Cleaning Blackened Stainless

MrDeranged

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@steampunkgarage Oh mighty mistress of blackened stainless, how does one go about cleaning it for use? I just bought a rotary tumbler from harbor freight, but I don't remember if I just throw the rings in there with some water and some dawn, or if I have to actually use stainless (or some other kind of) shot.

TIA
 

Stormy

New Member
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I am thinking about using colored metals for the first time. I usually use BA or copper. I would think that using the ss shot would take off any color or coating. Thanks for asking!
 

SturmLQ

New Member
My curiosity gives me pause to ask, why clean blacked steel? Seems that if you truly tried to clean it then you would no longer have blackened steel.
 

MrDeranged

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My curiosity gives me pause to ask, why clean blacked steel? Seems that if you truly tried to clean it then you would no longer have blackened steel.

Therein lay the problem. The blackened stainless was more grimy/dirty than blackened and I wanted them to look more like the blackened stainless that comes with the kits from @steampunkgarage. The first batch that I tried to clean came out so clean that it wasn't blackened anymore. The second batch I think I did much better with. :)
 

madd_vyking

New Member
I assume you got your blackened stainless from TRL? (I think they are the only folks that sell it....(?) ) There is some info on their blackened stainless page about cleaning... and the differences between saw cut and machine cut. Something to do with the manufacturing process makes the coating on saw cut not nearly as consistent or durable, so tumble at your own risk (I tumble it with shot and water, but no soap, and for a very short period of time--like a half hour, just to clean it up a bit.) Machine cut can safely be tumbled with shot and a drop of Dawn for hours and hours, and it works just fine. Stuff looks great, and holds up.
 

MrDeranged

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Yeah, I tried machine cut 16g 5/16" with just soap & water for about 3 hrs and they were stripped pretty much clean. I'll post some pics when I get home.
 

Jodey Hathaway

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This is the most updated note on the blackened stainless on TRL's website:
"Please note: Washing these rings will remove the oil layer that makes these rings a darker black. This can turn your rings grey or even back to a stainless color. This is not a quality defect.
Also note: These rings can be polished to a nice hematite with a DRY tumble. DO NOT wet tumble as this is washing. DO NOT tumble agressively with steel shot as this is burnishing not tumbling."

NOTE that it says to DRY TUMBLE, not wet tumble. Wet tumbling is the same thing as washing the rings, which can strip the blackening off. Suggest that you try a few rings from every batch you get in whatever method you use to determine whether the blackening on that batch will work with your method. That way if your preferred method strips the blackening you've only lost a few rings, not the entire batch.
 

MrDeranged

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@Jodey Hathaway Thanks for that information. I never thought it was a quality defect, just thought I tumbled for too long. The 16g 3/16" that I wet tumbled with soap came out just fine after about a 1/2 hour of tumbling. :)

If steel shot is not recommended, what is recommended for a dry tumble? Walnut shell, or is steel shot fine, just not for an excessively long period of time?
 

steampunkgarage

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Stainless is its own medium. We tumble for 10-12 hours with a drop of Palmolive and some water. For OUR water here in the Bay Area, we find Palmolive works WAY better than Dawn. So definitely try different detergents and see what works best with your local water.
 
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