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Stainless vs. carbon


#1

Greetings to all;

This is further to a previous problem. I’ve been having icky
results with my barrel tumbler when polishing silver & gold.
These problems are new to me (after 20 some years). At first I
blamed it on the detergent but I am now guessing that it is the
shot. I recently purchased some extra shot that I assumed was
stainless steel but perhaps it was carbon steel. Will Carbon
steel do a number on silver?

There is a nasty grey coating on the silver surface which is
resistant to removal. I even thought at one point that the
rubber in the tumbler was breaking down but that also seems
unlikely. If the two types of shot are mixed I guess there is no
easy solution to separating them ?

Any help appreciated. Anyone know a good source for purchasing
stainless shot? (expensive stuff)

happy trails…Darryl


#2

Thuderbird Jewelry Supply has a descent prices (as does Indian
Jeweler’s supply.) Both have WEB pages . . .


#3

If the stainless steel is non-magnetic you could separate it
that way. Or allow the carbon steel to rust…

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#4

I recently purchased some extra shot that I assumed was stainless steel but
perhaps it was carbon steel.
If the two types of shot are mixed I guess there is no easy solution to
separating them ?

Hi Darryl,

Try a magnet, stainless steel is not likely to be magnetic.

regards, Markus


#5
 If the two types of shot are mixed I guess there is no
easy solution to separating them ?

Darryl, Stainless steel can easily be separated from regular
carbon steel with a magnet. Stainless is not magnetic, so the
magnet will pick up the carbon steel shot and leave the
stainless shot behind.

Milt


#6
There is a nasty grey coating on the silver surface which is
resistant to removal. I even thought at one point that the
rubber in the tumbler was breaking down but that also seems
unlikely. If the two types of shot are mixed I guess there is
no easy solution to separating them ? >>

I’ve experience this, and after much probing, I was told that
the detergent needed to be changed more often. Perhaps, you’ve
changed detergents, or are using one which isn’t as strong as the
previous kind used?


#7

Hi Darryl,

I’ve had exactly the same thing happen to me - and it is the
shot. Replaced all my barrels until I realised that wasn’t the
problem.

The only place I’ve found so far (and it is expensive, but lasts
forever) is Rio for stainless steel mixed shot.

Would be interested to know if anyone has another cheaper
source.

Bye the way, if you wanted to separate out your shot to avoid
having to get rid of it - and have the time - let it set out of
water and keep it wet and your reject stuff will rust. This
means a lot of hand picking, but saves the price of replacement.

Nina


#8

Darryl

I too have this problem when the metal I put in is dirty or has
plaster from casting. All I have to do is clean the shot with
shot cleaner or some other soap and then re-do with the icky
metal after the suds in the barrel are white. It may take several
trys with soap and water changes in between, but eventually it
will give you the results it used to. Dirty metal seems to coat
the shot, and the shot then continues to coat all of the metal
until you clean it. Hope this helps Fred

Fred Krauter
Gristmill Craft School Specializing in Jewelry techniques
64 Beulah Rd. http://www.Handworks.com
New Britain, PA 18901 @Fred_Krauter1
215-348-5840


#9

I have had this same problem with tumbling and the blackish-gray
residue and also with gold a brownish-rust colored residue. I
tried different soaps and etc. all to no avail, and then a friend
told me a remedy. I tried it and I have not had this particular
problem since. Maybe John Burgess or one of the other phd’s can
enlighten us as to the whys and wherefors of the various
chemical reactions involved- this part I dont know about, but it
works for me.I didnt believe it at first either, but I tried it
and as I said it does work. After you clean out your tumbler
and wash off your shot with clear water, you should dry it off
and then keep it immersed in a container of anti-freeze (like for
your car) until you are ready to use it again. What is happening
is that you’re getting rust from leaving your shot out in the
open air. I know-I was a dis-believer at first also, just try it!

Even the stainless steel shot will rust in the presence of air
and water and after all rust is only oxides and oxidation is what
is your cause in my humble opinion.

Gesswein is about the most reasonable priced as far as I could
find and they also have a shot cleaning solution that they
suggest you keep the shot in, but as you said, shot is an
expensive prospect. Have you taken a look at the prices of shot
for a magnetic tumbler? If you had you would be happy about the
price of tumble shot! Good luck and I hope that this works for
you as it did for me.

Ricky Low
Jeweler and Engraver
Houston


#10

Make sure that you are not using too much soap… I have had
similar experiences when I used too much soap. You aren’t
kidding, the stainless steel is expensive especially when you buy
it in 5 lb. quanities… Ed


#11

Hi Darryl

I had a similiar problem. Tumbled something for a friend. Don’t
know what it had but everything became a dull grey color, metal
and shot. I called Rio Grande since I bought my shot there. I
also use their Super Sheen in the barrel. What they said solved
the problem: Rinse shot and replace liquid with a bit more Super
Sheen then usual. Tumble a few hours. Repeat this 2-3 more times.
Long process but it worked.

Hope this helps.

Linda
@Red1Eagle


#12

MF> > If the two types of shot are mixed I guess there is no
MF> > easy solution to separating them ?

MF> Darryl, Stainless steel can easily be separated from regular
MF> carbon steel with a magnet. Stainless is not magnetic, so the
MF> magnet will pick up the carbon steel shot and leave the
MF> stainless shot behind.

