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So I got a rock tumbler for Christmas. I picked out a bunch of jasper that I collected and some quartz pieces. These photos are after the pre polishing stage. They are currently in the polishing stage right now. Just thought I would share how they look so far. Some of them are looking pretty cool in my opinion. What do you all thing? 

Also are the ones I took close ups of still Jasper? 

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Looks like they turned out pretty nice. As far as jasper goes I would say #3 could be, but the other three look more like some kind of granite type rocks.

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Looking good!

It is amazing how beautiful rocks will polish up.

It is tough to tell jasper from agate from other silicate sometimes. 

Do you thicken your slurry with something when you tumble?

Do you burnish for a few hours between stages to get all the grit off the stones?

It looks like you are getting good results doing what you are doing, however you are doing it.

 

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14 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Looking good!

It is amazing how beautiful rocks will polish up.

It is tough to tell jasper from agate from other silicate sometimes. 

Do you thicken your slurry with something when you tumble?

Do you burnish for a few hours between stages to get all the grit off the stones?

It looks like you are getting good results doing what you are doing, however you are doing it.

 

I didnt burnish them. I put them in course grit for 7 days. Then fine grit for 7 days. Theybsoent 3 days in pre polish and 3 days in polish. They are done now. But lots of them were damaged in the final polish stage. I think they were banging on eachother. I ordered some ceramic pellets to add to the tumbling process. I will have to do steps 2-4 over again with lots of them. A little disappointed but my favorite ones ended up turning out pretty good though. So it wasnt a total waste lol. 

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I used corn cob media and cerium oxide for the final polish. Came out perfect.

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I use as much plastic beads as stones in the final polish. And lots of soap. I re use my slurry sometimes to thicken the mix.

They get damaged in the final polish the easiest. And that is where seperating your stones by hardness really makes a difference.

I generally rinse well and burnish for a few hours between each grit. 

The final burnish can beat things up if you leave them too long. I use a lot of plastic beads and powdered soap. 

Obsidian and quartz really beat up around the edges easy. I get really good results in just a few hours but sometimes if I leave them too long they get hammered. The thicker the slurry and the more plastic beads I use the less this happens.

I also try to keep the drum above half full. The closer it gets to half the more trouble I have with scuffing the edges.

Also my big 15lb. Tumbler will beat them up quicker than my little 3 and 4 lb. Barrels. Maybe because it handles bigger rocks. Maybe because they have farther to fall in the big barrel. Whatever the reason the big drum will scuff them up easier it seems.

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3 hours ago, Morlock said:

I used corn cob media and cerium oxide for the final polish. Came out perfect.

wseems.was that in a vibrator or a tumbler?

I know the corn cob works great in a vibrator. I never thought about using it in the tumbler...

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1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

wseems.was that in a vibrator or a tumbler?

I know the corn cob works great in a vibrator. I never thought about using it in the tumbler...

My uncle always suggested walnut shells or corn cob. I’ve always been a fan of plastic beads. When I tumbled l the time I kept two pounds of beads for each grit stage.

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55 minutes ago, d_day said:

My uncle always suggested walnut shells or corn cob. I’ve always been a fan of plastic beads. When I tumbled l the time I kept two pounds of beads for each grit stage.

Im going to try corn cob from my rifle case tumbler and see how it works. I generally re-use the Silicon Carbide grit a couple times before I throw it away. I just sink the grit and float the beads. The grit dries quick and I use it again. That would be rough to do with corn cob slurry. But it might be worth a try on the last run when I am going to throw the grit out the door anyway.

The Aluminium Oxide is not much good after a few days tumbling. I toss it. The corn cob might be perfect for that and give a thicker, more cushioned action in the final stages.

I use the same beads for the grinding and sanding stages. I have another bag of beads for prepolish and polish.

Since I burnish between each step it seems to get the grit off them. I have not had any trouble with contamination.

I use Silicon Carbide for grinding and sanding. It makes the beads dark grey and they never come white again. I use other beads for the Aluminum Oxide polish and prepolish. The Aluminum Oxide seems to come off the beads better. I am thinking the coarse Silicon Carbide scratches up the beads a little and embeds more than the Aluminum Oxide.

At any rate I manage to keep it down to two bags of plastic beads. I just make sure to wash them good and then run them in the burnish stage with lots of soap before changing grits. 

