collapse

Author Topic: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!  (Read 7374 times)

Zmaj

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« on: August 23, 2010, 11:26:17 AM »
Hello to everyone :)

I'm a hobbyist jewelry maker, and recently I've gained more interest in the idea of polishing gemstone roughs to use in my work.

I'm physically disabled and wheelchair bound, so I'm staying away from the harder stones like Sapphire and sticking to what I'm really more interested in like quartz, and beryls, all at very small sizes under 1.5". My parents help me with anything I need to do for my hobby that requires more demanding work, but I'm not planning to cut/facet my tumbled stones or make cabs; strictly for wirewrapping projects.

I'm looking at the Lortone 3A basic rotary rock tumbler kit, and I'd like to hear any tips and feedback from experienced users! What gemstones should I be looking at that's at the softer end of the spectrum?

Would small Emerald/beryl roughs be too much work to manage? I'd like to polish Amber, but would Amber be too soft and delicate to use in a tumbler? If amber is okay, should each amber copal rough be tumbled on its own or can they be tumbled together?

Regarding the rock tumbler itself... How much noise does it make, and does the instruction manual clearly instruct you on how to perform maintenance and check for any problems like leakages?

Thanks in advance :)

mehoose

  • Global Moderator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 3650
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 02:53:31 PM »
Hi Zmaj, (James b'wards?) anywho, welcome to ALF.
Tumbling is not my thing but it is for others. Have a read through the Tumblers and Media section to pick up some tips hints.
I don't see why you couldn't tumble Amber but I wouldn't be putting anything else other than Amber in with it. Whatever you put in, try and use material of the same hardness on the Moh scale.
Keep em comin!!!

Aussie Sapphire

  • Administrator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 3338
    • Aussie Sapphire
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 04:37:27 PM »
I'll have a bit of a think about the stones  - hopefully others can help here also.  I would be a little concerned about emeralds if they were highly flawed or included as they may be more fragile compared to cleaner gems and you may have some breakages - maybe with smaller ones, this may not be such as issue.  Experiences??

Amber - need to check on that one but agree with Mehoose - dont mix it with others.

The 3A is fairly quiet to run - the barrel is made of rubber so the sounds of the rocks, etc inside is quite insulated - you will hear a "white noise" but this is not excessive.

Leakage is not often a problem with the Lortone barrels - they have a good system with an inner lid (covered by a rubber gasket) which is tightened with an outer lid secured with a thumb nut.  The Thumler tumblers are similar in quality but I feel the barrel lid system is much harder to manage with an O-Ring which can be quite tricky to get on and secure the lid.  I find the Lortone barrels much easier to operate.  If you make sure the inner recess where the inner lid goes is clean (ie. no grit there) when you close it, then leakage rarely happens.  Maybe locate it though so that an unexpected leakage will not cause disaster (just in case).

Routine maintenance is easy - covered in the instructions but essentially, you just need to oil the bearings (2 on each shaft) with one drop of light oil (Singer Sewing Machine Oil or similar) every 30 days of operation.  Dont overload the barrel beyond rated limits.  Dont tip rock slurry down the sink (it will block drain).  Not much more complicated than that.

cheers
Leah

and welcome to ALF
Aussie Sapphire - The Lapidary Warehouse

mehoose

  • Global Moderator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 3650
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 05:37:41 PM »
Leah, just relating the Amber to the find of some at the beach up North. Tumbled in salty/sandy water over time? Meh?
Keep em comin!!!

Aussie Sapphire

  • Administrator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 3338
    • Aussie Sapphire
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 06:08:50 PM »
re: amber, sand and water seems the be the go.  check this info:

http://www.amberway.co.uk/work_with_amber_20.html

but is very soft so very short times in tumbler only and as gentle as possible.  Would have to be regarded as somewhat risky maybe.

Some sources suggest a "dry" polishing method which makes some sense since amber is very light weight (ie. low specific gravity) - you could maybe tumble with crushed nut shell and various compounds without using water.

I have no idea though not having had direct experience with this one.

If anyone can help with this, would be good to post some tips as they seem to be hard to find.

cheers
Leah
Aussie Sapphire - The Lapidary Warehouse

ObsidianMan

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:10 PM »
Hi Zmaj

I am new too rock tumbling as well. I bought a 3B Lortone tumbler and have had success with tumbling agate, petrified wood, quartz,and a few others and have found the instructions with the kit quite helpful, however i have a slight problem if anyone can help with, once i get to the end of the polish stage i have a white chalky covering on my stones from the tin oxide.

Regards ObsidianMan

Aussie Sapphire

  • Administrator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 3338
    • Aussie Sapphire
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2010, 07:56:15 AM »
Apart from the white chalkiness, are you happy with the polish itself?

If so, I would suggest a burnishing step.  This is basically just a super washing step to finish everything off nicely - many dont bother but it may help in this case.

Just put a bit of burnishing soap into the barrel with your clean polished rocks and water - use either clean plastic pellets or porcelain shapes as filler if required.  Can use the P13 burnishing compound or any kind of pure soap - eg. Lux soap flakes and the like.  Couple of tablespoons in a 3lb barrel load (adjust quantity as needed).

Some people suggest also adding a similar amount of borax - not sure if this helps but worth a try to see if it works for you.

cheers
Leah
Aussie Sapphire - The Lapidary Warehouse

ObsidianMan

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Lapidary newbie here. Questions about rock tumbling!
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2010, 08:22:31 AM »
Thanks Leah

Apart from the white appearance i am happy with the polish. I have heard of lux flakes being used but have never tried it. I'll have to give it a whirl.

Thanks Again ObsidianMan

 

Recent Activities

Forum Financial Update/Hosting/Domain by MrSydney
[Today at 02:47:49 PM]


Joke of the Day by pc bowe
[Today at 01:23:17 PM]


Crystal Mine, Kooyoora State Park by HarknessHunter
[December 05, 2021, 11:36:26 PM]


Mounting stone on Dopp stick by Bucket
[December 05, 2021, 06:32:41 PM]


Powelltown, Cardinia Creek, and Dolly's Creek Victoria gemstone locations. by HarknessHunter
[December 01, 2021, 05:36:36 PM]


Cutting Slabs - looking forward a service by Bucket
[November 28, 2021, 05:55:22 PM]


Frankston and Peninsula Lapidary Club by MALACHI
[November 27, 2021, 07:36:43 AM]


Tool suggestions for gemstone newbie by HarknessHunter
[November 23, 2021, 08:48:07 AM]


Dopping with epoxy by Bucket
[November 22, 2021, 09:50:14 AM]


Newbie looking to fossick around brisbane area by Jimnyjerry
[November 22, 2021, 08:01:08 AM]


Making your own concave cutter mandrels by Faceting Frank
[November 21, 2021, 03:38:30 PM]


Torrington Citrine by RoughCreations
[November 19, 2021, 09:13:41 AM]


AGATE CREEK-Best time of year to go? by Jimnyjerry
[November 15, 2021, 09:12:09 AM]


Valuable stone pinched from NSW museum by Ranger Itchy
[November 13, 2021, 06:03:37 AM]


Drilling Stone by techoff2
[November 06, 2021, 06:15:26 PM]

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2021, SimplePortal