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Rock Tumbling

Look at All of the Perty Rocks! Yep...Another Fun Hobby! (+15 insets!)

Look at All of the Perty Rocks! Yep...Another Fun Hobby! (+15 insets!) 

(+15 insets!) (Please view large to see the pretty rocks closer! :D) (sorry for the book...go get some coffee!) :D

I want to start this post with a huge thank you and endless virtual hugs to all of you for your support, care and understanding in regards to my low mood. I am very happy to report that things have been improving on a daily basis and this upward spiral has meant that I've been able to crawl out of the hole I've been in for the past few weeks. The community here at ipernity is wonderful and I am so thankful to call so many of you my friends and internet family. *MORE HUGS*

I Got a Rock Tumbler for My Metal Detecting Hobby...
and Now I Have ANOTHER Hobby!

If you've been following my photography and writing, you'll know that a few months ago I got a metal detector, something that's been great fun to play with and a really interesting hobby too. It's opened my eyes to local history in addition to being an exciting treasure hunt!

One of the things metal detectorists love to find are coins. Though I haven't found very many myself—since I haven't been to many parks yet--it's apparently very easy to find quite a trove when detecting at playgrounds and such. Since the majority of found coins are current, the best thing to do is save them up and then dump them into a "Coin Star"-type machine in exchange for paper money or store credit.

These coins need to be cleaned up to remove the grime and oxidation so the machines can recognize them and the best way to do this is with...you guessed it...a rock tumbler! A couple of 20-minute runs with soap and water and grubby coins are shiny and easily returned. Here's a picture showing dirty and cleaned pennies so you can see the difference!

Anyway, with the fact that I'll eventually be treasure hunting in parks and playgrounds, I decided to get a rock tumbler. Part of my reasoning was that I also have an interest in rocks, though it's never been anything more than appreciating the odd cool stone that catches my eye.

So, a couple of months back I did some research and decided on a "two-barrel" rock tumbler which would allow me to do two sets of coins or rocks or one and one. Since I don't have enough coins to bother cleaning right now, the tumbler just sat there. I didn't have a pile of rocks to tumble and the rain at the time kept me from looking for any.

Did I mention that our driveway is covered with a layer of gravel from a local quarry? Apparently the rocks they graveled our driveway came from an area which includes a percentage of mixed river and other mineral rock. This translates to mostly dark grey gravel with a blend of many interesting rocks. I've always noticed these rocks and, in fact, gathered the white ones and the ones that are flecked with black and white. Some of those I used as "counting" rocks, which I use to keep track of my laps as I walk up and down the driveway for my exercise. The rest I had in a pile next to my "counting stones".

Naturally I began to think about using the rock tumbler for...oh, I don't know...TUMBLING ROCKS! After all, I figured that there were probably enough interesting rocks on our driveway to fill one of the 3-pound capacity drums. I decided that I would begin collecting any interesting rocks I found on the driveway as I marched up and down each day.

Do you know how long it took me to gather a batch of rocks to fill the tumbler? About one lap. LOL, I couldn't believe it! Once I started looking at the driveway as a source of interesting rocks to try polishing, suddenly I realized what a treasure trove we had! Stones of all colors...white, mottled and marbled grey, some with stripes and striations, brown speckled ones, red ones with layer lines and interesting patterns, and lots of quartz that had patches of clear parts or tinges of pink, red, yellow or green. I found rocks with teal green tones and some that looked a bit blue. The more I looked, the more I found, and every time I'd do another lap I found more!

The Interesting, Long Process of Tumbling Rocks
I brought my treasure inside and washed the dirt off, dumped them into the tumbler and followed the directions included. My tumbler came with a beginner's tumbling kit, part of which were the various grits that are added to the rocks you're tumbling.

Turns out there are 4 stages of tumbling, each of which takes 7 to 10 days. Yes, do the math. That's 28 to 40 DAYS before your rocks are polished! This is why I was never all that interested in tumbling rocks. It's true...I have the patience of a gnat. Heck, I can't even deal with setting up a tripod for my photography, so the idea of being forced to wait for a whole MONTH to arrive at finished stones was a big ol' NOPE in my book.

