February 29, 2008

Tumbler, part 6

Posted in Tumbler tagged , , , at 12:02 pm by jewelrybyleyla

I’ve been thinking about this update since yesterday. It feels like some sort of milestone, although in reality, that will be next week. The weather has been nice and I’ve been itching to get out and see how my rocks are doing.

So… how are they? Great! First off, I checked the small tumbler, last week I started the rocks on the fine grit, or prepolish. Today, they’ll be started on the polish stage. Will be? Why haven’t I started them yet, because first they have to go through a washing stage. I washed off the rocks and the plastic pellets, and washed out the tumbler. The rocks and the pellets went back into the tumbler, with a bit of Borax to wash them up. They’ll tumble for a few hours… anywhere from 5-12 hours (I usually aim for 5-6). This afternoon I’ll rinse off the soap, and put in AO polish (Aluminum Oxide). There isn’t any visual change in the rocks today, as the last two stages are working on the surface of the rocks at a very fine level. You’d have to use a microscope to see most of the changes.

On to the 15 lb tumbler…. Many of the rocks that I’ve put into the coarse grit the last 2-3 weeks have been very rough. There are pits and holes, which take a much longer time to even out, than to wear down a square corner. This means that many of the rocks are not done yet. I pulled out the ones which have been nicely rounded and smoothed out. And the rest went back in for a few more weeks, perhaps. I do have a few photos from the stage 1 batch. As usual, the first photo is the rocks that are done with the stage, and the second is the rocks that are going back in.

Stage 1 done Not quite done

The friend of any rock enthusiast is the Flat Rate Box from the USPS. For under $10 you can send as much as the box will hold. On the right forums, or bulletin boards, people sell their rock odds and ends for a few bucks plus shipping, or just for shipping… I purchased one, and quite a few of the rocks in the stage 1 picks have been from the box. It came from a woman who, as near as I can tell, cut open a rock, maybe made a cab out of one half, and tossed the ends into the box. A few of these ends, I looked at them, thought their color was good, but wasn’t sure what would happen when I tumbled them. I found one of these ends today, and was totally impressed by the results.

Its not quite ready for the next stage, as the backside is still kind of rough. But I had to take a picture…. the first is how I saw it when I pulled it out… the second picture is backlit to really show its uniqueness.

normal backlit

With any luck, the polish stage will be done next friday, maybe the following monday. And I’ll have the end result of the past 7 weeks. Of course, its not the true end, as then I can make all the treasures into jewelry, and I have several more pounds of rocks that are done with stage 1 and are ready for stage 2.

As always, check out my Etsy shop to see what I’ve done with some of the previous batches…and check back next week to see what’s new.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jenn said,

    What dedication and patience you must have..those are beautiful.

  2. Thank you 🙂 Dedication yes… mainly because the results are so great. Patience that’s something I’m working on. I just want them to be done, but when I stop to think about it… if nature were doing this on her own, on a beach or river bed, it would take longer than 6 weeks… so I really am speeding up the process.


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