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Soldering and Finishing processes

Hello all

I am hoping to get some advice on the most efficient process for soldering and finishing silver jewelry. My current process is the following:

  • filing
  • sanding to 400 grit
  • tumbling with medium grit (blue pyramids)
  • soldering jump rings etc
  • tumbling with porcelain burnishing media
  • 2-step polishing (bobbing compound and fabu-luster)

wondering if anyone has advice that would help me eliminate steps?

Heather M - In my answer to you on the cheap tumbler, I laid out a process sequence.
In seeing what you are doing here - the bobbing compound undoes all the previous finishing. Try the sequence I mentioned in your tumbler question.
Judy H

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I had concerns about the bobbing compound for different reasons, but I appreciate your advice. the bobbing compound seems to the the same thing as red rouge on silver - almost like it makes tarnish instantly ( i have stopped using red rouge on white metal)

I find that when I burnish with steel shot the pieces get divots in the metal even after a short run. I have better results with porcelain media. How long do you usually process with steel shot?


How long are you running the steel shot. and are you using a vibratory or rotating tumbler? I never leave silver in stainless shot for more than 15 minutes. After 15 mins it leaved an almost orange peel finish. Also bobbing compound is very different from red rouge. Bobbing compound is a fast cutting/coarse/ abrasive compound that leaves an almost satin finish. Red rouge is used last in the finishing process for a high polish. Bobbing compound or any other polishing compound does not cause metals to tarnish. I use Picasso blue for silver, platinum and white gold. I use red rouge for yellow gold.

I have a vibratory tumbler and left things in for hours without ever getting surface damage . You are right about the bobbing compound.

15 minutes! wow, I would never have thought that short a time. thanks. and to answer your question I use a rotating tumbler for steel shot. so far I have used the vibratory tumbler only with the walnut shell.

I put some parts in the vibratory tumbler yesterday for an hour (with walnut shell) and wound up with an orange peel surface again. I also found all the pieces in one section of the bowl -even though i had spaced them around to start.

Can I ask which tumbler you use?

Let’s try again - Starting with reasonably cleaned up pieces - run the pieces for 4 hours in a medium or fine abrasive media in a vibratory tumbler with deburring liquid. Then run a prefinish media in the vibe for 4 hours again with deburring compound. Then 30 to 45 minutes in rotary with steel and burnishing compound. You can quit here or run for 36 hours in dry media with simichrome in vibe or run polishing ceramics for 30 to 36 hours with ceramic media that have been broken in in your vibe. Running annealed pieces for more than 30 or 40 minutes in steel in a rotary causes the surface to break down resulting in orange peel. At least that is my experience. Judy H

there should be 85 percent of the tumbler capacity with media - walnut shell and the remainder being jewelry. A partially loaded machine performs not just poorly but unpredictably.
judy h

Thanks Judy for all the info.