Instructions for Using Hi-Lo Tumbling Media
Hi-Lo tumbling media is a product made of silicon carbide and ceramic that is designed to be used with patina. It is great for burnishing and creating a satiny finish on high-relief areas while leaving recessed areas dark, which highlights the details of patterns and adds dimension. However, when using this media on silver-plated items, be aware that tumbling for too long can remove some of the plating. Additionally, never tumble any work that contains stones, gems, pearls, beads, or other embellishments.
To begin, color your pieces using any desired method of patina, such as Liver of Sulfur. Allow them to sit in the solution until they reach a level of darkness that you prefer, and then rinse them well. Next, fill your three-pound rotary tumbler barrel 1/3 to ½ full of Hi-Lo media, but do not overload the barrel. One pound of media is more than enough for a three-pound barrel. After adding your pieces, add ¼ – ½ tsp of 920 Compound and enough water to cover everything. Tumble until you achieve the desired result. Usually, 2 hours is enough, but you can go longer if needed. Once finished, rinse the media in a strainer and dry it on a towel. It is essential not to discard worn media down the drain, no matter how small it is.
If you want to add more shine to the matte finish created by the Hi-Lo media, you can tumble your pieces for an additional 20 minutes with stainless steel shot and some additional 920 compound. However, make sure to clean the tumbler barrel thoroughly before adding in the stainless steel shot, as the Hi-Lo media can damage its surface. Also, never use both types of media in the same barrel at the same time.
Finally, keep in mind that Hi-Lo tumbling media is consumable and will wear down over time. Hence, you can add new pieces as necessary. The lifespan of the media depends on how much work you do. The good news is that Hi-Lo contains no dangerous ingredients; therefore, no MSDS is required.$30.00$30.00
For a shiny finish on your silver plate and sterling flatware, use this polishing/burnishing compound. It works best with stainless steel jewelers shot in a rotary tumbler, and also produces great results on gold, brass, copper, zinc, and aluminum.
It’s important to note that reusing the water in your tumbler can actually harm your jewelry’s shine. Dirt particles can accumulate in the water and leave small scratches on your pieces. Therefore, we recommend discarding the water once it becomes dirty.
To use this compound, mix 1/4-1/2 tsp of the powdered 920 compound with 2 pounds of stainless steel shot, 20 rings, and enough water to cover everything by 1/2″. Tumble for 20 minutes to 2 hours, then discard the water. If you have a larger tumbler, adjust the amount of 920 accordingly.
After use, rinse out the shot and lay it out on a towel to dry. If you use the tumbler frequently, you can rinse the shot and cover it with fresh water until the next time it’s needed.
It’s important to remember that using clean water each time is crucial for maintaining your jewelry’s shine. The cost per batch is minimal, and reusing dirty water can negatively affect your jewelry’s appearance. Don’t treat your beautiful pieces like dirty laundry or dishes. Use fresh water each time to keep them looking their best.
I found a helpful video by Mark Nelson of Rio Grande that explains the basics of tumbling. In the video, he uses the Super Sunsheen burnishing compound and also has a box of the 920 compound on the table. According to him, the 920 compound is just as effective as the Super Sunsheen.$10.00
For those looking to polish their jewelry, we recommend this small-sized media mix which includes 1/8″ Stainless Steel Diagonals, 1/8″ Stainless Steel Balcones, and 1/8″ Stainless Steel Balls. 304 stainless steel tumbling media is rust and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for use with strong compounds during wet tumbling. The abrasion resistance of stainless steel media is 3-5 times greater compared to cast steel media. Proper storage ensures that the stainless steel media can be used indefinitely. After use, strain the media using a fine mesh strainer, then lay the pieces out on a dry towel and pat dry with another towel. Let them air dry in a dry, sunny area before storing. Some customers prefer to store them submerged in water.
You can polish up to 20 rings or bracelet sections in a 3 lb capacity tumbler. We recommend 2 pounds of stainless steel shot, 1/2 tsp 920 compound, and enough water to cover everything. Tumble for 1/2 hour to 2 hours. We highly recommend the DuraBull clear barrel tumbler, which is featured in a tutorial video from RioGrande.
If you own the HUGE Frankfort Arsenal tumbler and desire a bright, shiny finish, replace their pin shot with 5 pounds of our jeweler mix. The pin shot creates a satin/brushed finish.$23.00