(Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
I make my own Niobium and Argentium Sterling Silver chain. I am getting a new tumbler soon, so have no experience with this process yet. Is there anything I should know before using the tumbler for chain? I can easily imagine the whole chain getting tied up in a knot this way. What are your suggestions?
How right you are! Small chains can indeed be transformed or morph into "chain beads" and other interesting permanent configurations aka "scrap" in the tumbler. :-)
Tumbling can give your chains a beautiful finish!To avoid unwanted knots you have to secure the chain first. You can either gather it in small coil loops and secure with small twists of copper wire (paper "twisty ties" partially dissolve and they also rust) Place a twist on opposite ends of the coiled loop and in the tumbler it goes.
Larger loops can be "threaded" onto a heavier gauge copper wire like 16ga and then the ends are secured by twisting them together or by simply making a spiral at each end of the wire that protrudes from the chain ends. Just make sure that your chain is SECURE! Wimpy wrapped ends won't survive a few hours in the tumbler which could allow your chain to escape aaaaaaand morph.
In general, don't tumble colored wire as the coatings can be damaged during the tumbling process. If you have a doubt, simply test it. Have fun creating! Chain-making is a beautiful art!
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