A handful of ordinary, even ugly, rocks can be polished into beautiful pieces for art or jewelry by using a rock tumbler.
1. Check out a book on rock tumbling from the library.
2. Look at both the rotary tumbler and the vibratory tumbler to decide which would work the best for you.
3. Note that a rotary tumbler is less expensive, quieter and easier to use but takes longer to provide a finished product, uses more grit and wears the rock down more.
4. Compare it to a vibratory tumbler, which is quicker, uses less grit and retains the stone’s basic shape – only smooth. But it’s expensive, more noisy and needs more attention than a rotary tumbler.
5. Decide on the size of tumbling barrel you will need. The 3-pound tumbler is a good size for beginners wishing to tumble only small amounts or smaller rocks. When deciding on size, remember the barrel must be at least half full and no more than three-quarters full to work properly.
6. Look at a multibarrel tumbler for polishing rocks at different stages and sizes.
7. Think about buying a rock-tumbling kit that includes tumbler, grit and polishing materials to start out with.
8. Talk to a rock hound about reliable tumblers. Look in the phone book or the Internet for a rock and gem club close to your home. Rock hounds love to talk about rocks and will be more than willing to help you get started in the right direction.