Every once in a while I come across a bad section of wire. Something went wrong at the wire mill, resulting in a few inches (or a few feet!) of wire that coils poorly. It cracks and shreds and throws out wire whiskers. Not OK.
Luckily, bad wire is rare. We toss the affected coil(s) in the scrap bin and charge merrily ahead. But this time? This time we were filling an order for 6.25M14jb rings, and the 14ga brass wire hit a horrible, horrible section – the worst I’ve ever seen. We swapped to a huge mandrel (40/64″ AKA 5/8″) to burn through the bad section. Many coils later, the 14ga brass was back to normal, and I was hesitant about scrapping so much metal.
What the heck? Why not see if I can resuscitate these rings?
For two days I tumbled these rings with assorted grits of abrasive media. Once the surface was smooth enough, a few hours with steel shot restored their shine. And I have to say, I’m really pleased at how they came out. The experiment was a complete success
and these rings are now available for adoption in bags of 4 troy ounces – 50% off!
Update: Thank you to everyone who adopted these rescue rings. I’m so happy that they found good homes instead of heading to the scrap bin!
Sandy Osborn says
I think my dear friend, Ruth Mary Pollack from New Hampshire, used to converse with and purchase jump rings from you….she used to rave about the quality and the excellent advice about cleaning metal….silver. Perhaps you might be able to help me with cleaning some brass pieces (window latch parts).
I have a very large industrial tumbler…two 10” barrels and a smaller tumbler two 5” barrels that i use for my silver jewelry. I have also got ceramic medium and steel shot. My question is what liquid do you use with the tumbling medium for cleaning the brass…and can i use the same stainless shot i use for my silver jewelry…or will it mess up the inside of my tumblers and the medium? i know brass seems a bit greasy…and i dont want to create a mess for myself with my silver jewelry. i think the ceramic medium in the large tumbler might be where i begin….this all seems easier than trying to clean a dozen window latches on a buffing wheel…i would love some good advice on how to proceed. thanks, Sandy Osborn
Let me put your mind at ease – brass will be completely fine in your silver-worthy tumbler. The main thing you’ll probably want to do with brass is polish off the tarnish. For that, a little bit of distilled vinegar (just a little bit!) in the tumbler water will do wonders. Brass isn’t “greasy” all on its own, but if it does pick up oil from somewhere, you can either hand wash it with a bit of dish soap before tumbling or else put something in the water that will cut oil – I’m fond of Simple Green (from the hardware store).
Honestly though, whatever you normally do for your silver will 99.9% certain be totally fine for the brass. It shouldn’t leave anything gross on the media or on the inside of your tumbler.
The only thing I’d caution is to make sure that your window latches are solid brass. If they’re plated pot metal, then all bets are off…
Ooh! And if there’s any gunky gunk on them, you could run them through the dishwasher before tossing them in the tumbler!
(I’m so rude to my metal, I really am. But it all seems to work out in the end!)
Just in case you haven’t already seen it, here’s my post on tumblers: