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Crafting all other crafts

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Old 09/14/07, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Longview, WA
Posts: 164
rock tumbling?

Is this a craft? lol.

Does anyone have a rock tumbler? My 11 year old son has developed a passion for rock hunting, agates, etc. It seems I can get a tumbler for around $120. Just wondering if they actually work and any other comments. thanks.
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Old 09/14/07, 06:23 PM
rkintn's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Back in NW TN
Posts: 2,244
I don't know how good they are but I saw some rock tumblers at Hobby Lobby in the kiddie crafts section for between $30 and $50. You might check out might get a good deal on a used one. My 6yo DD is big into rock collecting as well LOL I find rocks and pebbles all over the darn place
SWF 46
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Old 09/14/07, 09:54 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Central Wisconsin
Posts: 13,635
Harbor Freight has rock tumblers really inepensive if you want to just give it a try.

I've seen the tumblers...they do work, altho they're not GREAT quality. ( but all a tumbler really is, is a rubber drum rotating slowly. The grit inside the drum polishes the rocks. (grit + water ) You add sucessively smaller grit to get a finer polish. It's great fun.

It take a LONG time to get a full polish be prepared to say "just another day...." a LOT.
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(and a lot of luck - Wisconsin Ann)
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Old 09/15/07, 09:18 AM
A.T. Hagan
Posts: n/a
My brother and I used to do this a lot when we were kids. You can turn out some really pretty stones if you put some time and effort into it.

But rock tumblers are loud. Find a place in the workshop, tool shed, garage, carport or somewhere to let it run or it'll run you out of the house.

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Old 09/15/07, 09:48 AM
MELOC's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,220
i wonder what type of grit is used for the polishing medium. i have a new job in a stone grit plant and i always wanted to try polishing stones. i think we mine a meta-basalt. it is used for shingles. i shovel tons of stuff everyday that is the size of shingle grit and goes all the way down to rock dust and is like flour.
this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."
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Old 09/15/07, 11:53 AM
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How to choose the right one............................

And in answer what type of grit is used.............................

They also have steel shot and plastic pellets for polishing metal. That is if you go beyond just polishing the stones and make jewelry with them.

Lapidary is more of a hobby, what you do with the polished stones becomes either a craft or an art form.

If your son is just starting to show an interest, I'd look into a used one. No sense spending the big bucks and 2 weeks later the interest wanes. You could always upgrade if the interest continues.

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Old 09/15/07, 01:01 PM
Karaoke Queen
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 964
I just hope he's patient! Tumbling is the easiest but longest process. I would love to learn how to cut gems. I have lots of amythest, emerald, garnet, opal and other stones that I'd love to put into jewelry!
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Old 09/15/07, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: deep south texas
Posts: 5,067
My brother is Always getting A few fine looking odd rocks, He finds them at work, A gravel pit he is at..
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Old 09/15/07, 09:12 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: missouri
Posts: 362
i love rock tumbling

i want to buy one from harbor freight. it takes about a week, but it is amazing taking ugly sharp rock and turning them into something beautiful. I dropped mine and plan on getting another. i keep watching the ones on ebay for a big one. i want to make some western ties with cool rocks.
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Old 09/15/07, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: S.E. Ks.
Posts: 5,942
Buy a tumbling drum and the rest is easy enough to make
a old washing machine motor a large pully two 1/2 in shafts covered with heater hose. and four pillow blocks . heck in a pinch you can use an old golf cart tire for the tumbling drum but you would still need to close the wheel hole.

To tumble broken colored glass bottles into those fancy frosted aquarium jewels a 30 gallon plastic barrel a bag of fine blasters sand and parts of an old riding lawn mower will make a fine large tumbler
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Old 09/17/07, 10:13 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 19,562
What I was told by a person who did it for a bit of extra money after retiring was that you need a different barrel for each stage of tumbling and use some Bon Ami cleanser in the polish stage. The different barrels are because the grit can get stuck in the rubber and scratch during the next stage. We did a batch of stones once for ds's science class and it took about a month. I'm now wondering if the used grit (not the polish, polish can be reused) could be added to the garden to help the soil. That needs checking.
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Old 09/26/07, 03:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: central IL
Posts: 109
I've used rock tumblers for years, and always just used one barrel, but carefully washed it out between cycles. I second the idea of putting it far away, because it runs for a month pretty much non-stop, and the noise can get a tad irritating.
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Old 09/28/07, 08:16 PM
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when in doubt, mumble.
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Saginaw Bay area, Michigan
Posts: 2,025
We have a "thumblers tumbler" and it works great! Its small and cheap, but for all that, the rocks turn out nice! Unless you put in "soft" rocks.... then you get a big pile of sand... . But you already knew that.

anyway, I'd definitly get one if I was you.
Unless life also hands you sugar and water, your lemonade is going to suck.
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