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Tumbling for softer matte finish


#1

Hi all.

All this talk of tumblers has gotten me thinking of finally getting
one to finish my stuff. I want to use steel shot/pins, but I make
fairly heavy pieces and I want to leave a softer matte finish. I
need one that would work on something as large as a 7" x 1 1/2"
bracelet weighing 4 ounces or more. I also do a lot of stampwork
that is ultimately oxidized. I’m afraid that if I oxidize before
tumbling, the color will be tumbled away. And if I oxidize
afterwards I’ll lose the tumbled finish in buffing away the unwanted
oxidation.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Allan Mason
silvermason.com


#2

Hello Allen,

Judy Hoch, an Orchid member, has written a nifty little book
(Tumble-finishing for Handmade Jewelry, ed.4) all about tumbling
technique. It’s very reasonable and available from Rio, among
others. A good reference to have.

In answer to your specific question on whether to tumble before or
after oxidizing: I use charged walnut shell and tumble DRY, after
oxiziding. The walnut shell looks like fine gravel or heavy sand,
and doesn’t work into the little crevices, so the patina remains and
only the high points are affected. Be aware that your matte finish
may gain a slight shine on those high points. Also the amount of
time you tumble will affect the degree of shine. It’ll be an
experiment for you to determine exactly how long to tumble.

The small tumbler barrel will easily accomodate a linked bracelet
7"x1.5" - likely 2-3 can be tumbled at one time. Again, an
experiment.

Hope this helps,

Judy in Kansas - after the constitutional amendment vote yesterday,
“as bigoted as you think.”


#3

MY cast pieces have a lot of recesses and details that I blacken
before tumbling with steel shot. The tumbling cleans the black off
the high spots and leaves it in the details where I want it.

Janet Kofoed


#4
I'm afraid that if I oxidize before tumbling, the color will be
tumbled away.  And if I oxidize afterwards I'll lose the tumbled
finish in buffing away the unwanted oxidation. 

Allan, try tumbling, then oxidizing and then tumbling for a much
shorter time (half an hour?) and see what effect this gives.

Alternatively, tumble, oxidize, and finish by hand-rubbing with damp
pumice on the design’s high spots (using those leather finger
protectors, or the like).

Judy Bjorkman


#5
    In answer to your specific question on whether to tumble
before or after oxidizing: I use charged walnut shell and tumble
DRY, after oxiziding. ....  Be aware that your matte finish may gain
a slight shine on those high points.  Also the amount of time you
tumble will affect the degree of shine.  It'll be an experiment for
you to determine exactly how long to tumble. 

Hmmm, what if you used plain walnut shell, like they sell for gun
casings?

Sojourner


#6

Alan - You are on to something - only don’t use steel for this.

First - oxidize your pieces.

Second - Put them in a medium abrasive and run in a vibratory
tumbler for about 6 hours.

Third - Remove, set stones and sell.

Couldn’t be easier, works every time.

If you only have a rotary tumbler, you can double the time, and
check to see when it’s done. Usually takes 2 to 3 times the vibe.
In either case, be sure to use appropriate chemistry for the media.

I agree with the last post on tumblers - if you only can have one,
get a good vibratory tumbler. My tumbler is my favorite employee -
no vacations, sick leave or Monday morning brown bottle flu.

Judy Hoch


#7

Hello Zen,

In answer to your question about using plain walnut shell as is used
by reloaders: it works faster with the “charge”. I use Meta-glos
from Rio; they also carry pre-charged media. No affiliation, etc.

impatient Judy in Kansas