But hey, if the tumbler is just SITTING there, not doing a thing, what's the harm in loading it up and turning it on, right? And that's just what I did. I measured the Step One grit and poured it on top of the rocks in the tumbler, added water to just above the stones, closed the chamber up tight and put it on the roller. All the rock tumbling machine does is turn the chamber of rocks round and round, day in and day out. Heck, if you could figure out how to get some hamsters or other rodents to take shifts running in their little wheels 24/7, you'd have the same deal! Cuter, of course, but the identical motion!

I will say, I was very curious about the results of one week in the tumbler, and so was Steve. He's the one who got me to get off my duff and use the tumbler in the first place, so hats-off to him! We had the tumbler set up in the garage and every time we went out there for something we'd hear the tumbler going and wonder what the rocks looked like.

By the way, these things are LOUD! The one I have is praised for being much more quiet than other rock tumblers but every time I went into the garage I thought to myself, "If this tumbler is less noisy than others, what do THEY sound like?!" WOW, what a racket! But it sits in the garage and it can make all the noise it wants out there! :)

What Did the Rocks Look Like After Week 1?!
Eventually the first week came to an end and it was time to see what happened to those rocks! Opening the top, I saw a thick film of mouse-gray mud covering everything. How interesting! I'd read that the grinding of the rocks produces a thick sludge of grey mud and that was totally accurate!

Using a salad strainer over a large bowl, I dumped the rocks in and rinsed them off. There are stern warnings to never ever wash this mud down the drain because it will clog your pipes. Thinking about it, the logic is obvious so the water went into a bowl which I dumped in the back yard. It was like thick, very dense silt which packed into a clay-like consistency and took time to get completely washed out of the bowl, wow! Clogged pipes indeed!

Finally the rocks were cleaned off and Steve and I eagerly picked up handfuls of the stones and looked at them with wonder. "LOOK AT HOW COOL THEY ARE!!" Both of us exclaimed our amazement at the worn-down edges and much rounder, smoother appearance of these once very rough stones. It was totally cool and with that realization, we were sold! "NEATO!!" I squeaked in delight. "AWESOME!" added Steve in pleasure. The two of us showed each other the wonderful rocks that caught our eye and soon we realized that every rock was wonderful and we laughed. What fun.

We were also fascinated at the reduction in size of the rocks. They were all smaller than when they were first put into the tumbler, something that made sense but usually takes eons in nature. How interesting that we could reproduce this natural erosion over the course of a week instead of thousands of years. Groovy.

Eventually we'd seen enough of our rocks that it was time to send them on to Step Two. Back into the barrel they went, only now the cylinder was barely half-full instead of two-thirds. The directions say that the rocks do best when the barrel is at the proper fullness. So what now? Why, add media to make up the difference, of course!* Because I'd forgotten to order the proper media to fill up the barrel, Steve went out and brought back some river stones from a hobby store which were smooth and hopefully wouldn't mess up our project. (In hindsight, river stones wasn't the best choice because they are very hard to tell apart from the rocks I found, but some of them I can see are more matt in tone which points them out.) With the rocks filled to the proper amount, I added Step Two grit, poured water up to just above the stones and off they went for another week!
*Usual media used to increase lost volume in a tumbler is either plastic beads or ceramic media. (link to picture)

The Next Steps
Week Two results were even smoother and a bit smaller too. We appreciated the beautiful rocks and then sent them on their way to Step Three, after removing some broken rock chips and a few rocks that were broken and would ruin the finish of the other rocks. I let this batch of rocks go for 10 days because I hoped to counter the effects of the river rocks I'd introduced, which I thought might impact on their smoothing.

Week Three results definitely showed a soft shine, how exciting! They were a bit smaller but not by much. The grit used was finer and much less abrasive, called a "Pre-Polish", and it all made sense judging by the matte glow of the rocks. I was really excited as I put them into the barrel for Step 4, the Polishing Stage.

I wanted to give these guys the best chance for a nice shine, so I let them go for 10 days. I knew that my results wouldn't be perfect—glossy shine on blemish-free rocks—but I was hoping for some nice shine to enjoy for our first batch.

Our First Batch of Tumbled Rocks
The day finally came to unveil our finished stones! I opened up the barrel and carefully washed them off. I refused to look at them until they were clean, but when they'd been thoroughly rinsed I poured them slowly onto a towel, grabbed some paper towels and dried one off. The lovely mottled stone gleamed back at me with its round edges and shiny surface.

