Tumbling Tutorial

You can hand polish jewelry but that's too tedious. Using a tumbler not only polishes, it also deburs and work hardens the metal.

There are actually two types of tumblers 1. rotary and 2. vibrational.

Rotary tumblers like our Lortone are cheaper, quieter and don't need supervision.

The vibrational ones tend to "walk" when in use but they do give faster results

However, if you are wanting one for jewellery or metal rather than rocks, I would recommend you get a rotary tumbler.


What you need:

3lb Tumbler

between 1/2 and 1 lb of stainless steel shot

Teaspoon of Burnishing Soap




1. Plug in your tumbler and turn it on this helps warm up machine

2. Prewash any new or dirty shot  in the tumbler for 20-30 minute to clean of any dirt or grease before using

If your using a mixed shot we recommend you take out any sharp pins especially if tumbling aluminum of any other soft material

The weight of shot needed will vary from tumbler to tumbler

3. add all blanks you wish to tumble 

4.  add water to 3/4 of the barrel ensuring plenty of room for movement

5. add 1 teaspoon of soap and put lid back on

insure lid and top of barrel is dry before closing /sealing lid.

WARNING: The weight of the entire barrel should not exceed 3lb otherwise you run the risk of over working your motor on your tumbler

if weight is fine continue...

if weight is not fine remove some shot or pieces out of the barrel and re-weight.

6. add barrel to machine

7. turn on and leave for 30-60minutes and check contents 

anything over 1 hour will work harden your pieces only, if your pieces are no different to when they went in and dont seem to have polished try ...

1. removing some shot until you see a difference in the quality of the finnish

2. changing the water 

3. removing the amount of blanks, maybe there is to many and not getting the movement needed

if all fails and still items are not polishing right...

1. pay close attention to the tumbler and ensure its moving freely and turning regular ensuring the fault is not machine.


2. pay close attention to the material itself some materials will polish up lovely,it could be that the fault is down to the material your trying to tumble.

(some metals have a matt finnish so wont give you that mirror finnish that tumbling brings out.)

Once your happy with the blanks and you have the measurements right for your tumbler, we suggest you record down the final weight of shot used for future use or keep it stored separately

8. Drain the contents of the barrel into a sieve and rinse

Ensuring the holes are smaller than the shot, so you do not lose any

9. Rinse and dry thoroughly

once dried, the shot can be put aside in a dry airlock container til needed again

10. Items are finished and you can now use them in your makes 



PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to debur first, simply swap the stainless steel shot for deburring media (usually green small pyramid shapes) instead and follow the tutorial.


if your using the tutorial for metal stamping blanks, please remember 

you ... 1.debur (with media) ... then ... 2.stamp ... then ... 3.polish (with shot) ... to finnish




Tumbling Dos and Don'ts

  • Do make sure the shot is rinsed and dried well after use. Store in a dry place. Lock tight containers are very handy to store shot in.
  • Do change the water often! There is a minimal amount of water used so if there is a lot of dirt, the water can only hold so much.
  • Don't tumble more than one chain or necklace at a time. You don't want to spend the next several hours untangling.
  • Don't tumble plated or coated metal or risk losing the plating itself.
  • Dont Tumble jewellery with stones especially if you don't know how delicate the stones are.