Daily Wire Tip Jan. 30: Vibratory and Rotary Tumblers

By on January 29, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
January 30, 2011


The article Polishing Your Wire Jewelry mentioned using a tumbler. I have a tumbler, but mine vibrates instead of rotating. Can I still use it? The article did not mention using any kind of shot beads in the process.

-Melonie in Raleigh, North Carolina


Melonie, if you visit the article Tumbling Your Jewelry, I believe you will find the information you are seeking with regards to the differences between a rotary and a vibratory tumbler.

We have also had some great discussions about this on the blog. If you go to the left column and type "tumbling" into the keyword box, then press "Go!", you will also find a lot of past discussions that include experiences from several folks who do tumble their work.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Juan M Colon

    January 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I am thinking to begin working with beads made from shells. I want to cut them in small pieces and tumble them in a rotary tumble, What kind of material should I use to the tumbling?
    Is this material from shell worth to work on it?

  2. avatar

    Tara T

    January 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I polish everything I make in a vibratory tumbler with white rice. Just fill the tumbler bowl with raw white rice about halfway, and put in your pieces. Turn it on and check it in an hour to see the progress. I find it only takes an hour or two to see a noticeable difference, and usually will leave my pieces in overnight.

  3. avatar

    Mildred S.Schiff

    January 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I have used both rotary and vibrating tumblers. At the moment I am using the rotary kind. I have found a good media mix is 1/2 and 1/2 mixed shot and fine pin shot with a polishing compound, mixed according to directions. I always use purified water, distilled is not necessary, but filtered is ,as most water supplies have some chlorine and/or benzine which affect Silver and other metals.