IT WORKED!!! IT WORKED!!! I was so excited that it was all I could do to keep myself from blasting upstairs with my rock to alert Steve! But I kept myself in place. I wanted to dry the rocks off first so he could see the whole show and we could enjoy our first batch together. After a few minutes they were ready and I fairly boinged upstairs to gather Steve. I got his attention and waved a rock in front of him.

"LOOK!!! Our first batch is FINISHED!! And they are AMAZING!!!" Steve nearly exploded out of his chair and basically left a vapor trail behind him as he raced down to the kitchen. Following him with a joyful chuckle, I entered the kitchen to find him bent over the rocks, rolling one over in front of his eyes and oohing and ahhhing over it.

"WOWWWWWW!!!! They're so SHINY!!!!" Steve found his favorite rock, the one he picked out weeks before. It was a near-black, oblong stone that had a lovely band of white running through it at the half-way mark. "LOOK AT MY ROCK! IT'S PERFECT!!" Beaming happily, I gently took the offered stone and turned it over and over in my fingers, appreciating its beauty and shine. It really was a gorgeous rock.

But then again...they all were! We would burst out with joy over an especially pretty rock, put it down, pick up the next one and...burst out with joy over the especially pretty rock! LOL, just about every single rock was a stunner. Some weren't quite as shiny, the river rocks we suspect, and a few were chipped. Most had "imperfections" of cracks but to us, they were all perfect!

I eventually put them into a clear glass bowl and there they sit on our kitchen counter to admire. We pour them all out onto a dish towel every couple of days to look at and enjoy. Both of us are absolutely delighted and blown away that these were found on our gravel-covered driveway. AMAZING!!

Our Property is Bulging with Awesome Rocks!
One thing I didn't mention was that our property lies at the edge of the "agate desert" of this area, and this means that we have our very own treasure trove of stones that are at least as beautiful as the rocks on the driveway, but to be honest, I've been finding LOADS of rocks which are even NICER. In fact, I've collected piles of stones from around our pond that are so pretty, I can hardly wait to see what they look like when they are polished!

Today's Pictures
Today's main picture is our bowl of polished rocks, which I thought looked really neat in a top-down view. I have a mass of insets too, 15 in total, GAH! There are pictures of the finished rocks laid out on a towel for you to stare at...it will be a chore for you to come up with a favorite if you're like we are! I also picked out a bunch of stones that I showed individually so you can appreciate them on a one-by-one basis. Finally, I also included a couple of pictures that show unfinished "roughs" as they're called by "rock-hounds", and they're sitting in water to show why I was attracted to them. It's amazing how dull and boring these rocks appear when dry or unpolished! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the show! I've got two sets of rocks tumbling right now and the next finished batch will be ready next week, oh boy!!!

Pam, are you a fan of rocks too? I've always been interested in them but never put them on my radar for a hobby because there was always something else I was doing. I never realized how rewarding it could be to find rocks and put them through this very long process, and at the end, to hold that same rock which is now gleaming and so lustrous and gem-like. Turning a rock into a jewel is an awesome experience and something you might like to try yourself? Anyway, thank you so much for your support, love, and attention...I'm thinking of you all the time and hope you are doing well!

Explored on 1/11/20; highest placement #11.

Special K, Eunice Perkins, Loewe48, fifi and 51 other people have particularly liked this photo

48 comments - The latest ones
 Andy Rodker
Andy Rodker club
I like this and all the PiPs! I used to do this at one time. Then the 'real' world had to take over and the fun and innocence of this kind of thing went on the back burner for many decades!! :o(
7 months ago.
 José Manuel Polo
José Manuel Polo club
Janet, estupendo documental fotográfico el que nos obsequias con tal variedad de piedras muy bien fotografiadas.
Te voy a hacer una confesión: La mayoría de ellas son familiares. Tenemos arenales y playas con abundante piedra y en otro tiempo las miraba y las que me gustaban las tomaba y guardaba, como si fueran un tesoro. El que ahí y aquí se encuentren piedras gemelas, me da por pensar en una obviedad; que la tierra es redonda y se mueve.
7 months ago.
 Frans Schols
Frans Schols club
Schitterende opname,s en pip,s.
Jij hebt een nieuw hobby gevonden en die sluit perfect aan bij jouw hobby van fotograferen.
Hartelijke groeten.............
7 months ago.
 Dominique 60
Dominique 60 club
les notes sont de pures merveilles janet !!
bon week end .
7 months ago.
RHH club
Those are wonderful, Janet. Love Steve's fat stripe rock and that piece of amber quartz is stunning. That could be set in a necklace. They are all wonderful, though, and Nancy has seen them. When I asked if she was interested she said, No. She thought she had enough rocks and enough things to do. Glad you're coming out of your low mood, too. Seeing these rocks become gems should help.

