Using a rock tumbler is not that difficult, but you need to be careful with your rocks, load correctly, use the proper grit, and take your time. Each step in this process should be done with the utmost care.
Your rocks will come out smooth and shiny only if you have used the tumbler correctly, taken your time, and be quite thoughtful in the selection of your rocks.
1. Check Your Rough Rocks
Most people who use rock tumblers believe that they can put any stone they want into the tumbler to get a smooth finish. This is not the case.
Rocks that are too soft, already chipped, broken, or cracked will fall apart in the tumbler.
The rocks that you use might be so rough that you can never get them to smooth over, or they might be so large that they will never tumble enough into the barrel.
Do a full inspection fo each rock before it goes inside. Once you know your rocks are in good shape, you can start planning your grit paper usage.
2. How Do You Cycle Through The Grit Paper?
You cycle through your grit paper using the roughest paper first. Why would you start with the roughest paper?
Rough grit paper will scratch a smooth rock, but it will take off the roughest, jagged, sharp edges.
You should use the rough grit paper to start until you have rocks that seem to be ready for smoothing.
You can see that the rock has been treated, but you have not done so much to the rock that it is perfectly smooth.
3. Move Up To Finer Grit Paper
You must move up to the finer grit papers during this process. You should use multiple levels of grit paper until you have moved to a grit paper so fine that it will only smooth your rocks.
You might not realize that grit paper like this exists, but there are diamond papers so smooth that you almost cannot tell if it has grit when you run your finger over it.
4. This Process Takes Time
You must take as much time as possible because the rocks will take hours in each round in the tumbler.
Learning how to use a rock tumbler means that you have timed each round through the cylinder.
There are many people who are not patient. They move up put to the finer papers too soon, and their rocks do not smooth out as they should.
If you go back to the heavier papers, you will scratch the smoother parts of these rocks.
The rock tumbler that you have purchased should be used based on the steps you see above.
These steps will make it easy for you to smooth out rocks into gorgeous stones that are shiny, soft, and enjoyable.
You can sell these rocks, add them to your collection, or you might create your own art with stones that you smoothed yourself.
Everyone who buys a rock tumbler must think carefully about the process before turning on the machine.