I have just started using copper with my lampwork beads, and when I tumble the pieces I get a grey scum in all the crevices, which I have to brush out with a brass brush. It is very time consuming, and I can't always get it out due to some of the designs. I am using a Lortone 3A tumbler with steel shot, water and shaved ivory bar soap. Do you have any insight into my problem? Thanks!
Your pieces are absolutely stunning, and I hope to own one of them one day.
I agree with you that having to hand-polish your copper after removing it from the tumbler would be very time consuming and a pain! First off, I would change the soap that you're using to tumble your pieces in. Here in the States, we use Dawn dish soap, but you can probably use another liquid dish soap, as long as it does not contain any perfumes, dyes, abrasives, etc. You should not get a "grey scum" on the copper! Try running your tumbler with only Stainless steel shot, a squirt of dish soap and enough water to cover say 1/2 inch over night to thoroughly clean your shot and the rubber tub.
I've written an article you can find here, JewelryLessons.com
, in the "Articles Section" that discusses in some detail all you may wish to know about tumbling. (you'll need to sign up, but there is no cost and I think you'll really enjoy the site!)
Please let me know how is goes!! Thanks for your question!