Why tumbling media matters

We get a lot of comments on how shiny our rings are and ask what we do that is so different from others.  Well, let me tell you, what you use really does matter.  You see a LOT of people recommend blue Dawn soap, water and stainless steel shot.  We used to do that.  The results were pretty good, at least we thought so.  One of the things we did learn the hard way, and have seen others do the same, was that when you tumble bright aluminum, if you leave it in too long, it looses it’s “bright”.  It looks absolutely horrible.  Other metals were not quite as picky.

I’m naturally inquisitive and like to tinker, tumbling was no different.  I thought we could do better.  So I played with a lot of different formulas, mixtures, and liquids.

This is what BA looks like tumbled in blue dawn, water and stainless steel shot.

BA
Bright aluminum in soap and water

This is what we get with our new mixture.

BA
Bright aluminum with our new mixture

Don’t see the difference?  Let me put them side by side for you.

Side by side comparison

Now you see it, don’t you.  This picture really doesn’t even show it very well.  This BA rivals sterling silver for the shiny factor.  This is the exact same piece tumbled in soap and water first, then tumbled in our mixture.  Other than sharpening the picture and sizing, there is no manipulation to the image.

One interesting thing we have learned with our experiments is that no matter how long we tumble our BA, it never goes dull and nasty like it did with the soap and water.  We can also easily take it from that dull nastiness to a silver shine in just a matter of a couple hours in our mixture.

What you choose to tumble your rings or finished pieces in really does matter.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new.

And remember, It’s in the Maille.

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