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Old 05-02-2003, 08:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
Nobody Loves Me
 
Location: Irish In Madrid
Polishing stones?

How do you polish stones, like you see in souvenier shops? Like a mirror finish? Someone told me you use sand & a drum type thing that rotates, Is ther an easier way? What type of stones can be used/are best?
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Old 05-02-2003, 01:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep, just chuck 'em in a rock polisher (rotating drum) and let them go for a couple days. You can get small rock polishers that are 1-2 litre sized.
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Old 05-02-2003, 02:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: in a deep, dark hole where rainbow creatures attack me to eat my fingernails.
rock polisher is more convenient, but you could go to boone and look for a bum along main st. that has lots of them and contribute to the poor.
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Old 05-03-2003, 07:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Irish In Madrid
Quote:
Originally posted by scarebearjinx
rock polisher is more convenient, but you could go to boone and look for a bum along main st. that has lots of them and contribute to the poor.
Erm, boon, bum, where is this boon you speak of????
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Sexymama's arms...
He's yankin' you.

A rock polishing drum is how you polish stones.
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Old 05-03-2003, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Half-Bakedfield, California
yeah I mine opals and take them home... and wait while the polisher polishes it........ its not very exciting.....
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
I have one. More often their called rock tumblers. You have a small rubber jar, and fill it 1/2 with stones, then polishing compound (essentially sand) and water to make a slury.

Then you let it spin for a week or so, and progessively change the compound to finer grade compounds over time.
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Old 05-04-2003, 01:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
It can take a while, but the results can be very interesting.
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Old 05-14-2003, 12:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: North Carolina
I say go and buy a brass tumbler for reloading spent ammunition (Walmart will have one). Then you can put your stones in it with polishing grit, turn it on and after a couple of days you will have your polished stones.
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Old 05-21-2003, 04:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: New Orleans
I dont know if it was just mine or what but the tumble I had was loud as heck.
It ended up in the plant shed.
Might want to consider an outside location for the tumbling.
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Old 05-28-2003, 08:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It'll take more than a couple of days with a tumbler. More like a couple of weeks (depending on the stones). But the results can be very interesting. I did this as a kid. Somewhere, I've still got the old tumbler in storage. hmmmmmm
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Reinvigorating a very old thread here...

I have a strange obsession with stones, and I have really wanted to find a way to give them that "wet" look permanently.

I have been experimenting what spray-on enamel, but it's not coming out quite the way I like.

So my questions are:

1) Rock tumblers - I've seen them range in price. Are the cheap ones any good? Do they break down quickly?

2) Just how loud are the things? I live in an apartment in NYC, so don't want to drive myself, the neighbors, and my baby daughter nuts if I can avoid it.

3) How do the rocks come out? Do they retain their essential shape, just smoothed off, or do they all wind up as ovals? Obviously, jagged rocks won't stay that way, but what happens to smooth, irregularly shaped rocks?

4) If a rock is already smoothed by water, how much smoother does it get in a tumbler?

5) Would a tumbler take off the layer of sprayed-on crap? (I'd like it to)


That is all.

For now....
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Old 04-07-2004, 06:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
I'd say yes to removing the layer of spray-on-crap. I use my tumbler mostly to remove all the dirt and stuff from items I find in the ground with my metal detector. It often removes the paint as well, which is OK. I only put in things with paint that I don't care if they retain paint. This is often achieved with juat a couple of hours in the tumbler using aquarium gravel for slurry.

I have not actually done rocks, but have read about it. See if your town has a lapidary club. The club will have a ton of info, and samples to look at, or search on google for lapidary.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Initech, Iowa
I got a tumbler for my daughter a couple of years ago. I think I paid around $50 for it and was thinking that we'd end up with cool looking rocks in no time.

We loaded the thing up as directed. Turned it on and let the noisy buzzing thing run for a week. Poured everything out. Cleaned it up and put in the finer polishing compound in and started it up again for another week of banging and buzzing. Repeated the process again with the final polish and another week later of all the irritating noise we opened it up and had some halfway interesting rocks. Nothing near as nice as you see at the stores. I guess we could have put the rocks in for another week or two but the thing was really getting noisy and we used up all the rubber things that went on the wheel that turned it. I think we tossed the thing in the garbage after that and decided it was much easier just to buy the rocks already done. I've seen on the web where you can buy the professional models starting around $150 and up. That's probably the way to go if you really, really want to get into this kind of hobby....

Oh, and one more thing. It appeared to me that the rocks ended up about half their original size by the time they were done. To get that "wet" look I think you would need to leave them in with the really fine polish for at least 2 weeks.

Last edited by Dibbler; 04-07-2004 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Edmontania
To get the "wet" look, just get some mineral oil and let them soak a few days. It gets into the cracks and evaporates slowly.

edit: also, if you apply a fixative after the oil (get most of the oil off the surface first) that wet look will pretty much be permanent.
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