Jul 172006

Another tip on tumbling…watch out with long chains! They do require extra care.

When I tumbled my latest work, I was a little concerned about the chain tangling. I had done the larger necklace with the glass pendant, but also had a more delicate version (with 20g wire) that I wanted tumbled as well. I was a bit nervous about the chain I’d attached, but unlike the other version, it wasn’t detachable.

A fellow member of the Bead and Button community forum suggested I use bread ties (the plastic covered ones) to hold the chain together. Russ Nobbs, of Rings N Things, suggested I try wrapping the chain around a hard piece of plastic. Having neither bread ties or a piece of plastic, I decided to try using some scrap wire and the first method (I’ll try Russ’s method the next time).

I wired the chain every couple of links and twisted the ends of the wire together. Muttering a prayer to the tumbling gods, I dropped my necklace in the tumbler and turned it on.

About 30 minutes later, I pulled my necklace out. It was incredibly shiny, the wire was hard, and…..

…it was a ball of tangled mess. I almost cried – there’s not much I hate more than untangling chain (my husband and son love those tavern puzzles – I hate them and I think it’s the same concept) – but I gritted my teeth, put on my glasses, and started in.

Amazingly enough, once I located the wire “ties” and loosened them, the tangles seemed to come undone almost by themselves. Yes, the tangle still stole about 15 minutes of my life that I will never get back, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, and certainly nowhere near as bad as it would have been had I not used the wire ties.

Next time, I’m trying the “wrap around a piece of hard plastic” method…I can’t imagine that it would tangle at all doing that, which would suit me just fine. In the meantime, if you are tumbling chain, be sure to take those extra precautions. 😉

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