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Tumbling mess


#1

Every time I tumble silver, it gets coated with what looks like
patina. I have cleaned both shot and barrel with flat coke, washed
the inside of the barrel with baking soda. I know I’ve tumbled
patinated pieces before, but I keep the shot separate from the rest.
Please help. I expect to see beautiful shiny silver, and end up with
shiny dark patina. What am I doing wrong?

Monica Jones


#2

What kind of tumbling soap are you using?

Janet Kofoed


#3

I had that problem last year. I have well water and replaced my hot
water tank spring of 12, all was fine for several months until I
began to smell a sulfur smell in my water and my tumbled silver came
out looking as if it had been patina ed. After a lot of Internet
searching, I discovered the anode in the new water system was being
destroyed by the well water. Removed it from the hot water tank,
flushed the system and have not had the problem since. It did make a
mess and cost me many hours of work but all is well now. Good Luck


#4

I’ve had an issue like this, with pieces coming out with a grayish
coating. What it usually means is I did not get all of the
pre-polishing(tripoli/white diamond) compound off before tumbling
it. I end up tumbling my silver in a mixture of stainless shot,
water, dawn dish soap and a little bit of citric acid. The citric
acid is the key. it seems to prevent this patina by keeping the
compound from latching on to the silver as it is tumbling and staying
in the liquid. Still, try to clean your silver better before
tumbling, but get some citric acid powder. It should be available in
stores or baking goods suppliers.

Jeanne
jeannius.com


#5

I had this problem, and read somewhere that the quality of water
used makes a difference. I now only use distilled water and dawn
dishsoap or burnishing liquid (same shot whether silver is patina’d
or not) and have not had the problem reoccur in a couple of years. I
don’t know if the water was actually the problem, but it seems to
have fixed it for me.


#6

The water is a potential HUGE culprit here. I mostly patina my
wife’s bronzes and once the pieces are rubbed worn with a degreaser
(MEK or Acetone usually) then the bead blast cabinet then the patina
table. Once it is degreased, I touch it only with newly gloved hands
using new gloves. Once degreased until the piece is patinated and
waxes, any water that needs to be used is distilled. All patinas are
mixed/diluted with distilled water, any spot rinsing or and rinsing,
distilled water. Not de ionized, not highly filtered but distilled.
You would be amazed with that we have seen over the years with
"household" water or creek water of swimming pool water to “boiled
for a couple of hours” water… Just get and use distilled and
you will be happily amazed with the lace of problems (that is if you
follow all other “requirements” that need to be followed to product
consistent patinas. We now make the majority of our concentrate
patinas as there is so much variation “manufactured” to high
standards chemistries. We still have issues of just what is alloys
have been used as so much of the metals today are from recycled
"stock". Even Dawn has some new ingredients, but it is a great
degreaser.

Hope this helps.

john dach
MLCE.net


#7

Monica - The likely problem is that you aren’t using enough soap or
possibly not the right kind. Tumbling with steel shot should be on
the acid side of the pH scale - about a 5.0, Dawn is about 9.0 or
slightly basic.

You do need a mixture of detergent, surfactant, and lubrication.
Using something less than a complete chemistry intended for steel
will leave you with black junk. Just use the stuff made for the
process, available from pretty much everybody that sells shot for
jewelry. I find the liquids easier to mix to the right concentration.

When you clean up the mess - rinse everything afterward. Cleaning
with baking soda is putting it right back on the base side of pH.
Use the coke, rinse with water, and quit. Do include your messed up
work in the clean-up run.

There is a bit more about tumbling - you might find the book “tumble
Finishing for Handmade Jewelry” useful. Available from many of the
Orchid sponsors.

Judy Hoch


#8

This jumped out from one of the responses:

I discovered the anode in the new water system was being destroyed
by the well water. Removed it from the hot water tank, flushed the
system and have not had the problem since. 

Just be aware that with the anode removed, the well water is now
busy destroying the tank! Just thought you’d like to know.

Dick D.


#9
Every time I tumble silver, it gets coated with what looks like
patina. I have cleaned both shot and barrel with flat coke, washed
the inside of the barrel with baking soda. I know I've tumbled
patinated pieces before, but I keep the shot separate from the
rest. Please help. I expect to see beautiful shiny silver, and end
up with shiny dark patina. What am I doing wrong? 

You’re using the wrong burnishing soap and shot cleaner.

I use the kind Stuller sells. When my silver starts looking funky, I
just put some shot cleaner in, I don’t take out the jewelry or rinse
out the barrel. Conversely, when the silver next begins to look
crapp, I add burnishing soap.

