Silver looks the same afterwards!

by Meagan
(Qld, Australia)

So apparently one pound of stainless steel shot should be enough for a Lortone 3A tumbler, but I'm beginning to wonder. Or I'm doing something wrong!

I threw 4 small scrap sterling silver discs (for stamping) in the barrel with one pound of shot, enough water to cover and a big spoonful of grated plain white soap. I then put it on and left it for 8 hours.

At the end of 8 hrs the water was grey and still sudsy but my discs looked much the same as they did when they went in! They didn't get that real shine till I rubbed them with red rouge. Is this normal? Am I expecting too much? Are tumblers supposed to remove fine sandpaper marks? I'm afraid I don't see the point when I still have to polish them up afterwards.

Any advice welcome, thank you!

Stacy's Answer:

Thanks for your question, Meagan. Sorry for the delayed's been one heck of a busy holiday week here.

One pound of stainless steel shot is plenty. When you combine that weight with your jewelry and water weight, you don't want to overload the motor capacity.

I'm not familiar with the soap flakes idea. I do know that some soap can leave a waxy or oily residue which is why the liquid Dawn dish soap is recommended.

8 hours is an awfully long time to leave something in the tumbler. Check your items after 3-4 hours so you can refresh the water if necessary. As I mention in my tumble polishing article, the Dawn can only hold so much crud before it starts re-depositing it back onto your jewelry.

The tumbler does make a huge improvement in the appearance of most copper, brass and silver jewelry. Fine sandpaper marks should come out. However, if you have a lot of discs in the tumbler they may scratch each other or stick together so they don't get evenly polished. And, tumbling is not the best solution for every job. For example, I can put a mirror shine on a disc in about a minute using a buffing machine vs. hours in the tumber.

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