How to Use a Thumler's Tumbler

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Rock tumblers are used to polish rough rocks into smooth, shiny stones. Doing so will reveal previously unseen patterns and colors on the stone and create a polished surface. Polishing stones can take as long as two weeks, and is done by placing the rocks into the barrel of a rock tumbler with successively finer mixtures of "grit," small particles that cling to the rock and slowly strip and polish. Thumler's produces two types of a rock tumbler; rotary tumblers and vibratory tumblers

Things You'll Need

  • Thumler's rotary of vibratory tumbler.
  • Grit Pack
  • Detergent powder
  • Hose
  • Colander

Using A Thumler Rotary Tumbler

  1. Fill the barrel of the rock tumbler approximately one half to five eighths full with stones to be polished. Pour in the "Coarse" grit solution, this is the package of grit that is 60 to 90 grit. Fill the barrel with water to the height of the rocks. Add four ounces of grit for the model T, A-R1, T-2 and A-R2 tumblers. Add eight ounces to the model A-R6. Add one pound to the model A-R12 and model B.

  2. Close the barrel and turn on the rock tumbler for seven days. Open the barrel, place the stones in a colander. Wash the stones outside with a hose so excess debris is cleaned off. Wash out the inside of the barrel as well.

  3. Place the stones in the barrel and add the "Fine" grit, or the package that is marked with 120 to 220 grit density. Fill the barrel with water until it is level with the stones. Close the barrel and turn the machine on for the next three days. Add four ounces of grit for the model T, A-R1, T-2 and A-R2 tumblers. Add eight ounces to the model A-R6. Add one pound to the model A-R12 and model B.

  4. Open the barrel, place the stones in a colander. Wash the stones outside with a hose so excess debris is cleaned off. Wash out the inside of the barrel as well.

  5. Put the stones back into the barrel. Pour in the grit that is marked as "Pre-Polish" or "500F." Fill the barrel with water until it is flush with the stones. Close the barrel and turn on the tumbler for the next three days. Add two ounces of grit for the model T, A-R1, T-2 and A-R2 tumblers. Add four ounces to the model A-R6. Add one half pound to the model A-R12 and model B.

  6. Open the barrel, place the stones in a colander. Wash the stones outside with a hose so all excess debris is cleaned off. Wash out the inside of the barrel as well.

  7. Place the stones back in the barrel, add the grit container that is marked "Polish." Fill the barrel up with water until it is even with the top of the stones, run the polisher for the next seven days. Add two ounces of grit for the model T, A-R1, T-2 and A-R2 tumblers. Add four ounces to the model A-R6. Add one half pound to the model A-R12 and model B.

  8. Open the barrel, place the stones in a colander. Wash the stones outside with a hose to that all of the excess debris is cleaned off. Wash out the inside of the barrel as well.

  9. Place the rocks back into the barrel, fill with water until it is flush with the top of the rocks. Mix in detergent powder until there are strong suds in the water. Turn on the tumbler for approximately eight hours. Open the machine when finished, clean the soap off of the rocks and clean out the barrel, the rocks are now polished.

Using a Thumler Ultra Vibe Tumbler

  1. Select rocks that are all of a similar hardness and roughness, no more than one and a half inches diameter. Place the tumbler on a flat surface, with nothing covering it. Fill the barrel three quarters of the way full with rocks to be polished. Turn on the machine.

  2. Add the "Grind" grit to the machine, or the package labeled "120-220" grit. Add six ounces for the UV-10 IND model and eight ounces for the UV-18 IND model. Pour water in the machine until you see the grit sticking to the rocks. Stop adding water and place the lid on the barrel.

  3. Run the machine for two to seven days continuously. Open the barrel several times per day and check to see if the machine is filling up with a muddy sludge slowing down the tumbler. If it is, add more water so that the machine will operate properly. When as much as you want of the rough outside of the rocks is removed, place the rocks in a colander. Wash the rocks and the barrel outside with a hose.

  4. Place the rocks back in the barrel, add the "Pre-polish," or "500F" grit. Add three ounces for the UV-10 IND model and four ounces for the UV-18 IND model. Turn on the machine. Add water until the grit sticks to the rocks. Run the polisher for three days, checking several times per day for a build up of mud, and adding more water if there is.

  5. Turn off the machine after three days. Place the rocks in a colander. Wash the rocks and the barrel outside with a hose. Place the rocks back in the barrel, add the "Polish" grit. Add three ounces for the UV-10 IND model and four ounces for the UV-18 IND model. Run the machine for three more days, checking several times per day for a build up of mud, and adding more water if there is.

  6. Place the rocks in a colander. Wash the rocks and the barrel outside with a hose. Place the rocks back in the barrel, add powdered detergent and water until there are thick suds. Turn on the machine for several hours.

  7. Turn off the machine, place the rocks in a colander. Wash the rocks and the barrel outside with hose.

References

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