TOP TIPS FOR USING YOUR JEWELRY TUMBLER

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

This month, I received a Lortone Tumbler from @seattlefindings (an awesome jewelry supply company, check them out! ) After having the opportunity to play with this awesome rotary tumbler, I wanted to share our community's top tips! 

This is the Lortone 3A Rotary Tumbler.

Prior to using my tumbler I prepped the barrel with flat Coca Cola.

PRIOR TO USING YOUR TUMBLER, PREP IT WITH FLAT COCA COLA!

If you purchase a tumbler with a rubber barrel, this tip can help prevent the rubber barrel from leaching rubber onto your pieces. Take flat Coca Cola and tumble with your steel shots for 30 minutes, its critical that you patiently allow the Coca Cola to become completely flat as the agitation in the tumbler could create a fizzy disaster! Then rinse the shots and tumbler and you are ready to go. I wish I could explain the exact science behind this, but something in the Coca Cola helps seal the rubber. As to whether or not other brands of cola work, I'm not sure!

USE DISTILLED WATER AND DAWN SOAP

It is advised to use distilled water in your tumbler, especially if you have hard water (high mineral content). I also recommend sticking with a few drops of Dawn soap (or something comparable) instead of using burnishing compounds. Burnishing compounds are very effective and work great in plastic/acryclic tumbler barrels but they can be corrosive to rubber barrels. When rubber barrels breakdown they deposit rubber onto your pieces which is annoying to clean off (try soaking in acetone!) While rubber barrels can last for many years, eventually they do need replacement!

IF YOUR TUMBER HAS NO ON AND OFF SWITCH, NO PROBLEM!

If you want to control exactly how long you tumble you can plug your tumbler into an outlet timer. The one I use has a dial with 24 hours on it and you can choose as many 15 minute increments as you like.

PROPER USE OF YOUR TUMBLER

  • Make sure you fill your tumbler barrel 3/4 way to keep it tumbling efficiently!
  • It's normal for your tumbler to get very hot when running it for prolonged periods (like when you rock tumble for days.)
  • The washer on this Lortone also doubles as a tool for prying open the lid from the barrel.
  • You can purchase 1lb of steel shots and it will be more than enough for your barrel.
  • A strainer (with a fine enough mesh that the shots won't fall through) is a great tool for pouring the contents of your tumbler into, when you are ready to rinse.
  • It doesn't hurt to lay your shot out to dry when you are done using it and then store in a jar.

People often wonder how long they should tumble their jewelry for. I've heard widely varying opinions on this. If you tumble with steel shots they are going to rub against the surface of your work as the barrel tumbles, giving your work a uniform shine. The tumbler does not remove scratches, or excess solder. So that being said 30-60 minutes in a tumbler will achieve this shine on your metal. However some people do prolonged tumbling and it will help add rigidity to earring wires, posts and other thin gauged wires. When it comes to tumbling work with set gemstones, you have to proceed cautiously! Diamonds, sapphires and rubies (which are some of the hardest stones on the MOH scale) are going to be fine (typically) but softer stones you do run a risk. Sometimes its the act of more than one piece of jewelry in the tumbler together banging against each other, which can cause an issue for softer stones. So experiment, but always ask yourself "how would I feel if this stone was damaged?" prior to throwing a piece in there.

Be sure to join our community on Instagram! You can check out one of our tumbler posts and join the conversation in the comments thread! Thank you to everyone who shared their tumbler experiences and tips!

If you are interested in purchasing a Lortone tumbler you can check them out at Seattle Findings. Big thanks to them for supporting Metalsmith Society. If you'd like to support this page visit our shop!

SOCIETY MUG

It's the official Metalsmith Society mug, perfect for enjoying a hot beverage in your studio. Available for fulfillment in Europe, making it a great option for international orders.

SOCIETY STICKER PACK

This set of of six vinyl stickers are thick, durable, and waterproof! Perfect for your notebook, toolbox or anywhere else you want to represent our Society! 

SOCIETY RAGLAN SHIRT

A modern baseball style raglan made from a comfortable poly-cotton blend. Its key feature is the classic combo of contrasting ¾ sleeves and collar. 

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METALSMITH SOCIETY VISITS SINEAD CLEARY JEWELRY

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

Metalsmith Society Visits Sinead Cleary Jewelry

While on my recent vacation in New Hampshire I was able to meet Sinead Cleary and visit her lovely lakefront home where her studio is located. Sinead specializes in designs that are simplistic and incorporate gorgeous hand fabricated stone settings. In addition to working on her own collection she is the Jewelry Coordinator and a teacher at the Littleton Studio School. She is also a regular contributor of her techniques, experiences and recommendations within our Instagram community.

We unfortunately forgot to take a selfie, but here is Sinead in her beautiful studio.

All of her benches were custom built and she used vinyl stick on tiles to create a nice surface to work on. It should be noted that her soldering area is protected with bricks as this surface is not heat resistant. Here is a link to similar tiles.

I absolutely love her use of a dry-erase board to keep a list of what she needs to accomplish in her studio. Stealing this idea and buying this one.

When I asked her what her favorite tool is she didn't hesitate to pull out her Foredom Hammer Handpiece H-15 she also showed me her set of anvil tips which she said she uses daily for various stone settings!

Another favorite tool are her pliers that hold tubing while you cut. 

She regularly uses them to cut tubing for settings.

Here is a tip from Sinead if you want to improve your stone setting skills, purchase pre-made settings and inexpensive stones and practice!! In this instance she purchased an eternity band and then modified it into a hoop earring.

I had the opportunity to look at her gorgeous work including these Tourmaline + Diamond Studs available at sineadclearlyjewelry.com

If you are located near Littleton, NH check out the Littleton Studio School and take a class with Sinead!
Be sure to check out Sinead's website and follow her on Instagram

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!     @metalsmithsociety

Support Metalsmith Society by visiting the online shopBe sure to read about the other artists in this series!

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018 SNAG CONFERENCE

Posted by Lisa Cawley Ruiz on

The annual Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference isn’t as much about tools and technique as it is about bringing jewelry artists and the industry together to share, learn and connect through their craft. As the industry changes, embracing new technology, new materials and new approaches to design and production, the fundamentals of the centuries-old craft of metalsmithing unites professionals and students alike across the field.
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HOW TO CHOOSE A TORCH FOR JEWELRY MAKING

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

If you have stumbled upon this article while searching for the best torch to purchase for jewelry making, welcome! There are so many options out there that I struggled to write this article! So I figured I would simply share some pros and cons of a few options. To give those that are new to jewelry making some insights into the different torch types. 
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JEWELRY STUDIO SAFETY WHILE PREGNANT

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

I'm going to go ahead and start this article with a disclaimer * if you become pregnant and have any concerns regarding your safety or the safety of a particular chemical or material, discuss them with your doctor! Now that I've said that I can share my experience working through two pregnancies. Here are some simple changes you can make and inexpensive tools you can invest in to decrease your inhalation and contact with fumes and chemicals.
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