Daily Wire Tip Jan. 5: New Drums Leaving Black on Silver

By on January 5, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
January 05, 2010

Question:

I just got a new Lortone tumbler and stainless steel shot.  I have heard that new drums can leave black marks on silver. Should I do something special to break in the drums before I polish silver?

Answer:

If you have a tumbler with rubber barrels, think about the product. It is made of the same type of rubber that tires are made of and the inexpensive brands may not have used rubber that has been properly vulcanized, therefore the rubber will break down more quickly and the goop that covers the shot and jewelry is oil. (Thus the suggestions to use a degreasing detergent like original, blue, Dawn dish detergent.) The rubber barrels made by the USA company Lortone are a higher-grade rubber and unless they are very old, they do not easily break down like the inexpensive, foreign produced brands.

If someone does have a new barrel, one way to clean it before using it for jewelry is to place your stainless steel shot in the barrel and then fill it to 2/3 of the way full with a mixture that is half vinegar and half water. Run this combination for half an hour, two or three times, rinsing everything well between runs, and then finish by using a mixture of baking soda and water; again rinse everything well and then begin your jewelry tumbling process. If and when your rubber barrel begins to deteriorate, throw it away and get a new one.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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