Looks like a great hobby, but we have so much on our agendas at the moment that there isn't time even to think of much else. We're supposed to leave Tuesday morning for Edmonton (weather permitting). Our youngest daughter just had a baby and we are going up to help for several weeks. We'll do the cooking and child care and let her get back on her feet, though her husband's family are helping also.

We are being dumped on. It started to snow this morning and we've got about 5-6 inches already and it hasn't stopped. More forecast for tomorrow and Sunday. We are just staying holed up, however. I was out to shovel a little while ago but we have no intention of getting the car out or going anywhere. Supposed to pick up Neal tomorrow morning, but we'll see how things look then.
7 months ago.
RHH club
Should have mentioned that our summer is shaping up to be very busy. The week after we get back from Edmonton we are leaving for the south - Carlsbad, Guadalupe Mountains, San Antonio, Big Bend and who knows what after that, but we'll probably be gone three weeks. Then in June we are leaving for N. Ireland, France and Holland and when we get back from that trip I'm going backpacking with two of my brothers in the Maroon Bells in Colorado. The Europe trip is mostly booked and we'll be gone a month.
7 months ago.
Dinesh club
Just beautiful, -- time and nature have ground them to this beautiful shapes!
7 months ago.
 Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda club
Absolument magnifique cette collection de pierres si différentes les unes des autres,avec une remarquable panoplie de formes et de couleurs,quoiqu' on dise ,on reste émerveillé de les voir,les toucher et de s'imaginer du moment,de l'endroit ou on les a trouvé..
J'aime ce passe temps si riche en émotion et en sensation.
Agréable fin de semaine.
7 months ago. Edited 7 months ago.
Jolie !!! Le trésor du petit poucet ;o)
7 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Excellent "rocks" series!

Admired in:
7 months ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club


7 months ago.
 Ronald Losure
Ronald Losure club
Super story and photos, Janet. When I was a kid, pre-teen I think, I was in a "geology" club. One of the things we did was find interesting rocks and grind and polish them into pleasing shapes. I don't think I ever did this tumbling thing, but there were kids who did. The results were beautiful.
7 months ago.
Kawasirius club
Belle collection ! Bon week-end, Janet !
7 months ago.
Chrissy club
ich liebe Steine! Sammele überall welche auf
7 months ago.
 Treasa Ui Cionaodha
Treasa Ui Cionaodha club
Wonderful series of rock images. I also am nuts of finding sea coastal rocks. These particular rocks are shaped by the constant waves activity. My very best ever find was a Obsidian stone shaped like a perfect heart. I cherished it and then when one of my sons left Ireland and went to America to live I gave it to him as a sign of my love for him. Also my husband nicknamed me Pebbles ha ha ha.
I am glad that your are improving day by day. Regards Janet Hugs Tess.
7 months ago.
 Ulrich John
Ulrich John club
Marvellous set of pictures, Janet !
7 months ago.
Ruth club
Wonderful pictures Janet, the array of colour in the small rocks is amazing. Glad to hear that you are feeling better.
7 months ago.
 * ઇઉ *
* ઇઉ * club
The result of your work is really simply fanastic.
I followed your recommendation and actually got myself a warm drink before enjoying each of your pictures as well as your wonderful story, and I am very happy that you are getting better every day. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us in such a wonderful and lively way and have a fantastic weekend!
7 months ago.
 Ern Jacoby
Ern Jacoby club
A wonderful story illustrated by you stone mandala!
7 months ago.
Nouchetdu38 club
A pretty multicolored mineral universe !!!!!****
7 months ago.
cammino club
Wonderful stone close-ups. I love the different colours and shapes of the stones!
7 months ago.
 Nicole Merdrignac
Nicole Merdrignac club
Magnifique. Nicole.
7 months ago.
 Peter Castell
Peter Castell club
Try putting a small piece of hardwood in, it may work like a sand blaster and remove the softer growth and leaving the harder growth, instant weathering
7 months ago.
 Boarischa Krautmo
Boarischa Krautmo club
wonderful series!
7 months ago.
 Lee & Luv
Lee & Luv club
I love your work! The Light in the PIPs are beautiful! Have a great weekend!
7 months ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
Oh how wonderful. I have always collected rocks from my holidays and I used to put them in the fish tank, after having been cleaned many many times, but they looked rather dull when they were dry. I love your fat band stone, as well as the agate with the clear blob. There are many small stones like yours, over here in the UK, all smoothed off by the constant roll of the rocks, against other rocks, in the sea. I think you're so fortunate to have a rock tumbler - it would be something I'd like, although where I'd put it is another problem - I don't have anywhere outside where I could have it going for a month!!!!!! LOL

