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Rock Tumbler Polishing Compound



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Rock Tumbler Polish:



Polishing compound is a very fine powder designed to buff off any fine scratches left behind by the prepolish grit and produce a bright, lustrous shine on the surface of tumbled rocks.

The most recommended polish is aluminum oxide, often called "alumina" or "three-micron alumina" because of its size. The reason for its recommendation is price (other polishing compounds are very expensive). Most people try to polish with aluminum oxide first and go to another polish if the aluminum oxide fails. Aluminum oxide does a very good job of polishing most materials and most people will be satisfied with the results. If you don't get good results then try one of the more expensive polishes.

We have used aluminum oxide for hard materials such as quartz, jasper, agates, petrified wood, aventurine, tiger eye, and many other materials. Other tumbling polishes include tin oxide, cerium oxide and tripoli.

If you purchase tumbling rough from an internet dealer or a rock shop they can frequently tell you what polishing compound to use (many of them will recommend a polishing compound on their website). They will usually sell the type of polish that you will need for the rocks that you purchase.

Rock Tumbling instructions chart
This chart shows suggested grit and polish amounts used for different sizes of tumbler barrels. For example: in a six-pound tumbler barrel add twelve tablespoons of polishing compound for Step 4 of the tumbling process. These amounts are suggestions only. After you get experience with your tumbler and different materials you might experiment with more or less polish and obtain better results. (NOTE: These recommendations are for rotary tumblers. Vibratory tumblers require different amounts of grit and different sizes.)

If you are having trouble getting a high quality polish. The problem is usually one of four things: 1) grit contamination (Look at the rocks with a hand lens. If you see tiny scratches then the barrel and rock were probably not cleaned carefully between tumbling steps - go back to the medium grit and progress through the steps again); 2) dull finish (run the rocks in the tumbler with lots of soap for a one-day burnishing step); 3) wrong polish (some materials need a specific polish - consult a rock shop, friend or experiment); and 4) some rocks do not polish well no matter what you do.

Now you are ready for Rock Tumbling Instructions
Rock tumbler polishes
Several different compounds are used for the polishing and pre-polishing steps of the rock tumbling process. tin oxide, tripoli, aluminum oxide and cerium oxide are some of the most commonly used polishing compounds.


Rock tumbler polishes
View of a three-pound tumbler barrel just opened after running aluminum oxide polish with rocks and plastic pellets for several days..


Rock
Tumbler
Menu
Rock Tumbler Home Selecting A Tumbler Instructions - Part 1 Instructions - Part 2
Rotary Tumblers Vibratory Tumblers Tumbling Supplies Kid's Tumblers
Rough Grit Polish Media
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