I'm having a small problem that I thought I'd share here in the hopes that someone can help me find a solution. When I make my fine silver on steel pieces, I use a process called fusing to adhere the silver to the steel. (For all you non-metalsmiths, this means I heat the metal with a torch and melt it together.) The nature of the process is that some of the drops are permanently affixed, and some, well, aren't.
I then go through a number of steps to knock off the loose drops before I sell them. I bang the pieces around on the table before I put them in the pickle. After the pickle, I tumble them. Then, when I'm doing the final finishing by hand, I try and knock off any that still seem loose.
But even with all that, it seems like I'm having a number of pieces sent back lately because the drops are falling off, particularly rings. What should I do? I don't want to stop making the line, because its very popular (and I really like it as well) but I can't have pieces coming back all the time. Should I tumble longer? Should I tumble with a harder material? (Right now I'm using plastic media because I want a matte finish - perhaps I should use steel shot.) I considered throwing a few rocks in with the media, to give the pieces something heavier to bang around with. (This will probably be my next attempt.) But I would love any other suggestions. Help!