I was delighted to hear that you are feeling so much better - and your bouncy self is back. I'm happy that you are taking pictures again, I've missed them. You should have stayed at Vancouver Island over the beginning of the year - our Prince Harry and his wife Megan Markle were there for a while, as they are considering living half in the UK and half in Canada!!!
7 months ago.
 David Michael
David Michael club
I can see the fascination in slowly revealing the primeval beauty of these stones!
7 months ago.
RHH club
Made pizza tonight and had the family over for games and pizza. Nice evening, but the kids were a bid crabby - needed to get to bed on time and they are away already. Supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow and that's not something I'm looking forward to.
7 months ago.
Annemarie club
wonderful images and insets!
7 months ago.
uwschu club
Diese Sammlung kann sich ja sehen lassen. Hab als Kind immer Steine von der Ostsee mitgebracht als Erinnerung, heute kann man damit eine Einfahrt pflastern :-)
7 months ago.
 Eva Lewitus
Eva Lewitus club
I collected stones and mostly those that looked like faces... When I had to move to a two-room flat I only took the special ones with me... and still, there are too many of these finds from the different beaches.
7 months ago.
AD AD club
Eine tolle Sammlung und wunderschöne PiP's ! :-)
7 months ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮ club
Excellent capture, well done ;-)
I love stones too !!!
7 months ago.
 Sylvie Coeffic
Sylvie Coeffic club
***************** :-)
7 months ago.
 Andreas Müller
Andreas Müller club
Superschöne Steine!
7 months ago.
 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
Lovely colours and details; super series of images.
Congrats on Explore.
7 months ago.
tiabunna club
Great to read that you're feeling better, Janet. Your new rock hobby certainly provides the necessary incentive to get up and get going. What a beautiful collection of rocks in your main image and the PiP series of close-ups (both the rocks and images) are lovely.
7 months ago.
sasithorn_s club
Superb series of fascinating rock images.Love their impressive shapes and colors. I enjoyes reading your story too.
Thanks so much for sharing them, Janet❤
7 months ago.
 Trudy Tuinstra
Trudy Tuinstra club
a great serie of beautiful pictures. it rocks!
7 months ago.
Valfal club
Wow, yet another thing that we both enjoy! These rocks are beautiful and you have presented them as jewels! Have a blast with that rock tumbler, my friend!
6 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Solche Steine sammle ich auch gerne. Sie sind so wunderschön, wenn sie nass sind!
6 months ago.
 Fred Fouarge
Fred Fouarge club
wat een massa steentjes STUK voor STUK mooi en lekker
6 months ago.
Esther club
Glad to hear that you are feeling better.

I had always wanted a rock tumbler as a kid but I did not want to listen to the noise for so long and we had no place to plug it in where we would not hear it. Now, I still love the look of tumbled rocks, but I also like them rough and natural.
6 months ago.
 Eva Lewitus
Eva Lewitus club
I´ve posted a few of my stone faces, - there was no need to clean them they were just waiting on the beach for their photos to be taken.
6 months ago.
WOW, what are you building in here with that collection? a wall for a small garden...a little pond...for little frogs..I love rocks, pebbles, and I also collect them and decorate with them, inside and outside.. Good to know that you do too. Have a great WE my dear friend.
6 months ago.
trester88 club
Ich sammle auch gerne Steine, aber so schöne habe ich nicht.
6 months ago.
 Murray Leshner (Murrayatuptown)
Murray Leshner (Murr… club
Your rock...
6 months ago.
 Eunice Perkins
Eunice Perkins club
There are several here that I would love to add to my collection! Years ago I used to make polished stone jewelry.Recently someone stole most of my best stones. I hope they enjoy them. I love rocks! I also paint on them.
6 months ago.

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