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Tumbler purchase

I am thinking about buying a tumbler, and would like some advice about whether folks prefer rotary or vibratory tumblers. I am mostly a hobby jeweler, (wishing I could quit my day job) and would like to use a tumbler to polish after applying patina, to bring out the highlights. Also, like the idea of some work hardening via tumbler.

Do you prefer vibratory or rotary tumblers? Any particular brand? I see some past posts recommending the Lortone rotary tumblers. Would a single barrel be sufficient, or is there a good reason to purchase a dual barrel if getting the rotary type?

Thanks in advance, everyone!
Edie

1 Like

Buy Judy Hoch’s book about tumble polishing. A world of information and answers to many of your questions. Focus on the process for now and then decide what to buy. It may be in revision. Judy will have to tell. Good luck…Rob

Awesome! Thank you. I will order the book today!
Edie

Yup - I’m revising it and adding information about many new tumblers. Not yet available. Judy H

I have the small Lortone and it serves me very well. I would say that getting a second barrel is a good idea if you’re going to be using different media. I use steel shot and Hone & Highlight, and I have to wash out the barrel after the H&H because it leaves a residue. If I had a second barrel I wouldn’t have to do that. As far as a larger model that could run two barrels at once, I guess that’ll depend on your volume of work.
The other thing I recommend is a plug-in timer. Especially with the abrasive media, there are times I might want to start the tumbler and walk away, but have it only run for a specified time (for instance I’ll often run the tumbler right before I go to bed). The timer will stop it without you having to actually come back and pull the plug. Oh and bands! Definitely keep a spare drive band on hand. You will be very sad if it wears out and you have to wait a week for the new one to come.