I’ve been doing it this way for over 30 years (with various
different brands of burnishing soaps and shot cleaners, and only
very, very rarely do I have to actually take the shot out and clean
the barrel. My tumbler must be around 40 years old (I bought it
used).

Paf Dvorak


#10

After reading about problems with tumbling, I switched barrels from
black rubber to clear plastic. Maybe I was fortunate in not having
experienced problems before, but the clear plastic might prevent them
in the future.

Barbara on Canada Day on the Island.


#11

I’ve had this issue (patinated tumbling) off and on, hasn’t happened
at all since I switched to Rio’s Sunsheen, even when I leave things
to tumble overnight.

Blessings,
Sam Kaffine
Sterling Bliss, llc


#12
I discovered the anode in the new water system was being destroyed
by the well water. Removed it from the hot water tank, flushed the
system and have not had the problem since. 

The anode is actually there so that it is destroyed slowly. It helps
to lay down a protective barrier of ions on the interior surface of a
hot water tank because it seems to be impossible to manufacture and
ship a glass lined hot water tank without cracks appearing. The ions
keep the water from seeping through the cracks to the metal tank and
rusting through. Removing the anode also destroys the guarantee. We
had to remove the anode because we had a slight amount of sulphur in
the water which did no harm but smells like rotten eggs. Anode gone,
rotten eggs smell gone when doing the dishes or having a bath. But it
also shortened the life of the hot water tank - most last maybe 10 to
15 years - we have 5 tanks in 10 years and they all rusted through in
the bottom. Seriously considered a stainless steel hot water tank
which would have put an end to the problem.

Barbara - and I just told you all I know about anodes and hot water
tanks


#13

sunsheen burnishing liquid contains citric acid. that’s how I
figured out to add that to my mix. When I lived in Norway, I couldn’t
get commercial tumbling/burnishing chemicals. so I used the citric
acid.


#14

Do you tumble in a two part process? First with the plastic pyramids
and deburring solution to clean up the excess tarnish, whatever.
Then transfer over to stainless steel shot with burnishing solution
for polishing. If the shot is expected to do the whole job, often a
dirty solution leaving coating on the silver occurs. Try a two part
solution (no pun intended).


#15

We just replaced our tank and they told us to flush it twice a year.
When you do the time changes (here in the USA). Just hook up a garden
hose (hot water hose is best). Open the valve and flush all the water
and sediment at the bottom of the tank. This builds up and what
causes the problems with tank and coils.

I’m not a plumber, just what I was told and we are on city water.

Charlie


#16

It’s interesting when I go to various schools, talk to various
jewelers and jewelry students, and most of them are perfectly happy
to keep usingdishwashing detergent for tumbling. As a professional
myself, sellingmy work and doing custom work, I want the best
results I can get out ofmy tumbler. I have always used Rio’s
tumbling soaps and deburring soaps. I found that Super Sunsheen
tumbling soap to give a really bright, nice finish on metal with
steel shot. Strat-O-Sheen, a little more pricy, but still gives a
great finish.

As for using tumbling media, both ceramic and plastic media, nothing
beats Sunsheen deburring compound. I will panic when I run low, for
I relyon it heavily. Supra Galvex (ultrasonic soap) will work in a
pinch but if you after consistency, then stick with Rio tumbling
compounds andsoaps. They seems to have the best range on the market.

As for tumblers, I use mostly clear plastic barrels in assorted
sizes, and one big old steel lined with black rubber barrel for
larger loads (infrequently). My only issues is that when dirty
jewelry goes into the steel shot, it will render the tumbling soap
black and leave the shot oily. My students have learned to degrease
their jewelry before it goes in the steel shot, otherwise, I have to
spend a half hour getting the steel clean with shot cleaner. Since I
have vintage carbon sheet shot (25-45 years old), I have to use 910
or 920 tumbling soap just for the rust inhibitor. I don’t want to
spend $500 to replace with stainless steel shot, for my old shot
works properly, and why replace it?

Joy


#17
I found that Super Sunsheen tumbling soap to give a really bright,
nice finish on metal with steel shot. 

Same here, that stuff is terrific.

Elaine
CreativeTextureTools.com


#18
We just replaced our tank and they told us to flush it twice a
year. 

Anyone reading and going to use this system, BE SURE TO TURN OFF THE
WATER HEATER ELEMENT POWER BEFORE DRAINING THE TANK. If the tank is
gas fired, turn off the gas before draining.

Forgetting to do this will mean buying a new heater, FOR
SURE!!!

john dach


#19
I discovered the anode in the new water system was being destroyed
by the well water. Removed it from the hot water tank, flushed the
system and have not had the problem since. Just be aware that with
the anode removed, the well water is now busy destroying the tank!
Just thought you'd like to know. 

Yes and depending on your water it could happen quite quickly.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts