Using a vibrating tumbler to remove oxidation

by Emily
(Bloomfield, CT)

Hello! I oxidize copper and silver for metal pendants. I am trying to find a way to speed up my polishing step. So I purchased a vibrating tumbler with walnut shell grit. Is this the best way to polish the dark oxidation off of the copper/silver? Or would a rotary tumbler with liquid and dawn soap be better? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Stacy's Answer:

First, I apologize about the slow response to your question. I've been enjoying some time off, but now I'm back and will strive to answer any future questions in a timely manner!

I've never used a vibrating tumbler although I have used walnut shell grit that was impregnated with red rouge polishing compound. I found it to be very messy (red rouge everywhere) and the tiny bits of walnut shells lodged themselves firmly in any crack or crevasse. I prefer a rotary tumbler and most would agree that Lortone makes a quality tumbler. Using a rotary-style tumbler is great for removing light tarnish from Bali beads and for cleaning and removing minor plier marks, etc. But you would have to leave something in there for a long time to remove the dark tarnish from silver bangles, etc.

I've found that using a polishing wheel on my flex shaft or a buffing wheel on a polishing machine work best for quickly removing any oxidation from copper and silver and also for removing any unwanted minor blemishes. Buffing machines can be dangerous and require special ventilation so give it some serious thought before purchasing one. Here's is an article I've recently added that discusses in detail the use of a rotary tumbler. If after reading it, you still find you have some unanswered questions, please submit another question. I promise I'll do my best to respond within a day or so.

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