Three things you should know before buying a rock tumbler
I am on the mailing list for a teacher supply store. I visited the store last year for "dabbers" that Batman was using in pre-school. And got signed up for the mailings. And emails. And text alerts. I'm a sucker.
Right before Christmas shopping time, I was looking through the catalogue and saw a hobby rock tumbler. And decided it was perfect. On our summer vacation, we had done the touristy gem mining and now have a large collection of raw stones. We'd get the rock tumbler for Christmas and be able to take those stones and turn them into jewelry and keychains and whatever.
I ordered it online, and didn't even open the shipping box until it was time to wrap. I didn't want any prying eyes to see it.
Christmas morning comes and we open the tumbler. It came with a bag of raw stones, four bags of tumbling grit, a guide to the stones, and instructions. And then the adventure began.
Here's what you need to know.
1. It takes at least a month.This isn't a quick activity. You take the stones through four rounds of tumbling with the different grits. And each round takes about a week. The kids don't seem to mind so much, they kind of forget about it until it's time to change the water and grit.
2. The grit does not agree with plumbing.This is a big one for us. The instructions recommend rinsing the used grit away outside so that it doesn't tear up your plumbing. No big deal. . . in the summer. But we got this for Christmas. In the Midwest. This put a halt on our tumbling. We got through two rounds before the weather didn't cooperate. But, Spring is almost here, so we'll get those rocks finished soon.
3. It is loud.The tumbler is a rubber material, so it does absorb some sound. But there is still a motor and a lot of rocks crashing into each other. It is not a quiet process. At first we had the tumbler in the kitchen because we didn't have anywhere else to put it. After about a week and a half, hubby moved it into the garage storage room, because we couldn't hear anything else. Did I mention it runs 24/7? Make sure you have a place to put it out of the way.
But, don't give up.These three things surprised us, and maybe they shouldn't have, but we had zero experience with tumbling rocks. But, our little budding geologist loves it. He enjoys sorting them and is excited to make them into things when they are done.
I was amazed at the transformation of the rocks after the first round. I was ready to stop there, but I really want to see what they look like when they are done.
If you were considering trying out this hobby (or you are now considering it), don't let this little list deter you. Just don't go in blind like we did.