How to Use a Rotary Tumbler to Polish Sterling Silver Jewelry

by Karen on September 8, 2009

A rotary tumbler is a great investment if you make sterling silver or precious metal clay jewelry.  It is the easiest way to bring shine to your silver pieces as long as you are not incorporating soft stones that can scratch such as pearls. Tumbling will also help to work harden the silver.

Here are just a few of the common questions asked by those new to tumbling:

  • How much stainless free lead shot should I use?
  • What kind of shot should I buy?
  • How much water should I add?
  • How many pieces can I put into the tumbler?
  • What should I use for burnishing compound?
  • Are other stones and glass safe to put in the tumbler?
  • Will I damage finer gauge silver wire pieces when I put them in the tumbler?

The following are links to some excellent articles that will answer these questions and more.  There is even a video on how to use the Lortone Rotary tumbler for Precious Metal Clay.

You will see that there is a difference of opinion on whether to use stainless steel shot or ceramic based compounds. I think that most people use stainless steel shot. This is what I have always used and have not had any problems.

Enjoy the articles and video!

Polishing sterling silver with a rotary tumbler By Chris Franchetti Michael

Maintaining a rotary tumbler – and polishing precautions

Tumble-Polishing Metal Jewelry by Judy Bjorkman

Cleaning Jewelry with Tumblers?

Tumble Polish Jewelry by Urban Maille

Video How to Use the Lortone Rotary Tumbler for PMC and Silver by CoolToolsVideos

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