Tumbling Questions

An alternative to low sudsing dish detergents is to simply buy bars
of plain Ivory handsoap and add a few very thin shavings to the water
in your tumbler (amount depends on size of tumbler – in my Lortone
45C, I use 4 thin shavings off the end of the bar, when the tumbler
is half full of water).

As for polishing your jewelry, I always recommend Cerambits as a
tumbling medium. Due to the kindness of several folks on this list,
I have found out where to get it again. It is made by Raytech, but
you order it through Kingsley North in Norway, Michigan
(800-338-9280, or www.kingsleynorth.com). They backordered a new
lot for me, and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

All the best,
Judy Bjorkman

I am also a novice who just purchased a rotary tumbler (Lortone 3A)
and a sack of stainless steel shot. Like Christel van der Laan, I
went through all the archives and found that the postings assumed we
knew the basic stuff, but we don’t! I would like to find a place to
purchase Judy Hoch’s book quickly. Can you please tell us more?
Which kind of soap? How much? Judy??? I am anxiously awaiting your
answers, willing my little silver beads and chain pieces to get strong and shiny…
pat dowd, prickly patti designs

I bought Judy’s book at Allcraft in NYC but Rio carries it as well.
I also use burnishing compound (mixed with water) when tumbling with
steel shot, and it works really well to get high shine with silver.

Hope this helps!

Hi, I usually just lurk here, but finally a question I can answer!
It’s really easy, not nearly as complicated as I thought it would
be. You want to put the stainless steel shot and jewelry into the
barrel of the tumbler, aim for maybe 1/3 full (don’t think that’s a
rule, but it worked for me) then add water (I used distilled water,
just in case…) until the water completely covers the shot and
jewelry, and add just a little more water. Then you add either
tumbling powder or dish soap. The soap I used was liquid dish soap,
just a few drops, I think it was dawn or something like that. From
what I understand, pretty much any liquid dish soap should work. The
first time I tumbled, I left the pieces in for about an hour, and
they came out looking very clean and shiny. Some people leave them
in a lot longer, but an hour was enough for what I wanted. I think
if the jewelry has a lot of burrs you might need to leave it in
longer. When you are done, it is important to rinse off the shot and
the inside of the tumbler barrel so you don’t get build-up which
will eventually leave residue on the jewelry. Be careful not to lose
all your shot down the drain!

If you have any other beginner tumbling questions you can email me
off-list. I haven’t been tumbling for very long, so I know where you
are coming from.


p dowd, If you wish to tumble sterling silver in a Lortone 3A
tumbler, then I would suggest that you need 2-1/2 to 3 lbs of
stainless steel shot for that tumbler. You will also need burnishing
compound (a special soap, I recommend the powdered variety) to
suspend the dirt in solution. These items are available at
(sfjssantafe.com) or if you wish to speak to me about it please call
me at (800) 659-3835. Steve