G’day; sorry about this, but some stainless steels ARE magnetic;
I have both stainless sheet and spheres (shot) - and they are
both the magnetic type! I just checked. Bit of a bummer, as well
as a balls-up eh? But cheers,

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)

#13

… Maybe John Burgess or one of the other phd’s can
KJL> enlighten us as to the whys and wherefors of the various
KJL> chemical reactions involved…

G’day: Sorry, Ricky; John Burgess does NOT have a PhD - he
doesn’t even have a BSc, and isn’t likely to get one. It’s a bit
too late for that now. Besides he was always what they call
’numerically challenged!’ so he never stood a snowball’s chance.
But regarding the problem, I haven’t come across it, though I
have and use a (home-made) vibrating polisher. I don’t use any
liquid with it and I use mostly carbon steel spheres (balls to
you) of varying sizes from 2mm up to 6mm, and it is the latter
that are stainless. Don’t know where I got them it must have been
ages ago but I hate throwing anything away - it’s not easy to get
into my workshop. After use, I wash the balls thoroughly in
detergent, rinse them carefully, I thoroughly dry them and keep
them in a little plastic lidded box until I need them again.
Like they say keep your (powder) dry. Cheers, –

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)

#14

Thank you all for the wealth of re: tumbling shot.
Nothing can possibly go wrong now. I can’t wait to get out my
magnets and antifreeze. 8^)

                  Darryl

#15

Hi List,

About using steel shot, soap, ammonia, and water for cleaning,
I’ve been keeping two separate tumblers for silver and gold
because one will deplate to the other if used in the same
tumbler. No doubt John could explain why this happens (I’m
guessing the shot becomes permeated), but my question is which
tumbler should I use for two color work. Getting gold off
silver pieces is difficult enough - but getting silver off gold
is a long process of heating under the torch, repickling and
tumbling a couple of times which is not good for the piece.

Anyone have anything constructive to offer about this problem?

Nina

Nina
Nina - Silver Design, 9122 S. Federal Hwy, Suite 249,
Pt. St. Lucie, FL. 34952 : Toll Free:1-888-460-1800
URL: http://www.nina-sd.com : Email: @Nina


#16
G'day; sorry about this, but some stainless steels ARE magnetic;
I have both stainless sheet and spheres (shot) - and they are
both the magnetic type!  I just checked. Bit of a bummer, as well
as a balls-up eh?   But cheers,

G’day, John Burgess and all-

The stainless syeel shot that I have seen is magnetic, so you
are unable to seperate it with a magnet. John, I may need your
assistance to explain why this is the case, or your indulgence at
the very least. Various types of stainless are magnetic, some are
not. The reason being the different elements that are used to
acheive a particular alloy- some are magnetic, some are not. Some
of the 300 series are magnetic, and also, I beleive, some of the
400 series. Now is where it gets sort of interesting- some
stainless alloys can be tempered, not by heat as in the case of
high- carbon steels, but by work hardening. It has to do with if
the alloy is martenistic or austenistic, if I remember correctly.
John, with your background as a lab tech extraordinaire and your
vast experience and knowledge, I pose a question to you. I hope
that this doesn’t sound too antagonistic on my part, believe me,
it is all strictly jealousy and envy! Anyway, I understand that
you get tempered steel by the creation of martensite in the steel
which is magnetic (speaking strictly of high-carbon steels here).
With the stainless alloys you acheive this by work-hardening and
you’re creating the martensite, which is magnetic. Would you
therefore have the possibility that the stainless could start out
as non-magnetic and due to the action of the tumbling process,
become magnetic? If this is indeed the case, the issue of
whether the stainless is magnetic or not would be quite
interesting, do’nt you think? Well, regardless, what you say is
true- you connot seperate the shot with a magnet. I have also
tried. The only way that I could seperate mine before was to sort
it out by hand and eye. It’s very slow, but sure! I for one will
be watching the posts in anticipation of one of these brilliant
people on orchid giving us all a clue as to what to do! Regards,
Ricky Low Jeweler and Engraver Houston


#17

About using steel shot, soap, ammonia, and water for cleaning,
I’ve been keeping two separate tumblers for silver and gold
because one will deplate to the other if used in the same
tumbler.

Does this mean that one should not tumble finish a piece made of
mixed metals?

Karen


#18

John:

Read with interest your post about using steel shot to polish
without liquid. I would be interested in the details. How do you
treat the workpieces before using the shot? How long do they
stay in the shot? What mix of sizes do you use? Do you polish
any further after the vibropolish in the shot? Etc, etc.

Thanks!


#19

Since we are on the subject of steel shot, I have a question…I
have run across 2 different opinions on my jewelry travels;
those who remove the shot from the tumbler EVERY time they use
it, dry it and store it and those who leave it in the tumbler
covered with water and tumbling solution. I prefer to leave it in
but dont want rusty shot. Any opinions? I have an economy rotary
tumbler from Gesswein


#20
 Getting gold off silver pieces is difficult enough - but
getting silver off gold is a long process of heating under the
torch, repickling and tumbling a couple of times which is not
good for the piece.  Anyone have anything constructive to
offer about this problem? Nina

G’day; my suggestion (for what it’s worth because I’ve never had
to do it) is to put the work into a approx. 50% slightly warmed
solution of nitric acid: sterling and fine silver dissolve easily
and rapidly but gold doesn’t; aqua regia or cyanide is needed to
dissolve gold. I know: nobody likes messing with acids like
nitric, and the gases given off are nasty too (nitric oxide and
an aerosol of the acid itself) But like they say, when you gotta
go you gotta go!

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)