Recently a new chainmailler asked about using a tumbler to clean and polish rings. A tumbler either spins (rotary) or vibrates with some kind of polishing medium, such as stainless steel shot and a cleaning solution. I'd had the same question when I started, because some of the metals I use tarnish or patina over time when exposed to the air. A friend and experienced mailler had recommended to me the inexpensive tumbler above to start with. It's under $50 and easy to use. She also recommended washing copper and brass pieces in ketchup, letting them soak for a while and "smooshing" it all around before washing with detergent and rinsing. Before I was ready to invest in the tumbler, I tried the ketchup bath, and it worked. So did lemon juice and vinegar. Tumbling can produce a "like new" shine, and it's great for "hardening" metal with the rotary action, but most of the time I go for the low-tech option and for touch-ups, a little ketchup bath works fine.
Hi, I'm Hannah Medrow
I spend most of my time weaving metal rings, working with metal or thinking about working with metal. I'm also an occasional activist. I have strong opinions about a lot of things, but mostly I like to share information. Hopefully I will be able to share useful information here. Feel free to chime in if you have something to share.