Lapidary Equipment and Supplies

Lapidary tumbler, polishing grit, finished stones

Lapidary tumbler, polishing grit, finished stones

So, you have been out rock hounding and now you have a nice little collection of rocks and gems. The next thing to do would be to get them shiny, pretty and enhance their natural beauty. Running them through a rock tumbler is an easy way to get maximum results with only minimal effort.  Let’s see what we can do to get the right tumbler for you and get you started.

 

Choosing a Tumbler

Tumblers come in several sizes and it is important to get the one that will fit your needs.
If you are just getting started and have small rocks and/or small quantities of rocks the 3lb tumbler will be a good tumbler for you.

If you have larger stones and/or consistently have large quantities of rocks then you can choose from the 4lb, 6lb or the 12lb tumblers. One thing to keep in mind when you are thinking about getting a larger barrel tumbler is that although they tumbler larger quantities of stone they also require more grit and polish to get the job done.

 

Polishing Process

The entire process for a typical load of rock from start to finish is four weeks. There are four steps and each one generally takes about one week.  If you compare it to using sand paper on a piece of river agate, you start with the rough grit first to get the outer rind off and get to the colorful inner core.  This is the step that can sometimes take longer than a week depending on how much of the outer rind you want to take off and how many sharp, rough edges there are.  The next step, as with sandpaper, is less abrasive to start getting that nice smoothness to the rock. Then you follow that with the pre polish. This is just what the name implies. To test if you are ready to go to the polishing step after using the pre-polish for a week, rub the stone on a towel with a little water and the polish compound.  There should be a definite shine on the stone. Once that is determined, you are ready for the final polish.

It is very important during the entire process that you keep everything clean. When you are changing from one grit or polish to another you must get the barrel and the stones all thoroughly clean. If you think of the sandpaper comparison again, you know if you rub it with the rough paper after going on to the less abrasive paper you can scratch  the surface. That is what happens with the grit also. If you do not get all the previous grit or polish off the stones or out of the barrel, it can scratch the stones you are working with.

 

Lortone Tumblers

Some of the features that we appreciate in the Lortone brand tumblers are:

  • Rubberized barrels: You can take rocks directly from the field and put them in the tumblers
  • Simple construction:  Any adjustments that need to be made can be done quickly and easily.
  • Convenience:They are designed in such a way that if a part is missing for whatever reason, you do not have to order an entire section to replace it. Just the one part can be replaced and you are good to go again.

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