I do the same with the barrels. I have one set of barrels for grinding and sanding. Another set for prepolish and polish. You can see the tiny Silicon Dioxide particles imbedded in the neoprene clearly on the grinding drums. I have a rubber gasket in my big tumbler that has lots of pores and texture and it gets in there pretty bad too. So I change barrels and beads when I shift from Silicon Carbide to Aluminum Oxide.

I do a lot of broken glass. Like cultured sea glass. I am not looking for a polish on it. I leave it frosted and a little pitted. I intentionally use the grinding barrels for the third pre-polish stage. It leaves a texture but gives the highlights a worn, burnished look. A little cross contamination from using the grinding barrels gives it a neat effect. And after a week tumbling with pre-polish in the barrel it removes all of the grit. So when I use the big tumbler to polish I always finish a load of glass before I use it for rocks I want a nice polish on.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/13/2020 at 6:45 PM, Bedrock Bob said:

Im going to try corn cob from my rifle case tumbler and see how it works. I generally re-use the Silicon Carbide grit a couple times before I throw it away. I just sink the grit and float the beads. The grit dries quick and I use it again. That would be rough to do with corn cob slurry. But it might be worth a try on the last run when I am going to throw the grit out the door anyway.

The Aluminium Oxide is not much good after a few days tumbling. I toss it. The corn cob might be perfect for that and give a thicker, more cushioned action in the final stages.

I use the same beads for the grinding and sanding stages. I have another bag of beads for prepolish and polish.

Since I burnish between each step it seems to get the grit off them. I have not had any trouble with contamination.

I use Silicon Carbide for grinding and sanding. It makes the beads dark grey and they never come white again. I use other beads for the Aluminum Oxide polish and prepolish. The Aluminum Oxide seems to come off the beads better. I am thinking the coarse Silicon Carbide scratches up the beads a little and embeds more than the Aluminum Oxide.

At any rate I manage to keep it down to two bags of plastic beads. I just make sure to wash them good and then run them in the burnish stage with lots of soap before changing grits. 

I do the same with the barrels. I have one set of barrels for grinding and sanding. Another set for prepolish and polish. You can see the tiny Silicon Dioxide particles imbedded in the neoprene clearly on the grinding drums. I have a rubber gasket in my big tumbler that has lots of pores and texture and it gets in there pretty bad too. So I change barrels and beads when I shift from Silicon Carbide to Aluminum Oxide.

I do a lot of broken glass. Like cultured sea glass. I am not looking for a polish on it. I leave it frosted and a little pitted. I intentionally use the grinding barrels for the third pre-polish stage. It leaves a texture but gives the highlights a worn, burnished look. A little cross contamination from using the grinding barrels gives it a neat effect. And after a week tumbling with pre-polish in the barrel it removes all of the grit. So when I use the big tumbler to polish I always finish a load of glass before I use it for rocks I want a nice polish on.

Thanks for the interesting posts I will try that. To be clear do you add the soap with the polish in the final stage? 

This is one of my rocks from my second batch after the first course grit tumble. They are back in the tumbler right now for the second tumble in fine grit. When this rock was in raw form it looked like it was petrified wood. Not sure now though lol.

 

 

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Yes. Use soap. Liquid dish soap or dry laundry powder. To thicken the slurry and cause foam. 

It looks like petrified wood to me. Wood agate is the easiest stuff to polish and looks great. I tumble almost every piece I find. I love it!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Yes. Use soap. Liquid dish soap or dry laundry powder. To thicken the slurry and cause foam. 

It looks like petrified wood to me. Wood agate is the easiest stuff to polish and looks great. I tumble almost every piece I find. I love it!

 

 

Awesome! Thanks!! I will definitely do that.

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Some guys use Karo corn syrup or molasses to thicken the final polish slurry. I tried it and it works great. But it builds a lot of pressure in the barrels and needs to be burped a couple of times during the run. I think it was making agate mash or something with the sugar.

I think you could use anything from tapioca to motor oil if you wanted to. I use dish soap or soap flakes but I am still experimenting. I think old latex paint would work great. It might be tough to get out of the cracks but on some stones it might just be perfect.

I have had great luck at filling pits and cracks with pigmented epoxy and tumbling too. I made an awesome gold ore specimen with a cracked piece of quartzite and gold epoxy. And black epoxy will make lots of worthless rocks into amazing tumbled stones.

Don't be afraid to be creative with that tumbler on other things too. Glass, metal castings, broken bits of ceramic plates or tile... Lots of stuff can be shaped, smoothed, textured and polished in that tumbler!

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