Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A while back while I was out on a garage sale run , I found a toy rock tumbler -the kind that you can buy at Michaels Craft Stores - for only $3.00.

It didn't look too bad. According to the seller, the tumbler was never used, but the little rocks and the grit were missing. But, all in all, not a bad deal. I thought my 10 year old would like to try it or maybe I could use it for something.

Well a couple years passed and the tumbler collected dust in the front closet.

I had always heard that tumblers are great for silver jewelry. They supposedly shine silver up and harden it. Since I make a lot of silver jewelry, it sounded like it might be worth a shot.!

Next step: find out what I need to know about tumbling silver jewelry.

Google, of course comes in handy. I found this site that tells you just about everything you need to know about tumbling silver: http://urbanmaille.com/articles.asp?id=148 Armed with the information, I am ready to begin.

First. I already have a tumbler. (So what if it's plastic! No snickering!) It looks simple enough and seems to work all right without anything in it..

Next, I need to get some steel shot - probably about a pound worth. After checking some sites, I realize that I will be paying more for my steel shot to FILL the tumbler, than I PAID for the tumbler itself. Plus there's a shipping fee for mailing a whole pound of stainless steel shot across state borders. This is getting expensive.

So, $24 later I have my steel shot:

I guess it must be dirty because the directions say that I'm supposed wash it before I use it with jewelry.

??? So what should you use to wash steel shot with???

Well, I have a colandar. I checked the holes and decided that the shot PROBABLY wouldn't go through them. But...what a minute... using a colandar would mean I would have to put it and my steel shot in my sink and run water over them. Not a good idea. I don't want any steel shot going down my sink and into my garbage disposal! Bad idea!

What else? Let's see, I have some stainless steel mixing bowls. I can fill one up with soapy water, put the steel shot in it and swish it around. The shot could be washed on my countertop and not on the sink.

OK! Let's go!

So I got my bowl, put some warm water in it, and placed it around five feet away from my sink. Opened up my steel shot and started pouring it carefully in the water. Well, those steel shot are pretty heavy, and they seemed to gather some speed while I was pouring them in. All of a sudden -SWOOSH!

Do you know what happens when steel shot hit a steel mixing bowl. They start bouncing. About 5 of them bounce out of the bowl, and wouldn't you know those suckers bounced right across the counter top straight for my sink, with me scrambling after them and trying to catch them before they reached it.

I managed to catch two. You KNOW where the others went.

Yes, there're down there.
No, I can't get them out.
Yes, I have to tell my husband something.

The plumber was called the next day. I was lucky. The housecall only cost $120 because we didn't need a new garbage disposal. That would have been at least another $150 more.

In the end:

Rock Tumbler: $3
Steel Shot for said tumbler: $24
Plumbing bill for steel shot in disposal: $120
Look on my husband's face when the plumber handed him what was stuck in the disposal: priceless.


  1. miznyc said...
    oops! well you've given me the idea to try an obtain a free tumbler on freecycle. that way, if I have your kind of trouble, at least I saved t3 bucks! ;)
    Pudleduk said...
    Oh man, I had similiar drain experience with my husband but beeswax instead of steel. I know the look you are talking about. Great read! Thanks!
    Anonymous said...
    I use my colander for my stainless steel shot, but first I line my colander with a big coffee filter, then fill it up with just a squirt of regular dawn dish liquid and some water. Swish it around and you have clean shot.
    I've read that if your jewelry isn't coming out of the tumbler as shiny as it used to that means your shot is dirty. They claim using 1 part vinegar and one part water in your shot and tumble for an hour or two. I've done this. I think it made a difference.
    I've also chased shot across the kitchen, it's too expensive for one little piece to get away.
    Anonymous said...
    Nice brightness of this and look like great.

    jewelry exporters

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