Magnetic Polishers

A magnetic polisher is good way to go if you have a lot of polishing to do on a regular basis because it is very easy to use and one of the quickest ways to get a high polish on a piece of metal jewelry. It does cost a good deal more than a rock tumbler, but the cost is offset to some extent because it takes a lot less time and little maintenance is required for the machine.

Like the rock tumbler, you'll need to add clean stainless steel shot, water, soap, and your jewelry to the plastic container that sits on top of the magnetic part of the machine. I also sometimes add a little lemon ammonia as well if I'm trying to get a really high shine on something. If you look at Figure 5.27, you'll see the shot and water in the polishing container. This is the shot I use and it is very fine, made with tiny little steel pins, so it gets really good coverage on small, detailed jewelry items.

Figure 5.27

A magnetic polisher is a quick way to polish metal jewelry pieces.

Figure 5.27

A magnetic polisher is a quick way to polish metal jewelry pieces.

For the smaller magnetic tumblers (which is what I have), about three to four average-size jewelry items can be polished at a time. If the pieces are really small, for example some of the extra small metal clay star-shaped charms I made for projects in this book, then I might put as many as six pieces in it. After you have the plastic container loaded, set it on top of the base. You will feel the metal shot pull towards the base because of the magnets. Then turn the knob on the front of the machine (refer to Figure 5.28) to the time you want it to run, put on the lid, and flip the red switch to start it up. Normally, it will take about 20 minutes to clean three to four jewelry pieces. If you just have one jewelry piece, it can take as little as 10 minutes. When the tumbler is running, do not open the lid to the container. Otherwise, you'll have soapy water and shot and jewelry all over the place. It is kind of like a blender that way. As the timer ticks away, everything inside the plastic container swirls around.

In a similar fashion to the rock tumbler, the magnetic tumbler needs to have clean shot. If the shot is not clean or the tumbler is over-filled with jewelry, it can cause the jewelry pieces to become a dark dull rather than shiny bright color. If this happens, don't worry. Just empty out the container and clean the shot as described previously. Then fill it back up with clean shot, water, soap, and just a few of the jewelry items this time and start over.

Figure 5.28

The timer and "on" switch for the machine are on the front of its base.

Figure 5.28

The timer and "on" switch for the machine are on the front of its base.

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