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Arts and Crafts

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Art With A Rocky Start

Our 7-year-old grandson has started a rock collection. Any rock or pebble that looks interesting to him, and at present almost every rock does, is being picked up and saved in a plastic container. The rate he is going will ensure we soon have to start selling gravel by the bulk to thin out his stockpile.

In case his interest continues and his collection is more refined, he may like to have a rock tumbler. This machine turns jagged, dull rocks into smooth and shiny treasures.

Not all stones benefit from this treatment. It totally depends on the materials the rocks consist of. There are some rocks which will not come out as smooth and sparkly as you had anticipated, no matter how long you put them in the machine.

A rock tumbler can also be used to shine up glass and metal objects. It usually takes two steps to transform the stones from their rough condition into a shiny object.

The first step is the coarse grind. You fill the tumbler with a certain amount of rocks, abrasive grit, and water and let it rotate for several days to a week or more. After the rough edges are taken off, you move on to the second step.

Step 2 is putting it through the fine grind. This is done by adding a polishing agent to the stones and letting it tumble for another certain amount of time.

When you have beach or other rocks which are already smooth, you can go straight to step 2.

It is recommended to choose your rock tumbler with care. Consider the capacity you might need and whether your standards are set for high quality results or if a lower quality would suffice. Keep in mind the price of the machine often determines the outcome.

Ensure the tumbler of your choice has a good, thick rubber lining on the inside to keep the noise down. Both family members and neighbors would appreciate it and be extremely grateful!

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