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Daily Wire Tip June 15: Tumbling Chain Maille Jewelry
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 15, 2011
Should chain maille jewelry be tumbled? Is that to harden it so that the links don’t open?
-Sue in Easton, Pennsylvania
Hi Sue, many folks tumble their chain maille jewelry for several reasons. Yes, tumbling will further harden the links. It will also remove any burrs, clean the work, and give it a nice shine. You do need to be aware that any wire that will normally tarnish with time, will still tarnish after tumbling.
In my studio, we occasionally tumble my daughter’s chain maille jewelry. When? Well, only if she is working with home-made jump rings that may have burrs from the saw blade. We place finished pieces (pure chain maille, without any beads) into a small barrel with 1 pound of mixed stainless steel shot, a small squirt of blue, original Dawn and enough water to cover the contents. Then we turn on the tumbler and leave it to run for about 1 hour. Then we remove the finished items, rinse them thoroughly under running water, and leave them on a towel to air dry.
The final step is to rinse the shot, let it air dry, and then store it until the next need. We put the dry shot in a plastic container with several silica gel packs. Many people, including us, save the silica gel packets that are packed into so many items today. If you need to purchase more, I like the company Silica Gel Packets.
In writing the article Tumbling Your Jewelry, faculty member Mary Bailey interviewed several folks who regularly use a tumbler with their finished jewelry. As you are thinking about a tumbler, you may find some useful information that will help you decide whether or not to tumble your finished chain maille pieces.
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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