Tumble finishing, also known as tumbling or rumbling, rotary finishing, barreling, or barrel finishing, is a technique for smoothing and polishing a rough surface on relatively small metal shapes and jewellery.

The easiest way to finish your metal clay (which requires minimal elbow grease), is to use a tumbler with mixed shape steel shot, water and a burnishing fluid. Just brush your pieces quickly after firing, pop them in, and tumble for anything between 30 minutes to 6 hours, depending on your tumbler. Check your pieces every 30 minutes or so to see if you have reached the shine you are after. Done. Couldn't be easier!

Silver jewellery is usually polished using stainless steel shot and water, a little bit of barrelling compound/barreling soap is added to speed up the finishing process, prevent rusting, and to keep your shot clean.
Tumbling is a fast and economical finishing process as large batches can be finished in one go, whilst you do something else! Barrel polishing takes between 30 minutes and 6-10 hours depending on what you're doing, what media you use, and which tumbler you choose.

Tumbling is usually most efficient with the barrel half or three-quarters full.

Whilst we mainly use our tumblers for polishing silver, they can also be used for rock polishing, making faux-beach glass, and polishing other metals. For these techniques you might need to change the media you tumble with - for instance, whilst you use stainless steel shot for silver, you would use abrasive grit for tumbling stones. We sell these in starter kits and complete kits with everything you need to gets started with stone polishing.
If you have any questions at all or are searching for a specific tool or product - please feel free to give us a call at 01929 554771 or email
Happy Making!
The Metal Clay Team x
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