I’ll tumble for ya, I’ll tumble for ya, I’ll tumble for yooooooo!
Guess what I did for over 5 hours last night and will be doing again for several hours this afternoon?
Tumbling my new jewelry components!
My partner and I bought a new magnetic centrifugal tumbler, which is supposed to tumble more quickly and efficiently than the rotary tumblers. My partner thought it might be possible that using the two tumblers consecutively might eliminate the need for wire-brushing freshly kiln-fired pieces – a tedious and sometimes hand-scraping painful necessity to creating silver clay jewelry. She tried a combination of an hour in the rotary tumbler (half- hour for pieces with stones embedded), followed by an hour in the magnetic tumbler. Her pieces came out with a mirror finish – no brushing!
So last night I brought the tumbler to my house and tried it, having prepared the night before by tumbling all my pieces in the rotary tumbler for an hour. Considering that I had 125 grams worth of pieces that could not be tumbled all at once this took several hours. I was very excited pulling the first group of pieces out of the magnetic tumbler (which I set for an hour). Sure enough, the stoneware finish was eliminated. However, my pieces were still fairly matte. So they went in the rotary tumbler again for a third tumbling. Then I tried another group of pieces, less this time, for 90 minutes. Still matte, but better. Next group – 14 pieces instead of 16 (about 20 the first group), for 90 minutes – still matte but better than the second group. Lastly (although I still have more to do) I tried 10 pieces for 100 minutes and those came out fairly shiny, but I still wouldn’t call it a mirror finish.
This morning I put in 10 more pieces and set the timer for 120 minutes. My husband is home sick for the day so I felt confident in leaving the tumbler going when I left for work. I really hope that this time I get a mirror finish but I’ll have to wait until I get home this afternoon to see.
My partner used a particular type of dish soap in the tumbler that I am going to borrow to see if the soap I’m using is a factor in not getting a mirror finish. All this tumbling is taking a ridiculous amount of time but it does eliminate the need for brushing, which I hate, so its worth it. Right?