I foolishly purchased steel shot to save a little money only to
find what a maintainance nigtmare it is!
I learned a neat trick from my mentor, whose shop equipment I
purchased. Included in that equipment was about 13 pounds of steel
shot which I thought was stainless until the first time I didn't
dry it out well. She showed me how to take care of it easily.
Before emptying the tumbler, lay out three large, old beach towels
on a flat surface, stack the towels one on top of the next. (I use
the top of my clothes dryer since it's next to the sink.) Empty the
tumbler into a colander or strainer that is big and heavy enough to
hold the shot. Rinse it well and let it drain for a couple minutes.
Dump out the strainer onto the top towel, quickly pick out the
tumbled pieces, spread out the shot into a thin layer, and blot it
with a 4th smaller towel. CAREFULLY pick up all 4 corners of the
towel, making a bundle of shot. Lift it up, and pour it carefully
onto the next towel in the stack. Spread it out, repeat the blotting,
and pour onto the 3rd towel. By this time it's barely damp, and will
finish drying in only a few minutes once it's spread out thin, with
It takes about 5-10 minutes at most, and then the shot is dry and
ready to put away until the next use. The big trick is not leaving it
to sit on a damp towel for more than a couple minutes before shifting
it to a dry towel again.
And the one time our shot did rust, we simply threw it all into the
tumbler with some water and burnishing liquid and ran the tumbler for
an hour. The shot came out clean. We dried it as above, and it's been
fine ever since.
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