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Author Topic: tumbling polish questions  (Read 2754 times)

llarson

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tumbling polish questions
« on: July 03, 2010, 11:59:14 PM »
   A couple questions for calx, or anyone else that tumbles. Can I get a comparison of using ALO and tripoli for polish, and of using pellets vs. leather for padding. We have used tripoli for polish for several years with good result, does ALO work better? Understanding too, that all rocks react differently. We mostly tumble pet. wood and agate.

calxoddity

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2010, 07:39:26 AM »
Hi,
  I've only used 0.5 micron ALO - does the job very nicely for quartz varieties.  Check my pikkies in the gallery for examples of petrified wood, jasper, chalcedony, jellybean quartz. 

By the time the load has made it to polish the volume has decreased somewhat and even if I have thrown some extras in, I never skimp on the plastic beads.  There's not much point getting all the way to the polish stage, only to muck it up by the stones bashing the shine off each other.

Regards,
Calx


llarson

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 11:52:38 PM »
    Thanks for the response, going to give ALO a try when things slow a bit here; work, lawn, garden, and another room upgrade on "this old house". We are very cautious about scratching up the polish by throwing in rougher stuff, generally build up to a full load, and as you said, plenty of padding.

Aussie Sapphire

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 08:16:43 AM »
In the Steve Hart book "Modern Rock Tumbling", he quotes tripoli at a particle size range of 1 - 10 micron while the other popular polishes have a tighter range of about 1 micron.

If tripoli is working well for you, that is great but he advises that Aluminium Oxide should do a better job.  He is recommending the 1 micron version for tumbling - ie. #14,000 grit.  The finer version (Alumina A) is about 0.3 micron but more expensive - a popular faceting polish.  The tripoli is also quite a bit softer than the AlO which may or may not be relevant depending on what rocks you are working. 

Can also consider Cerium Oxide, Tin Oxide or Chrome Oxide - we have Chrome Oxide in stock now in powder form - a good polish but messy.  Steve Hart notes that Red Rouge (Iron Oxide) works but can stain rocks red however, he doesnt make the same statement for Chrome staining green - I have no personal experience of this.

As always, use what works for you.  Info above taken from the book mentioned - YMMV.

cheers
Leah
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llarson

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2010, 01:18:32 AM »
   Thanks for the reply. Recently, at a couple of estate sales, we acquired a whole range of different polishing media; cheap. We will be experipenting with all of it this winter. 

calxoddity

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2010, 01:16:02 PM »
    Thanks for the response, going to give ALO a try when things slow a bit here; work, lawn, garden, and another room upgrade on "this old house". We are very cautious about scratching up the polish by throwing in rougher stuff, generally build up to a full load, and as you said, plenty of padding.

Sorry - clarification:  I keep in separate takeaway containers small lots of stones at various grades, to pop into loads when needed to keep the volume up.

I have containers with stones that have been through 80, 220, 600 and pre-polish, usually from previous lots where the volume went down too much, or I did 2 containers at once then threw them into one container at the next stage and these were the leftovers.

Agree - never throw rough stuff into stones that have already been thru the grades.

ASI Industries

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2010, 07:41:43 AM »
Quote from: Aussie Sapphire
He is recommending the 1 micron version for tumbling - ie. #14,000 grit.  The finer version (Alumina A) is about 0.3 micron but more expensive - a popular faceting polish.

Leah
I am sorry to butt in here Leah, but 14,000 grit is not 1.0 microns, but 1.75 microns.

Fixed Grit = microns
------------------
200,000 = 000.125
100,000 = 000.25
090,000 = 000.3
050,000 = 000.5
030,000 = 000.8
025,000 = 001.0
017.500 = 001.5
014,000 = 001.75
012,500 = 002.0
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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 07:57:33 AM »
I am sorry to butt in here Leah, but 14,000 grit is not 1.0 microns, but 1.75 microns


   Grit    Mesh  Micron

14,000     0-2     1     This is the standard commercial polish for Sapphires, although I recommend going another step to 50,000. You will need it.

13,000    1-2    1.5    This is seldom used because it is so close to 14,000

That was taken from faceters.com. Guess it depends where you get your information. But he clearly states 14000 grit as 1 micron. Based om this table, 1.75 micron would be about a 11500-12000 grit.

Aussie Sapphire

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Re: tumbling polish questions
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 08:57:14 AM »
Yes - I did get my info from faceters.com and confirmed by other sources but there is some discrepancy in the values.  I have seen different values particularly at the lower grits.

At this small difference, I would not be too concerned - it IS fine enough to do a good polish for tumbling.  For faceting, most go finer - it has been a long time since #14k was the standard final polish for sapphires - even commercial cutting factories will use 50 or 60k and have done for some a time.

cheers
Leah
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