Tumbling Hardening and Polishing

Hello all,

I read a lot of remarks about tumbling in the archives but I still
have a last question.

This is what I would like to do: After sanding, smoothing my pieces
(14k or 18k gold, maybe platinum) and giving them an intermediate
polishing step I would like to work harden them by tumbling them with
stainless steel shot in a rotating barrel. Do you think it is
necessary to give tumbled pieces a last polishing step to finish
them? Do I loose the hardening effect when I polish my pieces with a
very fine grit?

I will appreciate any comments, I really enjoy reading the posts on
orchid.

Matthias F.
www.matthiasfehlinger.de

Matthias

This is what I would like to do: After sanding, smoothing my pieces
(14k or 18k gold, maybe platinum) and giving them an intermediate
polishing step I would like to work harden them by tumbling them
with stainless steel shot in a rotating barrel. Do you think it is
necessary to give tumbled pieces a last polishing step to finish
them? Do I loose the hardening effect when I polish my pieces with
a very fine grit? 
  • You can harden your work at any time during the finishing process.
    And you can’t undo the hardening, unless you heat the work. Tumbling
    with steel gives a burnished effect that you may wish to refine with
    a final polishing step. If I wish to have a refined high polish after
    burnishing with steel, I run the work for a day or two in a vibratory
    tumbler with some kind of charged dry media - rouge charged walnut
    shell for example.

Judy Hoch

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I have watched videos and read different articles about polishing sterling silver jewelry, but I am wondering if there is a stepped process that works better than others. Originally, I just tumbled pieces in steel shot, but later read that this method just burnishes them. So then I read that using a buffing motor was best. At the moment, I am trying to figure out what works best and wonder if anyone has the definitive answer! I make the piece, file, sand to ultra fine, then put in the tumbler and then use the polishing motor with Tripoli and Rouge. At this point, it seems the Tripoli takes all the burnishing off, so I wonder if this is the correct step after burnishing. Should I use the buffing motor and then the tumbler? I am trying to get the best high shine that will last. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Emily

Once silver is hard, it stays hard unless you anneal it again. You can also heat harden silver in a kiln or even a toaster oven at 550 degrees for 60 minutes. As for finishing, it depends on what final finish you want. I always do a high polish even if the finish will be textured. This way you find any bad spots that might show through the texture. Once fabricated, and depending on the piece, I go over it with a medium EVE wheel to shape and remove scratches. Then I go straight to tripoli and then rouge. If you have a lot of fire scale, that needs to be removed first. I have a compound from Devine Brothers in Utica NY that is very aggressive at removing fire scale. If I am using recycled scrap that I have rolled out, it will definitely have fire scale. I remove it from the larger sheet before I cut it up to make whatever I am making out of it. It is a lot easier to remove fire scale this way than after the piece is finished. You can also find bad spots this way and avoid them when you cut up the sheet. I tumble smaller pieces like ear wires and little earrings in SS shot or a pin finisher. Tumblers also work well to clean up pieces that are shop worn. Be careful of soft stones. Read Judy’s book on tumbling. Lots of good stuff there. Good luck…Rob

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