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Rock tumbling, is there an economical substitution for grit & polish? .

I have vibrating & rotary tumblers. The commercial grit & polish I've been using, comes in a 4 step process. Is there a homemade grit or other options for tumbling rocks & gems?    Thank you

kingfish2325 days ago

Sand, which is mostly (if not completely) quartz. Quartz has a hardness of 7. You could tumble Amethyst, Quartz, and all other substances with a hardness of 7 or above for months and see no change at all.

rfmasen1 month ago

may I suggest Harbor Freight? They have discount grits, it may only be a dollar or to but it could be enough for you?

Snipekill986 months ago

I make my own grit which works fine but the only downside is that it take longer to polish than regular grit. I use a mixture of flour,sand,salt,and fine crushed rocks.

rickharris2 years ago
Lets analyze what you want:

1. Cheap polishing
2. A range of cheaper materials to polish stones varying from coarse to fine


OK None of this is tried BUT

There are lots of things round the house that are polishes. Some polish because they contain wax which fills in the cracks Some polish because the are abrasive. Metal polish.

So coarse polish - Some sharp sand from the builders merchant.

Followed by some round sand from the beach for a finer cut.

You could grade the sand by washing on a sloping rack just like the pan fro gold.

Sea shell tends to be softer because they are essentially chalk.

Down to the finest grit you probably have at home metal polish.

I can buy wax blocks loaded with grit at what I think is a very competitive price so if you go to an on line wholesaler you should be able to get polishing grits fairly cheaply.


Just as an aside you do filter off the grit when you clean out the tank don't you so you can use it again?? It isn't waste once it is used and should last for many operations. in fact all it does is effectively get finer.

Over all it doesn't look all that expensive - at least here in the UK.

http://www.littlegemsrockshop.co.uk/acatalog/Grit-for-Rough-Rock-Tumbling.html
canucksgirl2 years ago
The grit and polish you've been using is made of silicon carbide and is much like silica sand (used in the sandblasting industry). Its primarily made with quartz.

Polishing grit comes in the 4 step process that you're familiar with because its acting like various grits of sandpaper. You need a blend that's like coarse salt, a couple medium grits like sand and finally a grit that feels more like powder.

It is possible to make your own grits, but it does require a lot of manual labour to bring the material down to an even grit consistency, using screens to filter the material as you go. Having even one large grain within your finer blend will result in scratches.

You may want to consult a sandblasting company in your area and enquire about the products they use and find out where they are obtaining their material.
rickharris2 years ago
Try lining your tumbling pot with wet and dry paper such as you might use to rub paint down with - BUT choose a water proof one. Just a simple liner should produce reasonable results if you A) keep the volume of the contents low b) don;t expect a full professional finish as per the large range of grits normally used.

AND on the other hand the sea does a wonderful job with just a few hand fulls of sand!
Sand is an excellent idea. But it's got to be graded to size. Any larger chunks will just make scratches much deeper than the smaller grains.