Finest Gauge Wire for Tumbling?

by Pamela Caughey
(Hamilton, MT, USA)


I just found your website and am excited to find such thorough tutorials and information! My question is regarding the tumbler(s) you use, and how small a gauge finished wire you would put into your tumbler, say on a finished pair of dangling earrings. If you had 18 gauge dangling rectangular earrings (say 1/8" by 1 inch) attached to 22 gauge ear wires and a few small dangling 24 gauge embellishments (little 1/8" sterling silver circles with balled ends) would you put the whole finished piece into the tumbler, or just the main rectangular 18 gauge piece? I've been told by a local bead store where they don't have much experience that they would NOT put very fine gauges (say 20 gauge and higher) in the Lortran tumbler.

Also, can you put aluminum into the tumbler, or would you need a different medium, say plastic?

Thank you so much! I'll return to see your responses!

Pam ; )

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Pam. Thanks for your nice comments about the website. As for tumbling smaller gauge wires with the larger gauges, I don't see any problem with it. I tumble jewelry pieces like that all the time in my LortoneĀ®. Just remember to tumble "like with like." For example, tumble several pairs of earrings together but not with heavier jewelry such as a bangle that might tend to damage them. Your earrings should be fine, even with the small wires.

As for aluminum, I've never worked with that metal and don't know anything about it, so I can't help you with that.

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Apr 30, 2011
Thank you so much, Stacy!
by: Pam


Thank you so much for your kind response. Since posting my question, I have tried out my tumbler just a little bit (on a belt buckle) and loved the results! I was surprised it didn't take the patina right off--it just made the surface lustrous.

I will now more confidently add the more delicate items to the tumbler with the steel shot. I can't wait to try it!

Thanks for this wonderful site--such a great resource! Pam

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