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3 Things You May Not Know About Tumbling Rocks

3 Things You May Not Know About Tumbling Rocks

Many people love rock tumbling because it provides them with beautiful pieces to use in jewelry, crafting, or to add to a collection. If you’re new to this hobby, there are a few things you may not know about tumbling rocks. Improve your understanding with some knowledge from the experts!

The Rock Size Matters

When loading up the barrel, make sure you choose the right size of rocks to tumble; as a rule of thumb, they shouldn’t be bigger than half of the barrel’s diameter. If the tumble rocks are too large, then the machine will not move correctly. On the other hand, when your tumble rocks are too small, they don’t help with the process at all and may even get ground up.

Aim to have an appropriate mix of rocks in varying sizes, as this helps your stones to tumble more evenly. 

Rock Type Matters

Another thing you may not know about tumbling rocks is that you should tumble depending on your skill level and experience. Many recommend that those new to rock tumbling should stick to quartz, jasper, and agates since they’re easier to work with than other materials. They take a little longer in the tumbler, however they are usually easier to gauge.

You don’t want to tumble soft rocks, especially if you’re new to this hobby, since there’s a higher risk that you’ll ruin the material. If you’re not sure whether the material you plan to use is soft or hard, find out where it falls on the Mohs scale.

Pro Tip

Before placing rocks in the tumbler, look them over to ensure there are no deep cracks or voids, as this could cause them to break during the process. Additionally, ensure you only tumble rocks of the same gemstone family if you plan to put several into the tumbler.

Types of Rock Tumblers

There are two main types of rock tumblers that you can use: rotary and vibratory tumblers. Most recommend that beginners use rotary tumblers, which work to change the shape of a rock. This tumbler rotates after placing the rock and appropriate grit inside to give the material a more rounded shape.

On the other hand, a vibratory tumbler helps polish rock and is a bit more complex. Keep in mind that this type of tumbler doesn't change a rock’s shape as well, and many experts use this to polish stones after shaping them.

Shop at Cutting Edge Supplies

Cutting Edge Supplies sells the lapidary machines you need, including rock tumblers, cabbing machines, and more! Stock up on the essential equipment so you can make beautiful stones for jewelry or a rock collection.

Improving your understanding of tumbling rocks helps you select the best materials and equipment to work with. However, if you’re new to the art of lapidary, then you may not know all the ins and outs of cutting and shaping gemstones.

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