Rock Tumbler Supplies: 10 Quick Tips
1. The chief thing to consider when buying a rock tumbler is to know what size you want. Proper grits and polishes won't get you far if you decide you want to polish more and overload your tumbler. Broken belts and burnt motors await.
2. Rock tumbling grit and polish work similar to sand paper. You want to start with a rougher, larger grit with coarse rocks to get the polishing going. Progressively move to finer grits until you get the shine or polish you desire.
3. Specifically, rock tumbling grit is sand-like particles of silicon carbide. Since it is so much harder than rock, when tumbled with rock it makes tiny scratches and slowly wears down edges and rough surfaces.
4. Your grit options will be labeled with numbers such as 60, 90, 120, 220 and 500. These refer to the mesh screen holes that the grit will pass through. Larger numbers indicate tighter mesh- hence, smaller, finer grit.
5. Consult a grit chart that advises you on how much grit to include for the size of your tumbling barrels. The numbers are rough guides, but provide a nice starting point until you become familiar with your tumbler.
6. Plastic pellets can be used for cushioning if you don't have enough rocks to fill your tumbling barrel to the recommended volume. Usually this is around half to 3/4 full, at least.
7. Additional steps for polishing and burnishing involve different materials such as aluminum oxide for a bright shine and then soap for even more sparkle.
8. The soap recommended for burnishing is not specific to rock polishing. Simply grate or shave off an appropriate amount of bar soap for your quantity of rocks. Don't use abrasive soaps or liquids.
9. Naturally, you'll want to seek advice about how specific grits will alter the rocks in your area. Harder, rougher rocks will need coarser grits to start.
10. After the polishing is done, you'll have a gritty sludge of rock polish left over. Dispose of it wisely. Pouring it down the drain will have a similar effect of sand or dry cement powder. Just use the trash can.
Rock Tumbler Supplies