This is a trick that I use to correct the problem of orange peel or
impingement on annealed sterling. This process work hardens the
sterling, with the steel, then uses the abrasive to smooth the
surface, then burnishes the pieces. It works very well, but it is a
bit of a nuisance.
First run the castings or chains or whatever in a rotary tumbler with
your steel shot with appropriate liquid for about an hour or two.
Next, run the items for 6 to 8 hours in a medium abrasive such as
Rio’s clean cut aqua cones. I do this is a TV-25 with flow thru
Then run in the steel shot again for about 2 hours- I prefer the
rotary tumbler as before.
If the work is sort of flat or with planishing marks, I finish the
pieces in a dry medium of green buff with 25% wood pegs in a
vibratory tumbler for 24 to 36 hours. This effectively buffs the
sterling - resulting in a beautiful bright finish.
There is another way to polish that you might try too. First run in
your abrasive media, then in the dry media, skipping the steel
altogether. That works especially well on gold anticlastic work,
probably because it is already work hardened from the forming
You are correct to remove any pins from the steel shot mix. Pins are
only used in finishing deep detail. I almost never add pins to my
Judy Hoch, G.G.