Hi Dave! I was wondering . . . How large is your vibratory tumbler??? I
have a small one (Quart) and after reading your note, I've decided that I
don't have enough shot in mine.
I use the smallest tumbler Gemstones (Simi Valley CA) mfgrs.. The bowl looks
sorta like an angel food cake pan except that the bottom is rounded, it's about
7.5 in diameter X 4in high. When it's running the shot & whatever is in it has a
2 way rolling action (around the center of the bowl & from the bottom of the
bowl to the top).
Shot polishes by burnishing, no metal is removed (small burrs left from sawing
are the exception). Other polishing media usually polish by abrading the
material being polished.
Steel shot needs to be cleaned occasionally with Draino or lye (sodium
hydroxide). If the top cover is kept tightly on the tumbler when not in use the
combination of burnishing soap & ammonia do a good job of rust prevention.
Course you can aways use stainless steel (costs about $15/#) shot instead of
regular steel ($5/#). I've been using the same 7lbs of shot for over 5 years.
Be sure that any stones you put in the the tumbler can take the ammonia. I had a
bad experience with a chain containing some lapis beads, they came out dull &
rough. Probably weren't very good beads to begin with. Valuable lesson learned!