Magnetic Pin Finishers

I am looking at magnetic pin finishers. Does anyone have experience that they might want to pass on. I am especially interested in how to determine the size I need and if they produce a finish similar to that which you would get with traditional tripoli/Rouge on a six inch wheels. Thanks for any help…Rob

I use an Ikohe model K149-160 magnetic tumbler. You can adjust the speed, the time between reversing and the total time.

It’s great for getting your pieces shiny down in most of the nooks and crannies. You still need to refinish it first, down to an emery or rubber wheel finish. After tumbling you’re left with a very fine orange peel finish, tiny little dings from the pins, but it is shiny. Silver is softer than gold so with that the crisp edges are more dinged up and a bit rounded after use. You still need to polish it to get a mirror finish.

The real benefit is shining up those hard to reach areas. Id recommend Gessweins powdered soap #852-1039, it works well. I’ve tried liquid soaps and I got more thick black residue with the liquid than I do with the powder.

I think Ikohe and Raytech are the same machine, but the brand name and model numbers are different. The most important decision is the size of the bowl.

It’s not easy to compare prices between the two brands simply by the size of the bowl, because the machines also come with and without extra features. I’m not convinced the extra features would be worth more money.

The sales description indicates how many rings will fit into the bowl. Think about the size of what you intend to put in the bowl (like a bracelet) to determine the size bowl you would need.

One other thing that might help with the bowl size decision is that the pins are what moves in this tumbler.

Therefore, if the bracelet can lay on the bottom of the bowl, then the bowl is big enough because the jewelry doesn’t tumble.

And, if the sales description doesn’t tell you the size of the bowl, then you can probably figure out what size the bowl is by comparing as best as you can at the other stores that carry that brand or on the manufacturer’s website, while also keeping in mind there are visual clues, so look at both Raytech and Ikohe to compare bowl sizes because they are the same machine and use the same bowls.

For people considering a purchase. It is true that a large bracelet would not tumble much in the bowl but it would spin slowly with the pins. If it was light enough it would spin fairly fast but not roll. Smaller pieces such as rings roll, spin and tumble with the pins.

If it’s a large piece that does not spin it will only be burnished on the side of the oncoming pins. So I’d say a smaller bowl would not necessarily be suitable for tumbling large pieces. Better with to go with an oversized bowl with big items. You can take a big piece out and flip to change its position in a smaller bowl but it’s not getting the nice uniform burnish if it’s too big.

I’d probably send a piece to the supplier and ask them to tumble it and send me a phone video of it being tumbled. Then you can check the results and see it in action both.

As Mark indicated, a heavy narrow cuff is not completely impossible in the smaller bowl, but a wide cuff probably needs a larger bowl.

Tumbling time is short if you don’t want too much orange peel texture. But this unwanted texture is quick and easy to remove with polishing.

You probably are aware that you wouldn’t usually use this tumbler for large areas of smooth metal. This machine is excellent for details because the media is tiny pins.

On a related question - - I have a Raytech 400…the little one. The instructions say to use a burnishing compound they call “Compound M.” I don’t have any of that…I have Super Sunsheen from Rio. Is it ok to use that? Also, when would one use burnishing soap vs burnishing compound?

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I’ve only ever used soap that’s sold specifically for magnetic tumblers. I used both liquid and powder. The liquid left a thick black sludge after several uses. With the powder (mentioned in an earlier post) the water will eventually turn black but not so much sludge. That’s Why I like Gessweins powder.


If you are getting dings from the pins, can you use smaller pins?
I get no dings from the pins I use, they are
very fine, I do not have to do anything more
after I tumble.