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Rock Tumbler~ My journey

Updated on June 22, 2017
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I love the beach and I have walk miles and miles collecting shells and stones. I love to create one of a kind pendants with my finds.

How it all came about

I have an obsession with collecting rocks for as long as I could remember and not just any rocks.They have to be different in color, shape or they just have to stand out in the sea of rocks. I have always wanted a rock tumbler but never got around to purchasing one. For Christmas my hubby got me one and I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I started my 1st set and I was in amazement on the process and what they looked like after each cycle and of course the final product. So I thought I would share the process of my next adventure and some helpful hint I discovered. So here goes nothing and I hope you find it interesting.

My Tumbler

The Tumbler is 3 lbs. It is small and a little noisy. I just put a plastic crate on top of it and cover it with a beach towel at night to muffle the noise. Make sure to purchase the accessories (the different grit s that to be added to the rocks) it is not included.

Rock Tumbler
Rock Tumbler

Rocks

You need to have enough to fill the drum about 1/2 to 3/4. I had no problem since I have collected for years. Yes I have assorted glass jars filled.

Rocks that I started with

Rocks Before
Rocks Before
Rocks before
Rocks before

Rocks after Grit 1

Source

Step 2

Have you ever heard the saying:

Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat......

Well the same goes for the tumbling process. The only difference for each step is the grit you are using and how much grit goes in. The bags are marked to what is inside. Always follow the direction that came with your tumbler on how much grit you should use. The days vary on how long each step should be tumbled and how often you should check that step. If you feel that the rocks look like you want them to or you think maybe you should tumble a little longer that is up to you. The most important thing that you need to do is clean the rocks after every step except the last step.

Rocks after Grit 2

Observation

I noticed that if the rocks are to small the process makes them very tiny. Remember while you are choosing what rocks you want to tumble that it help for them to be different sizes. After the 1st step check each rock individuality that each rock is smooth with no cracks or pointy edges.

Rocks after Pre Polished

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pre-PolishPre-PolishPre-Polish
Pre-Polish
Pre-Polish
Pre-Polish
Pre-Polish
Pre-Polish
Pre-Polish

Patience

Each step you have to have a little patience. Which I have been told do not have. The last step was the hardest. I keep checking them and every time they were not ready. About have way through I added plastic pellets and that seem to help. So below is my final results and it is amazing how some dirty old rocks can be beautiful. I am in Awe.

Final Polish

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Helpful information

After every step run rocks through a quick cleaning tumble. Put rocks into drum and cover rocks with water. Add 2 Tablespoons of Borax (Can be purchase by the laundry soap it is with the powder ones). Let run for 1 hour. This will clean anything left on rocks and you can start the next step with clean rocks. Do not do this step after the final step.

Supplies I think can help

Net
Net

Saving Grit

I save the grit and water after every step in glass jars with lids. If you notice in the photos below the grit settles to the bottom and the rises to the top. When I am ready to reuse the grit I dump out the water. Keep the water with the grit until you are ready to use again. Otherwise the grit will get hard and it will not be able to be reused.

A Brilliant Idea

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after UseA Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after Use
A Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after Use
A Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after Use
A Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after Use
A Brilliant Idea.... Storing Grits after Use

© 2015 Shelli Godinho

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