Finishing Suggestions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by tyskkvinna posted 04-30-2015 12:54 PM 1266 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3185 days

04-30-2015 12:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all,

I am currently doing some large batches of wood that I have run through a tumbler. It’s all really small – think earrings, necklaces, that kind of stuff. Right now I am finishing them by laying them flat, spraying with lacquer, waiting, turning them, lacquer, etc. This is rather time consuming (Though I can do 100-200 at a time) and not terribly even. I am looking for suggestions of a finish I can do inside of the tumbler. I tried a few oil & wax type finishes—butcher block oil, beeswax, danish oil, etc—and it works out “okay”, but the finish is not particularly shiny and most important, I cannot glue anything to it.

I would like to try a finish in the tumbler (I have two, so I can dedicate one to this phase) or something that is a bit different than laying them flat and spraying. You all are pretty creative, so maybe somebody will have an idea. I MUST be able to glue things to it when it is done.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

9 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3184 days

#1 posted 04-30-2015 01:12 PM

This all sounds like stuff with holes in it. Could you do a dip finish in something like shellac? That would get you back up and going quickly and can be plenty shiny if you want.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View bondogaposis's profile


5088 posts in 2551 days

#2 posted 04-30-2015 01:13 PM

You may be asking too much. I don’t know of any glue that holds well after finish has been applied. Maybe cyanoacrylate glue?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2516 days

#3 posted 04-30-2015 02:33 PM

You’re asking a tough question and there are answers out there. I’ve looked into this myself. The short answer is that it’s possible and there are companies that make special finishes for this process but they’re industrial scale companies.

Up to now, the best success I’ve had is with oil-based, slow-dry, wiping type finishes and wood block filler media. Film type finishes don’t seem to work because as they dry, they produce, flakes which contaminate everything. Le Tonkinois is the finish I’ve used but you need a heat source to get it to cure faster than the normal 8-hour period. It’s non-flammable however.

What I’d suggest though, is moving to a dipping process then using the tumbler to polish the finish. It’s the next thing I’d be trying if I were to continue my research.

-- See my work at and

View kimosawboy's profile


171 posts in 3170 days

#4 posted 04-30-2015 02:34 PM

I’m not sure what you mean by tumbler, I think of the old ’’rock ’’ tumblers….?? Anyways do you have any type of media in with the wood you are tumbling Perhaps tossing in a very fine sand??
Just a thought!
G Vavra

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3185 days

#5 posted 04-30-2015 03:32 PM

I can’t dip (i.e. hang by the holes) because there are no holes in the things I am making. I don’t mind something kind of industrial..

The glue sticks great to Lacquer right now.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2516 days

#6 posted 04-30-2015 11:21 PM

The problem with industrial scale companies is getting them to talk to you. Unless you’ve got tens of thousands to invest, most of them won’t have equipment suitable for your needs. For what it’s worth, the links I’ve uncovered are below.

Rotover: This is the company that uses some sort of tumble spray process to do bulk parts.

Kramer Industries: This company sells tumblers and media but didn't see anything about finish tumbling

Article on tumble spraying

Rotomat tumbling system

More on the Rotomat

Whitford Industrial Coatings Guide

That’s about as much information as I have. Hope you can get somewhere with that to find something useful for the scale of work you’re doing.

That document on the Rotomat gives a good overview of how other companies are tackling the issue.

-- See my work at and

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3583 days

#7 posted 05-01-2015 12:46 AM

I remembered a project on here where someone had already done this. He used a rag dipped in polyurethane that he put in the tumbler with the beads. Knowing it was done before was half the battle. The other half was finding it in a search. Hahaha.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1920 days

#8 posted 05-01-2015 01:05 AM

Not sure about a glue that would stick to a slick gloss finish, but I do know if you’re wanting to tumble a finish you might look into powdered carnuba wax. It’s used on jawbreakers and jelly beans so it’s certainly safe but it would be very difficult to get anything to stick to it.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1882 days

#9 posted 05-01-2015 03:10 PM

You’ve probably already considered it, but can you glue your things to your small bits, mask off the part that doesn’t get finish, hang from the masked off part, then spray?

The rag with poly in the tumbler seems like a good idea too.

-- Jesse Felling -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics