First, let me recommend that you purchase Judy Hoch’s little book
"Tumble Finishing for Handmade Jewelry." Modest cost and available at
Rio Grande among other suppliers. This has been discussed frequently
in the past, so a search of the Orchid archives would be of benefit.
Second, you should consider having both a rotary tumbler and a
vibratory tumbler. I have two small rotary tumblers and use them wet
with stainless media. They can also be used dry. My vibratory
tumblers are both used dry. One is loaded with crushed walnut shell
and the other with a mixed media for final polishing.
The rotary tumblers can be purchased inexpensively if you get the
kind sold to kids for polishing rocks. Vibratory tumblers can be
purchased from reloader suppliers. They’re used to polish brass
casings. What you will find out is that the media can be more
expensive than the machines!
NOW, order the book and read it. They reconsider your questions in
light of you new-found knowledge. Having a better idea of what you
can expect from using a tumbler will help you decide how to proceed.
Judy in Kansas, where the temp was 2 degrees F when I got up and has
risen all of 9 degrees be late afternoon. Hoping for a warmer