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Tumblers, what size kind polish steel to use?

I have bought the Lortone Tumbler model 45C, capacity 4LB, or 1.5 Kg,
I am at a loss what kind of polish steel to buy on offer is ranging
between 2 mm and 5 mm balls, satellites and various other designs.

I will only use it for sterling silver, small objects like rings and
hangers. The first object (ring) I would like to use it for has a
fine bezel setting. Do I have to be worried that the bezel will get
damaged in the process? What kind and or size should I buy?

I can not find answers on this subject on Ganoksin. Neither on the
Lortone website, except that I should sett the stone after tumbling

kind regards

I bought stainless steel shot (1lb bag, I have the 3A) from Rio
Grande. I comes with a variety of shapes.

I have had no problems.


Peter, The best steel shot to use is called ‘Jeweler’s mix’. It has
pins, balls, the little satellites, little barrels, etc. It is mixed
so the different sizes and shapes of shot will get into all areas. Do
not worry about your fine silver bezel…the tumbling action
actually quite mild…the mass doesn’t fall in the barrel…it

I also suggest you obtain stainless steel rather than carbon steel
shop. The latter could rust if you do not know how to take care of
it. Stainless steel shot is quite expensive but will give years of
good service. Look around on Orchid (actually go to the Ganoksin
archives) there is a lot of on tumbling.

One more thing, be sure to obtain some ‘burnishing soap’ for use in
the tumbler. It lubricates the items being tumbled and increases
contact between the shot and the items. You can get it from most
jeweler’s suppliers or just find a good NON SUDSING soap powder. Use
about a tablespoon in your 4.5 lb tumbler. Cheers, Don.

Peter - I’d suggest that you purchase mixed stainless steel shot -
that is round, satellite, oval, ball cone, but avoiding the pins.
Pins can impinge on surfaces and in my opinion, cause more trouble
than they are worth.

As to fine silver bezels, you shouldn’t have a problem, unless you
are tumbling many very heavy pieces of jewelry.

Further, when you run your tumbler with the shot - 45 minutes is
enough to burnish your work. If you run longer, you can develop
surface graining that shows as orange peel or roughness. Longer is
not better. Do run your work with an appropriate acidic liquid
lubricant, soap alone is not sufficient.

If you have access to US suppliers, you might want to get the small
book I wrote on the subject - “Tumble Finishing for Handmade
Jewelry”. Gesswein, Otto Frei and Rio Grande all carry it. It deals
with all kinds of tumblers and media and has some cool tricks to use
these machines to save you a ton of handwork.

Judy Hoch

Thanks all for the

having used the term burnishing soap as a search term in the
Ganoksin archives I came across on a flood of about
tumblers and what to use.

There is a lot of writing about the kind of compound being used,
with ammoniac without etc., what is the benefit from using ammoniac?

Why not using the available compounds, polishing liquid what is on
the market?

To store the steel shot, (Niro stainless steel), the same question

Ganoksin with all here helpful members is a dream for a beginner
like me, thanks Ganoksin!