Beginner's Mix Rock Tumbler Rough
Beginner's Mix Tumbling Rough
Size: mostly 3/8 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
Our "Mixed Material / Regular Size" tumbling rough contains a blend of rock materials that are specially selected for tumbling success. This mix has been crushed and screened to have just the right particle sizes for a 3-pound tumbling barrel - such as the barrels of a Lortone 3A or 33B tumbler or the Thumler's A-R1 or A-R2. The pieces range in size from approximately 3/8" (9 mm) to 1 1/2"" (38 mm) in diameter. You will not need to add ceramic media when tumbling this mix.
Just fill your tumbler barrel to a little over 1/2 full to 2/3 full with rough, add water and grit, and you are ready to tumble.
Each bag of this mix is different. You will likely find pieces of colorful agate, jasper, quartz and other interesting materials that tumble well together and accept a brilliant polish. If you order today and then again in a few weeks the material that you receive could be entirely different.
We recommend TXP polish - an aluminum oxide compound - for polishing agates, jaspers and quartz materials.
The rough material in the photograph above is wet to show full color. The photograph below is of polished material.
EASY Rock Tumbling Recipe:
Beginner's Mix (3/8 to 1 1/2 inches)
This beginner's mix has been crushed and sized to perform well in small rotary tumblers such as the Thumler's MP-1, A-R1, and A-R2. The size range gives the material a good tumbling action and eliminates the need for ceramic media. Our EASY Rock Tumbling Recipe works well for rough that has a Mohs hardness of 7 and has been crushed to a variety of particle sizes under about 1 1/2 inches.
Recipe for Rotary Tumbling
Coarse Grit Step:
Fill your tumbler barrel about 2/3 full of rough. Then add 2 tablespoons of coarse (60/90) grit per pound of material in the barrel. Add water to just below the top of the rocks. Run the material in coarse grit for 1-2 weeks. One week in coarse grit will give you good results. However, we feel that two weeks in coarse grit gives you much better results.
At the end of all steps in the rock tumbling process, make sure to clean your rocks and barrel to reduce the chance of coarser grit contaminating the finer grit steps..
Medium Grit Step:
Put your cleaned rough back into the barrel. Then add 2 tablespoons of medium (150/220) grit per pound of material in the barrel. Add water until it is just below the top of the rocks. Let it tumble for one week.
Fine Grit Step:
Barrel slurry dumped down the drain will harden like concrete.
After clean-up, put the rocks back into the barrel using 2 tablespoons of fine grit per pound of material. Again add water to just a little below the top of the rocks. Tumble for one week. The rocks should now be smooth and possibly starting to get a slight luster.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that your barrel and rough have been cleaned thoroughly. Any grit carried over from a previous step will likely ruin your polish. Place the rough in the barrel with two tablespoons of TXP polish for each pound of material in the barrel. Add enough water to almost cover the rocks and let it tumble for one week.
Burnish If Needed:
Jasper, agate and petrified wood usually take a great polish. However, burnishing this material after the polish step can often improve the shininess of the finished stones. If you would like to try burnishing to see if it improves the look of your polished stones full burnishing instructions can be found here.
This photo shows a batch of Beginner's Mix that we tumbled.
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