25/10/2011

Tumbling small beads

Someone gave me some old necklaces a while back that I hadn't used for anything else. Most of the beads were damaged but they had some nice bead caps and small metal spacers that I could reuse so I took them apart. As would be expected from used jewelry, these small metal items were rather dirty and oxidized so I decided to clean them in the tumbler. It worked fine and a couple of hours later I had clean shiny metal beads and caps.

The only trouble was separating the beads from the steel shot since they wer pretty much the same size and some even a similar color. After rinsing, I picked out the ones on top and then spread out the contents of the tumbler onto a frisbee (my favorite tray for small items since the rounded edges make it very easy to remove even the tiniest beads or jump rings) and picked out all the beads I could see. When I couldn't find any more I picked up a spoonful of steel shot at a time, examined it carefully and when I was absolutely sure there were no beads in it, tossed it back into the tumbler. It took a while but I found the last few beads and after adding water and some barrelbrite to the shot to keep it from rusting, I was finally done.

In the end it was worth it because some of the tiny beads look brand new and will come in handy, I'm sure.

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