abrasive, and a tiny bit of
de-greaser and water and then very carefully remove them using
implements - a tweezer or chop sticks - but not your fingers - so
they have no oil or grease on them. Rinse well in warm to hot water.
Then patinate. If you run them in steel prior to patination, you
won't get particularly even patination - sometimes they just won't
color. The abrasive media cleans the surface and makes for easy even
Dont even think of trying to do this by hand - you will go nuts.
Stringing the rings is optional but enormously time saving - no
treasure hunting in media for those pesky individual rings. If you
don't have a pile of plastic electrical ties, you can use stainless
binding wire, do NOT use iron binding wire.
Are these going to be open jump rings or closed rings?
We just use a lap with rouge to highlight while not disturbing any
patina in the recesses.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
I believe you will have the best results with your rotary tumbler.
Stainless shot and liquid (Sunsheen from Rio works well) gives
highlights polish without affecting the patina in the crevices. Judy
Hoch's little book on mass finishing with a tumbler is well worth
the modest price - check for it with Rio and probably other
suppliers that offer books.
No affiliation with Judy Hoch, other than deep respect and a first
name in common! Judy in Kansas, where today was hot and humid -
tomorrow should be much morepleasant!