Tumble Polishing taught by Don Norris Silversmithing for jewelry making.
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This video teaches everything you need to know about tumble polishing, as an alternative to buffing. It really is not “polishing” where metal is actually removed with buffing compounds on buffing wheels. Instead, it is actually “burnishing” where small steel shot, pins, balls, and other shapes are used in a rock tumbler by pounding, or hammering the surface of jewelry pieces smooth and shiny. Pieces will be pretty and shiny, but if they are put next to a polished piece, they will not look as good. At least 60% of what Don Norris has sold over the past fifty years Don has used tumble polishing, but this was for cast pieces and inexpensive pieces that did not demand the time to hand polish them. Don learned how to use the tumbler from his mentor, Earl, about 50 years ago. He showed Don the steel shot and Don asked him where to get it and he replied, “Go to work for Boeing Aircraft and steal it, like I did”. He did not want a job, so Don called them and they gave him their supplier. It was an industrial process for small air and auto parts. He had to purchase 100 pounds and lived in Denver, Colorado where there were over 10 jewelry making supply houses. He divided it up and sold it to each one, but had to teach them how to use the process. They taught all their customers and there were hundreds of them in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona that came to Denver for their supplies. At the time, Don was teaching 50 students every five weeks. Anyway Don introduced tumble polishing to the jewelry trade.