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I've got walnut media stuck in me nooks n' crannies!!!

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So I'm new to tumbling, just got my tumbler a little less than a month ago. Been using stainless mixed shot (with the blue Dawn, of course!!), to work my way through tons of old stock with fabulous results.

Just finished a pair of matching his/hers rings in fine silver and black niobium. I tumbled/polished/whatever the silver rings before assembly, bringing them to an ultra shine. Made the rings, and proceeded to tumble them in walnut media overnight. (First time working with the blackened niobium--from what I'd read, it wouldn't stand up to tumbling in stainless so well, and TRL advertises that the final part of the creation process of the blackened niobium is a polish with walnut shell. So I figure this is the way to go with my finished project.) It is also my first time tumbling anything with the walnut shell--thus far I hadn't attempted to put a shine on anything that stainless shouldn't have worked with.

So the pieces come out looking swell. Really nice. My problem is the walnut has worked it's way into every little crevice of the rings, and they are a fairly tight E 6-1 weave. Run them under water to rinse, some comes out. Scrub a little with a toothbrush, a little more comes out. Drop them repeatedly on the countertop, still more comes out. Flex them, play with them, put them on, take them off--still more and more and more comes out. But there is still stubborn little bits of this stuff stuck up in the nooks n' crannies. Have tried toothpicks to wedge it out--reluctant to use metal dental pick tools I use during other processes for fear of scratching the work. I am still stuck with tiny bits of this stuff I just can't seem to remove, not a lot, but ANY is too much. Thought of trying compressed air, but I don't have a compressor, I'd have to buy the little cans of it you use to clean your computer. Maybe I should try the vacuum cleaner tomorrow?

Is this a problem anyone else has faced, and what did you do to fix it? If this is common to this type of media, I don't want to deal with it, I may have a 10# bag of walnut for sale. Maybe I should stick with rice in this situation--or am I likely to wind up with the same problem? Any advice, please?!..

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I use a precision pick to poke out the pieces. Got it them at Home depot, for 5 or 10 dollars. They're useful to hold rings or chains, or split rings, like when doing byzantine.

Couldn't find the exact tools, but they're similar to this, but with narrower yellow handles instead.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ecodZ5yc1v/R-202857974/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=precision+pick+set&storeId=10051

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Yeah...I use those kind of picks all the time, just in this situation I'm afraid I'm apt to scratch the surfaces of the things I just polished, that's why I was trying wooden toothpicks, but they're not really sturdy enough--the tips keep breaking. Something pointy, but plastic might work...hmm?

"dental picks"--very handy most times

post-6814-0-61342200-1333721476_thumb.jpg

...think I'll look into buying a compressed air can today.

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If you go with the compressed air solution and use the cans of compressed air, be careful... I use that stuff all the time at work and it has two features that are not fun. 1) if you shake the can while using it, the liquid form of the contents comes out. not fun if it hits your skin and freezes a little patch of flesh. 2) and the most annoying is that they have started adding a "bitterant" into them to keep people from "misusing" the contents. This bitterant is annoying because it gets on EVERYTHING. I have washed it off my hands and forget that it is all in my beard and mustache. My next meal or drink is EXTREMELY bitter. Not an idea killer, but you would need to clean up thoroughly when finished with the canned air.

However if you have puppies that are chewing on things they should not chew on,, this bitterant keeps them from chewing.

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Canisunis-- Thanks, I will take those points to heart before using. The stuff cleans up with regular soap and water?

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yeah,, cleans up easily with soap and water. Finding your flavor saver saved this flavor for you is not a good thing.

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I tend to get walnut stuck in my Beez to Butterflies bracelet, and flexing it will get most out...after a while. With regards to plastic, have you tried pick up sticks, or something along those lines, it might be rigid enough. Also, wood skewers for kabobs might work, depending on what size rings you used...they might be too big though.

Edit~ Thought about it more, and I'm not sure you can get "pick up sticks" with pointy edges anymore. I think the set that I got for my niece was rounded.

Edited by Zolsta

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I toss mine in a pillowcase and put it in the dryer (no heat) for a few minutes. Seems to get rid of the walnut. Flexing it has worked for me as well.

For those looking for walnut shell, Princess Auto sells 50lb bags for about $30.00.

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Yeah, with the water, I realized after I found all the gunk stuck in there I shouldn't have got it wet first. But I had some idea I'd just pull it out of the tumbler, rinse it quickly and things would be happy. I had some vision of the walnut media being much more random and consisting of mostly larger sized bits than it was. It's practically the consistency of cous cous. Hard little bits up in everything.

Actually, those little plastic dental picks are exactly what I wound up using, sorry my wife beat ya'll to the idea, she keeps them stashed in her car also (weird?). Surprisingly labor intensive, it probably took me a half hour to clean out both rings completely. And really a surprise. Was this normal? If so, I don't think I'll use it again on any sort of micro-maille, though it seems to do a good job--I'll stick with larger items in it.

Maybe some kind of large grained rice instead. I've read that walnut shell is someplace between 3-4 on the Mohs hardness scale. Anybody have any idea of the relative hardness of rice? Or maybe there is a finer grained stuff--heard talk of flour, could maybe try cornmeal, or some other grain?

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I would think if you want a fine grade of walnut shell. Why not just toss a few handfulls in a coffee grinder or spice grinder? Then sift it through a mesh like window screen to keep the big peices out . Before you put it in your polisher ?

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I am thinking that a finer grade would result in more nooks and grannies problems not less, you know smaller size easier access to all the little places?

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I am thinking that a finer grade would result in more nooks and grannies problems not less, you know smaller size easier access to all the little places?

Yeah, kinda sounds counter intuitive at first-- but if the media were small enough-- like flour, cornmeal, or poppy seed size I think (a dangerous thing to do, I know...), it might actually blow out pretty easily with a brushing or puff of compressed air. Big grains of rice--like arborio, maybe, might also be the way to go--as long as they don't break up into pieces as they tumble.

I guess it may take a little experimenting...

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I would think flour would just leave a powdery residue and dull film, which is why you are tumbling to start with, poppy seeds would be expensive for use a tumbling media. but in the vein of cornmeal, what about the ground corn cob stuff they sell in garden center?

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Rice can break down in a tumbler as well and give you little stuck pieces, just not as many as walnut will. Corn cob works good on stainless, might be a bit abrasive for fine silver and black niobium.

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Cali---I'm sorry, I was kind of thinking about the walnut media, maybe to be ground up finer than it came in a coffee grinder, more like cornmeal or poppy seed sized pieces (flour size sounded good when I first said it but definitely on second thought, not.)

I don't think I'll put too much more micro-maille in with the walnut after it's made again. I like the stainless shot, seems to work on everything that's 'solid' very well. Think if I do much more work with 'coated' type materials, I may pre-tumble with the walnut, maybe, then try just a quick tumble (15-30 min) with stainless, etc. to clean 'em up a bit after making whatever it is I'm making. Stick with larger sized finished pieces in the walnut. Or maybe just resolve myself to the fact that cleaning the media out of the tight spots is just part of the process.

Sithus--any info on the relative hardness of corn cob? Harder than, or softer, would you think, than the walnut shell? also, disheartening to hear that the rice will break down, but not altogether surprising...

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Flour is not as bad as you might think. It cleans well out of pieces well.

I have a two barrel Lortone rotary, one drum with rice and flour and the other I run just water. A few hours in rice and flour, half the time in water and all is clean.

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