Categories

 Loading... Please wait...
  • since 1976

  • Sales and Support Call: 604-987-5311

Categories

Musings From the Store

Rocks In My Head

Posted by Lyle on

ihaverocksinmyhead.jpg

ROCKS IN MY HEAD # 3 - THINGS I CAN DO WITH MY TUMBLER

“Rock Tumblers” are a great method of quickly polishing stones and also for polishing metal jewellery. They can be used for polishing either but the polishing process is quite different for each. There are different sizes available depending on how much you want to polish per batch.

For stones tumbling occurs when fine grinding compound (known as ‘grit’) rubs with the force of a stone against other stones lightly abrading each stone. Successively finer grits shape then polish the stone. Most tumbling is done wet where the grinding grit sticks to the outside of each stone and by falling action forces the grit against surrounding stones.

There are two main types of tumblers: vibratory and rotary – vibratory tumblers polish stones much faster than rotary tumblers but are far less mechanically reliable than the rotary tumbler. For this reason Capilano Rock & Gem only sells the more reliable rotary type.

Advice for polishing stones in a rotary tumbler

  • Your biggest stone in the barrel should not be more than twice the size of the smallest – you want to polish your stones not pummel them!
  • Don’t fill your barrel with water – about ¼” – ½” above the top of your stones is about right
  • Feel free to check your stones by opening your barrel any time!
  • Do clean your barrel between runs! A good rinsing followed by a light scrubbing (a worn out toothbrush is an excellent tool for this) to remove all traces of grit greatly improves your results. Don’t ignore the inside rim – a small amount of grit build-up there can cause catastrophic water leakage.
  • A week at each stage from coarse to final polish is normal
  • Don’t flush your used grit down the toilet bowl! (It makes a wonderful quick setting concrete…..)

A tumbler can also be used for polishing jewellery. This can be done wet or dry with the most common method being with water, soap and stainless steel shot. (Non-stainless steel shot is available at a much lower cost but requires much more cleaning than stainless. Non-stainless shot will rust over time – we have dropped this type as we feel stainless is much better value for the money – well-kept stainless steel shot can be used for years!)

When tumbling jewellery in a tumbler use from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of tumbling soap depending on the size of each load. Shot does a good job of removing tarnish and small pieces of ‘burs’ while acting as tiny hammers to polish your jewellery

Basic advice for polishing jewellery in a tumbler:

  • Some stones resist damage when tumbling with shot than others, safest is to polish your metal before setting your stones
  • Don’t use water with dry polish, don’t try to do wet polishes dry!
  • If you are also tumbling stones don’t try to polish your jewellery in the same barrel as the stones – it only takes a small amount of stone polish to savage your metal! (Yes we sell replacement barrels)
  • Don’t be embarrassed to experiment!
  • For either type of polishing keep your tumbler well cleaned and well oiled.Well maintained tumblers routinely give 20+ years of service.
  • Detailed how to books for polishing stones and polishing jewellery can be found on the lortone.com website under “Manuals/Instructions” Our staff are knowledgeable about tumblers and can provide detailed help. We keep a full line of parts on hand for the tumblers we sell though mostly they sit in the drawergathering dust and help us sell tumblers!

View Comments


Beads, Beads, Beads.

Tips on choosing elastic cord Once you have chosen the beads that you would like to use, for most people this would be a round bead 6-8mm in size, one could go smaller or larger, the issues that you may encounter would be, on a smaller bead such as a 3-4mm the size of the hole could become an [...]

Read More »


Knot Too Hard

Knot Too Hard (How to choose the right size knotting cord for your project)Knotting between beads is a traditional method of bead stringing that serves several purposes:It protects fragile materials from rubbing against each other, it ensures that you will not lose more than one or two beads should your piece of jewellery break, and it can add length, [...]

Read More »


HollaGram

5 Tips for Taking Jewelry Instagram Photos with Your PhoneCreating a collage of beautiful photos is one of my favourite things to do! About 10 years ago, I was working in the photography industry as a makeup artist and fashion stylist. I fell in love with the idea of creating stories using images, and I absolutely [...]

Read More »


I Have Rocks In My Head 2

Stone-cutting is a multistage process where a block of stone is cut to a manageable size, shaped to the approximate size and ground and polished to its final shape. There are as many different sizes and shapes of stones as there are imaginations.In general the steps are:Selecting rough material – to get a rough idea what a stone will [...]

Read More »


Rock N' Rhyme

Bead It (to the tune of "Beat It" by Michael Jackson) Lyrics by: Elana PromislowThe first time that you walk in the storeYou wanna see some beads, you wanna see some moreThe fire's in your eyes, you found what you've searched forNow bead it. Just bead it.You need some cord yeah you need it real badDon't want to use [...]

Read More »


Bead There ~ Done That

My favourite type of seed bead is the Delica™ bead. These cylinder shaped beads have the same length and width making them perfect for bead weaving on a loom. I, personally, prefer using them in a free-hand weave such as peyote stitch. Because of their shape, they fit very snugly next to one another and form a flowy, seamless [...]

Read More »


I Have Rocks In My Head

”A lapidary is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gem stones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs. The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing.” ~ WikipediaHumans have been creating art in stone since the dawn of time both in the form of stone carvings and jewellery. There are [...]

Read More »


My Favourite Store (to the tune of My Favourite Things from Sound of Music) Lyrics by: Elana Promislow

Smooth shiny nuggets in agates and jaspersThere's just so many you'll have to buy fasterGemstones so sparkly you'll always want moreThese are a few of our treasures in storeHammers and tweezers and Pepe disc cuttersShears that will cut through your silver like butterToggles that close with a loop and a barThese are a few of [...]

Read More »


Tool Tart Tips

StuckIt happens to me quite often. In fact, it happened when I was asked to write this post. I was ….. stuck. Not because I have run out of ideas. No, that’s rarely the issue here.I knew full well that I was not going to tell you what to do, because working metal is not a hard science. [...]

Read More »