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Thread: Rock polishing,

  1. #1
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Default Rock polishing,

    How many do this?

    Do you do it to make money? or as a hobby?

    I just got a tumbler for chirstmas and am about to go to the fine grade tomorrow on my first batch.

    I looked up polished rocks on a search engine and they are pretty expencive.

    Right now its a hobby. lol

  2. #2
    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    post some pics, i always wanted to do that
    Semper Fi!

  3. #3
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greythorn3 View Post
    post some pics, i always wanted to do that
    not sure i want to see a pic of Rock skipper getting his rocks, polished...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    You keep trying Vince, lol, but I promised I'd be good this year ( Grin)

    Grey, it takes three weeks to do a batch, I only got it a week ago. Change the grit from course to fine tomorow, the its another week before I change it to the polishing powder for another week, lol

    When the batch gets done I'll try to post some.

    (I seen in my first post where I was going to fine, I ment course.)

  5. #5
    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    i cant believe it takes so long, can you up the rpm? its a tumbler right?
    Semper Fi!

  6. #6
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    LOL, I'm not the tool man.

    Check it out, type thumlers tumbler in a search engine, or see if this works.

    www.rocktumbler.com/thumlers/model-ar-1.shtml This is the one I have, check out the instructions for making rocks shine.

  7. #7
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    I seem to haul alot more cool looking rocks home than gold when out panning. I've been looking at polishers at AMD for over a year now. Just a matter of time and I'll spring for one of them thar things...lol
    A guy could maybe sell agates and other cool rocks on Ebay maybe. People buy anything on Ebay.......lol
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  8. #8
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I have a double barrel lortone. I would be surprised if you had a finnished batch in 3 weeks. Unless they were rounded river agates or from the beach.
    A batch usually takes me at least a month if not more for a good looking finished product.
    Greythorn3 the only way to speed up the process is to use rocks/agates that mother nature has already started to polish or possibly grinding rougher stones first on a stone grinding wheel to smooth the rough edges.
    Basically rock polishers tumble you stones in an abrasive grit. Using successive stages of finer and finer grit mixed with water produces the finished product. Speeding up the process will leave you with a crappy finished product.
    Another aspect to remember this tumbler running 24/7 will raise your electric bill slightly. I cn't remember how much but you will probably notice.
    My girlfriend likes to collect agates from the beach and I have tumbled a few batches for her.
    I am sure there are several ways to market polished stones/agates. My girlfriend wants to make a Mancala game from a piece of driftwood and some of her agates I polished that are similiar in size.
    I have also seen agate beads that they had just drilled a hole through.
    It really depends on what kind of stones you have to polish also the size of them for a value. Unique looking stones/agates or those of good quality will be worth a lot more than random stones/agates from your driveway.
    Another Idea is to make your own seaglass from different colored glass bottles or scrap colored glass from anywhere.Just don't try to pawn this off as real seaglass as this could get you in trouble with buyers.
    They are neat to play with and I am glad I bought my rock tumbler. I don't run it all the time but will likely do a bunch more this summer.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Chris, Have you tried one of the shakers? ( the vibrating, ones) Just starting out on this so any info is welcome.

  10. #10
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    Chris, Have you tried one of the shakers? ( the vibrating, ones) Just starting out on this so any info is welcome.
    No I have never tried one of those units. They look interisting though.
    I do like the double barrell option I have. I can do 2 seperate batches at the same time or have 2 different batches in different stages.
    Do you have a Thumblers Tumbler? I was thinking they don't look as good a quality as the Lortone but I have not looked at one in person.
    Bought mine at Alaska mining and diving I think I paid $110 for the double 3# barrel tumbler.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  11. #11
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    I have a single barrel tumbler. Kasilof is right, it takes a month for rough river stones and 2-3 weeks for beach smoothed ones.
    My last polisher was a vibrating one. It was a lot faster and aggressively polished the rocks. More noise also.
    I should never have given that one away. My next one will be a vibrating one.
    Live life and love it
    Love life and live it

  12. #12
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I do have the beginer kit from the thumblers-tumbler, its the single barrel( #3 pound) its pretty quite, rubber barrel, but I would look into a shaker next time. This is great for me, as it was a gift for christmas, and as a beginer I could'nt ask for more.

    I agree as many rocks I pick up, I need seven of these things, lol.

    Start one every day and keep the rocks coming out everyday after the first months round, lol

  13. #13
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    My girlfriend likes to pickup agates from the peninsula beaches. If you ever make it to a beach area keep your eyes open for some nice agates or other interesting stones to polish. Mother nature usually has done some of the work on these beach stones.
    You might also check around the rivers in your area for semi polished rocks to tumble.
    It can take a while to collect enough agates /stones of similiar hardness that are really worth the effort to polish.
    If you put even one small stone that is a lot harder than the others it will ruin the whole batch.
    Just save up the good stones and do the mediocre stones that you collect more often. When you have a batch of nice looking agates or something to polish take your time with them and make them as perfect as possible. I hate it when a batch should be done and you find you have one bad rock in the bunch and there are scratches on yor best stones after a month of tumbling.
    My girlfriend was on one of the peninsula beaches and met some random guy who gave her and her son a couple of golfball-baseball size agates from his agate mine. He found out she was agate hunting and decided she needed some real agates for her collection. Never know who or what you may find while agate hunting or rockhounding.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  14. #14
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris, I'm kinda of a rock hound myself when on the river, seen more than a few of leaver rocks out there, lol, but some???/

