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Tumbling mixed metal pieces


#1

Hi Orchid, I have finally amassed enough stainless steel shot (thanks
ebay, 25 pounds for $50 with shipping) to properly run in my new
vibratory tumbler. After running a few pieces I now see what the big
deal is, my pieces have never looked so shiny. I would really like to
use this on my sterling and gold-filled wire bracelets, but I’m
wondering if it’s ok to burnish gold-filled in particular and mixed
metals in general. I also do a lotof argentium pieces with 18k bezels
and 18k granulation. Another thing I’m wondering is should I be using
the “flow-through” for steel burnishing or is that just for abrasive
media? Also do I need to have separate media for my LOS/ patinated
pieces? I purchased the book "Tumble finishing for handmade jewelry"
but found it left me with more questions than answers about the
subject. I have found it is possible to run a small amount of steel
shot in a larger machine, just put it into a one quart plastic
measuring cup and set it inside the bowl using the handle to hang it
on the edge of the bowl so it doesn’t fall over. It makes a very nice
quick churning action and works great for a few small pieces. I guess
these might be dumb questions but it seems the available
on mass finishing is often vague and sometimes contradictory. Thanks
for your help, keep Orchiding. Douglas


#2

Hi Orchid, I have finally amassed enough stainless steel shot
(thanks ebay, 25 pounds for $50 with shipping) to properly run in my
new vibratory tumbler. After running a few pieces I now see what the
big deal is, my pieces have never looked so shiny. I would really
like to use this on my sterling and gold-filled wire bracelets, but
I’m wondering if it’s ok to burnish gold-filled in particular and
mixed metals in general. I also do a lotof argentium pieces with 18k
bezels and 18k granulation. Another thing I’m wondering is should I
be using the “flow-through” for steel burnishing or is that just for
abrasive media? Also do I need to have separate media for my LOS/
patinated pieces? I purchased the book “Tumble finishing for handmade
jewelry” but found it left me with more questions than answers about
the subject. I have found it is possible to run a small amount of
steel shot in a larger machine, just put it into a one quart plastic
measuring cup and set it inside the bowl using the handle to hang it
on the edge of the bowl so it doesn’t fall over. It makes a very
nice quick churning action and works great for a few small pieces. I
guess these might be dumb questions but it seems the information
available on mass finishing is often vague and sometimes
contradictory. Thanks for your help, keep Orchiding.

Douglas - there is no problem running mixed metal jewelry in either
a vibratory or rotary tumbler. You don’t need separate media for LOS
pieces. You do need to rinse the media after a run.

Tumble finishing does not remove enough metal, especially with
steel, to impact gold-filled material. Just be reasonable about how
long you run it.

If you have a flow thru - open the flow restrictor to flood the
interior. shut off the flow, let it run for a minute or so to drain.

That is enough rinsing. If you are not running a flow through, dump
the media into a container, drain out the used liquid, and then fill
and drain the container two or three times, while agitating the
media by hand.

The book you reference is quite clear about the amount of media
required. The make-do that you suggest just jiggles the steel media.

It will mark your jewelry with repeated tracks.

The amount of steel required for vibratory finishing is
considerable.

25 pounds is a very small volume and I am unaware of any small
tumblers that are rated for steel. You might seriously consider a
small rotary tumbler. I hope your ebay bargain is stainless steel.

Judy Hoch


#3

Thanks Judy, I ran about 25 sterling/GFbracelets for an hour last
night and they look better than they ever have. I love steel
burnishing!

I have the Raytech AV-25SS steel burnishing system which is rated at
50 lbs for steel. Since I already had about 15 lbs of mixed shot that
makes 40 lbs total and it runs well. The shot i found on ebay is #410
stainless steel, seems ok to me, no sign of rust though I did have to
wash it several times before using it. My “make-do” method really
does work, it doesn’t just jiggle, it really tumbles, though the
action is much quicker, i. e. the pieces are moved through the media
very quickly from the bottom of the container to the top and back to
the bottom etc. I think it has to do with the shape and size of the
container and the frequency of the vibration. I’ve tried using other
types of plastic containers and found that none of them work as well
as a deep round plastic measuring cup with ahandle to hang it inside
the rim of the bowl. I like that I can have a batch of small
intricate pieces running with finer shot in the cup while my bigger
pieces are in the main bowl with larger shot. Maybe unorthodox but it
works for me. Thanks again, Douglas


#4
Hi Orchid, I have finally amassed enough stainless steel shot
(thanks ebay, 25 pounds for $50 with shipping) 

Douglas, would you give the info. on how to find thisshot, on ebay?
I dont think ebay links are allowed, but maybe the sellers i. d. ? I
would like to try it. t6hanks, Andrew