I tumble polish silver regularly and usually don’t have any problem,
however, I have occasionally had the silver and the stainless shot
turn the color of oxidized lead, dull gray and a totally ugly
looking mess. Has anyone had this experience and isolated what
Sounds like you let it run too long before you replaced the water…
We never let a batch run more than 1 1/2 hours before we stop the
tumbler, dump the water/soap mix, add fresh water/soap mix, and
restart the tumbler.
Probably your steel shot is dirty. I=92ve had the same problem, and I
used steel shot conditioner (I got mine from Swest, but I=92m sure
others carry it) This solution is worth the money; it lasts forever
and your steel shot will work like new afterwards.
I tumble polish silver regularly and usually don't have any
problem, however, I have occasionally had the silver and the
stainless shot turn the color of oxidized lead, dull gray and a
totally ugly looking mess. Has anyone had this experience and
isolated what causes this?
I’ve had that result when someone put in an item that had been
darkened with liver of sulfate. When I put in a new batch of water
and cleaner, it brightened normally. Eve Welts, PMC certified teacher
I’ve always used Rio’s plastic blue and pink polishing media and
never used steel shot, although I do have a magnetic tumbler with
steel pins. My flow-through tumbler finally bit the dust last week
and I need a replacement. I was never really happy with the quality
of the finish. I ran the load about 12 hours in pink, 12 hours in
blue, than 3-4 days in walnut shell charged with metagloss. The
magnetic tumbler left too much texture. My pieces are fabricated
(flat), so everything shows up. Has anyone ever switched from
plastic to the steel shot tumbler? Are the results better enough to
make the investment?
My pieces are fabricated (flat), so everything shows up. Has
anyone ever switched from plastic to the steel shot tumbler? Are
the results better enough to make the investment?
A vibratory tumbler with assorted shapes of stainless steel shot
works very well & quickly on silver.
Tumbling things won’t get any scratches out, they have to be removed
prior to tumbling the item. Scratches in, shinny scratches out!
I’ve been using a vibratory tumbler for over 10 yrs on all shapes of
things from chain to flat. They’re easy to maintain (just clean the
bowl & wash the shot when it gets grungy (I use Draino)), put in a
little liquid & a pinch of burnishing soap.
Wendy, I believe steel is a better way to go. The one thing the pc
should be smooth for a bright finish. As well please note depends on
the amount of pcs you tumble at one time. You don’t want them to hit
Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold Sales/ Tools and Technical Stuller Inc.
337-262-7700 ext. 4194 337-262-7791 fax email@example.com
Wendy - tumbling is not usually an “either or” proposition. I left
your link to your website so people can see what kind of work you are
Observing that your work is fabricated, and that usually means that
it is pretty clean to start with, I’d suggest the following
First run 6 to 8 hours in aqua cones, then for bright finish, 1 hour
in stainless steel, then for a refined surface, 24 hours in
woodchips with pegs, charged with the appropriate compound - chrome
oxide for silver, rouge or simichrome for gold.
If you want a satin kind of finish, but still refined, I’ve had good
luck with Rios grey and green hone media, running 8 to 10 hours
each. The finish from that sequence is so good, that it often needs
no more processing.
The end recommendation is to replace your flow thru tumbler, it’s
the workhorse of nearly all mass finishing processes. And for a
quick bright finish,add a rotary tumbler for stainless steel. Be
sure it is big enough for your work to move freely in it. You will
be able to substantially reduce the amount of processing time with
this combination. Even if you still finish in dry media, it will
take a lot less time.