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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    I picked a rock this summer that looks as thow it may be a fossil. Dark rock, but has white 1/8 to 1/4" white lines in it that look like some kind of rib cage in it. Maybe some kind of bird or prehistoric reptile. Found it in glacial gravel. Don't have a clue what it is, but very uniform on both sides of the rock Kinda big thow, maybe 3 to 4 pounds. Thought it might look cool polished up, but would probably ruin a rock tumbler from it's weight.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  16. #16
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    Thanks Chris, I'm kinda of a rock hound myself when on the river, seen more than a few of leaver rocks out there, lol, but some???/
    I have also picked up a bunch of leaverrite when out and about myself.
    Leaverite as in "leaver right where you founder it it ain't worth nothin".
    I often times pickup interesting rocks and have tumbled a few. It usually doesn't hurt to pack them home if they are relatively small and would fit in your tumbler. I wash them up at home.
    One trick is to get the stones wet. If it doesn't look good wet it probably won't look good polished.
    Ones I think I want to polish I save up. When I have a batch's worth I run them through stage one.
    Then I rinse them and Inspect carefully. I bought a larger coffe type mesh strainer and rinse them good and decide wich ones to take to the next step.I continue this through all the steps.
    Sometimes I find some that just start to break apart or just don't look right after you start to polish them. Makes no sense to continue polishing them if they won't turn out as intended.
    Some with deep cracks will ruin the other stones. the cracks hold grit from previous stages and then it ends up in with the finer grit and can make scratches on the stones in the end. They often look cool but a deep crack or two means lots of extra time in stage one or tossing them.
    If they need more time then reload with fresh grit and continue. Be sure to pick out the ones that are ready for the next stage and continue on with the rest. Especially if you have some smaller stones. You don't want to grind them into dust.
    Make sure you don't dump your used grit in your sewer system. Throw it outside. They say the heavy grit will plug up your pipes.
    Nothing says you can't try polishing any stone you want. If it doesn't look like it will turn out then it doesnt hurt to pitch it in the driveway or wherever.
    I have seen ordinary polished quartz sell for about $.25 a stone and fancy agates sell for hundreds or even thousands.
    When I was a kid we sold some raw agates a few times. Never had a polisher. Wish I did have one back then as I lived in the heart of lake superior agate country. The city of Moose Lake MN has an agates days festival every year. They even dump a dumptruck load of gravel on mainstreet loaded with raw and polished agates as well as $100 in quaters for people to hunt for.
    I mainly looked for the quaters as a kid.
    http://agatedays.com/
    Good Luck and have fun.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  17. #17
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrizzlyH View Post
    I picked a rock this summer that looks as thow it may be a fossil. Dark rock, but has white 1/8 to 1/4" white lines in it that look like some kind of rib cage in it. Maybe some kind of bird or prehistoric reptile. Found it in glacial gravel. Don't have a clue what it is, but very uniform on both sides of the rock Kinda big thow, maybe 3 to 4 pounds. Thought it might look cool polished up, but would probably ruin a rock tumbler from it's weight.
    They do make bigger tumblers for larger stones but I believe they are pretty spendy. I used to have the web address of a good company that sold rocksaws and polishing type wheels. I just wish I couold remember the web address. Might just have to google lapidary supply companies. Hmmmm
    Maybe they make grinding wheels that would mount to an ordinary 4.5" or 5" electric grinder. Now I will have to look for myself.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    I gave my wife a tumbler last xmas (a 2-barrel Thumblers, if I remember correctly)...and it still sits unused in the garage. She loves to pick up the rocks but I guess I'll have to run the polisher to get some use out of it.

    How much do rocks "lose" when polishing? I'm sure it depends on things like the hardness of the stone or length of time in the co**** grits but someone told me that you won't have much left if you start with stones that are too small (pinky fingertip-size or smaller?)...and sometimes they just disappear. What's your experience?

  19. #19
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    the profanity monitor doesn't like "co**** grit" (the opposite of fine grit) in my above post. C O A R S E..

  20. #20
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    I gave my wife a tumbler last xmas (a 2-barrel Thumblers, if I remember correctly)...and it still sits unused in the garage. She loves to pick up the rocks but I guess I'll have to run the polisher to get some use out of it.

    How much do rocks "lose" when polishing? I'm sure it depends on things like the hardness of the stone or length of time in the co**** grits but someone told me that you won't have much left if you start with stones that are too small (pinky fingertip-size or smaller?)...and sometimes they just disappear. What's your experience?
    Yes those really small stones can dissappear. If you have enough of this size stone to make a batch you can still polish them.
    Either that or you will have to seperate them from the larger stones partway through polishing and let the larger stones run longer.
    If they are agates from the beach that are already fairly smooth you can get away with polishing them a lot easier. If they are rough stones they may not work. Worst case scenario you loose a few small agates/stones.
    Basically I would determine if they are worth losing to you(sentimental value such as found on your honeymoon or whatever.) and then try it. Basically I would run them for 3-4 days them check them daily after that and remove them when they look done. You might want to do a couple of batches of larger stones first to get an idea of what each stage should look like.
    Put the small stones back in with the other stones from each batch as you change grit and repeat checking them more often.
    So much depends on what they are like to start with and exactly how small and how smooth to start with.
    I have done a bunch of end of pinky size but the ones that are much smaller than that are not really worth it.
    If I had to guess I would say you loose at least a third of the size of your stones depending on what you start out with.
    Definetly fire that thing up MRFISH!
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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