...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 use a small vibratory tumbler containing 7 1/2 lbs of carbon
steel shos The shot is about 7 years old & has never been out of
the tumbler except to wash it off. I use it mainly with sterling
& fine silver.
When it looks dirty I wash (rinse really) it off in hot water.
been washed I dump the shot on a turkish towel to absorb some of
the wate r that clings to the shot. I’m sure I don’t get it bone
dry. Then it goes back into the tumbler. The tumbler gets cleaned
out with hot water & drye d before the shot goes back in.
After putting the clean (rinsed) shot back in the tumbler, I add
a pinch of a dry burnishing soap (Oakite) & about 1oz of
household ammonia. Put the
cover on tight & run the tumbler for about 5 minutes to allow
the burnishing soap & ammonia to coat the shot. Turn the tumbler
off & leave the cover on tight. The ammonia tends to decomopose &
the nitrogen in it drives most of the oxy out of the closed
tumbler (I think), thus reducing
the rate of oxidation (rusting). I use this procedure if I won’t
be polishing anything immediately. I’ve got something to polish
right after cleaning, I forget the 5 minute coating run.
After removing the item/s being polished the lid goes back on,
TIGHT. It stays like this until the next time it’s needed, Then
the lid comes off &
if I can’t smell the ammonia I add another oz of household
ammonia & the items to be polished. When they’re polished (about
1/2 hour), out they co me & again the lid goes back on TIGHT.
When the shot looses its’ shine or feels sticky, remove it,
rinse it off with hot water, dry it a little & start over as
above. If that doesn’t restore the shine to the shot, put the
shot back in the tumbler, cover about 25-50% with water & add
some Draino or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Close the lid &
run the tumbler for about an hour or until th e shot looks
shiney. Remove the shot from the tumbler, rinse & dry both the
shot & tumbler. Return the shot to the tumbler, add the
burnishing soap &
ammonia & close the lid TIGHT.
Be VERY CAREFUL with the Draino or caustic soda, it can cause
severe burn s on bare skin. Don’t get any under your finger
nails, it hurts! If you get
some on you wash off immeadiately with lots of water.
I’ve used this system since I started using steel shot & a
vibratory tumbler with good results. The longest period the shot
has gone between cleanings is about a month (forgot, while we
were out of town). Haven’t gotten any rusty shot yet.