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Tumbling chains


Hi all,

I have over a gross of sterling chains that need to be polished.
They are 1.7mm cable chains and I was hoping someone would tell me
the tricks to tumble polishing them. I thought of putting them in
small bundles with twist ties, but can’t think of any way that the
twist ties won’t slide when tumbling.

Any help will be appreciated.



Hi Karen,

I came up with a solution to this a couple of years ago, it is a
large tall ‘Z’ made out of stainless 1.6mm wire, I used TIG welding
rod because I had some. At each ‘corner’ make a loop as you form the
’Z’ . The whole thing comes out at about 7" x 3" or whatever you can
get into the opening of your tumbler. Curve the two horizontal bars
in towards the centre.


You put your chains on it from top to bottom and then stop them
coming off by connecting a wire (or I used elastic bands ) between
the two pairs of loops top and bottom.

You would probably be better to do that many chains in batches of
ten or so at a time.

Try it, it is a cheap accessory, my favourite price!

regards Tim Blades.



Do they need to be polished because they are scratched or are they
just oxidized and need to be cleaned up?

If they just need to be cleaned there are articles on Orchid that
describe using aluminum foil, a glass dish, hot water and baking

There are also a number of silver dips but I generally just use
baking soda as a paste and rub the chain between my fingers with the
baking soda to remove light tarnish

Greg DeMark


Hi Karen,

String the chain clasps onto the twist ties. If they are too small
for twist ties, a length of telephone cable when disassembled yields
thin plastic coated wires.



Hi Karen.

If you put a wire through the clasp of a group of necklaces, they
will stay in place but the loose chain is free to tangle. That is not
a great problem with only a few but if you have a large barrel and a
gross of chains…

I have used a tube-like section of a flexible plastic container
(butter or cottage cheese tub) and wrapped each chain through the
open ends and around the “tube” wall a couple of times before
securing its clasp. You can get quite a few chains on one of these
and toss in the barrel/hopper - takes about 8-10 minutes in my
vibratory tumbler. Seems like there’s less tangling with this method.

Pam Chott