Rock tumbling can be done by all age groups whether young or old. We do recommend 10yrs and under do need adult supervision.
For the rock enthusiast, the rock tumbler offers a change to those stones collected off the beach or collected on a trip and tumble them so they become smooth and polished. To find a tumbler we carry the largest stocks of tumblers in
The actual process of rock tumbling is a relatively easy process. The rock tumbler whether large or small (see the Lortone models on our site) all take approximately 4 - 5 weeks from start to finish. These machines are made to run 24/7 (24 hrs 7 days a week) Because of this, the tumbler although no really noisy, needs to be put where the sound won't bother anyone and where it can't freeze.
There are 4 stages of tumbling. The first three stages use coarse, medium and fine abrasive (Silicon Carbide). Each grit takes about 1 week, followed by a polishing stage where the stones are left in the tumbler until polished - usually one week.
To begin tumbling, the rock tumbler is filled 2/3 to 3/4 full of rough stone - lots of small ones un 3/4" and a few larger ones if needed. The action will not work properly if just filled with large stones. Then fill the tumble barrel to the top of the stones with water, and add the abrasive or polish. For the coarse grit stage, most of the wearing away of the rock will occur here. If the stones are not rounded enough after a week, then empty out and re do again with the coarse grit. You may have to run two loads of the coarse grit in order to have your barrel full enough of stone for the rest of the stages. For the quality of abrasive required, see your tumbler manual.
Each of the 3 grinding stages produces mud so treat it as mud and not put it down a drain. The grits can only be used once but the polish can be saved by pouring it into containers when finished, and cab be used over again.
Note carefully that all the stones in the bumbler must be similar hardness as the hard ones will prevent the softer ones from polishing. Also note that not all rocks can be polished. If very soft or crumbly do not even try.
For rock tumbling, this gives a very brief overview. For further details Click here. Or browse the internet for more information on rock tumbling.
Have fun and happy rock hounding.