Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads
by Judy Larson
Here's a simple way to keep tumbling shot from getting stuck in bead holes.
Instructions
The holes on many hand-made beads and some machine-made beads are sometimes large enough that tumbling shot can easily get inside the bead, be stuck there, and then be almost impossible to remove. Stringing the beads on one or more wires to fill the holes so shot can't slip into them while tumbling will eliminate that problem. But do not remove the wires after taking the beads out of the tumbler. The wires make it easier to swish the beads around in patina solution as well as to remove them from it, rinse them, etc.   
Judy Larson's Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads - , General Education, Filing, Finishing, , tumbling metal beads
Judy Larson's Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads - , General Education, Filing, Finishing, , tumbling metal beads
What type of wire and gauge should be used? Whatever works! Whatever you have on hand that will not break the bank is perfect. Sometimes one or two heavier gauge wires is all that will be needed. Other times, more finer gauge wires work better. My hand-made Bali-Style beads were strung on silver plated copper craft wire. Below with a silver metal clay bead series I am working on, copper wire was used.   

Be frugal. Straighten the used wire and store it to be used with the next bead project. Each of us has different needs. Personally, with less hand strength and with the number of beads I make, I find I use wire with beads a lot so I keep it accessible, not stored away.  
Judy Larson's Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads - , General Education, Filing, Finishing, , tumbling metal beads
Even with good hand strength, it can be difficult to hold onto a single bead while polishing it or highlighting it after patina has been applied. Single beads can go flying no matter what process or tool is being used. Leaving at least one wire through the beads makes it so much easier to grasp and control each bead as it is being worked on. Polish away without the fear of losing a bead somewhere in your workroom, only to find it weeks, months, or years later. Then it is just a matter of adding the wires back through the beads to give them a final tumble polish. 
Judy Larson's Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads - , General Education, Filing, Finishing, , tumbling metal beads
Judy Larson's Tumbling and Polishing Metal Beads - , General Education, Filing, Finishing, , tumbling metal beads

Materials

No materials listed

Tools

Stainless Steel Shot - 1 lb Bag
G24-4
  • G24-4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $31.95
  • Gold Club Price: $23.96
Add to Bag
Thumlers Tumbler Model T Rock Tumbler Kit
G34-100
  • G34-100
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $172.76
  • Gold Club Price: $129.57
Out of Stock
Add All Items to Cart
  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Filing / Finishing, General Education