10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TUMBLE YOUR FIRST ROCK
by Jim Pence
Welcome to rock tumbling for beginners. I have been tumbling for about six years now, and it’s been the most fun hobby I’ve ever had. I love watching rough, dirty-looking rocks transform into beautiful gemstones, and I never get tired of it. I wish I’d started years ago.
Rock tumbling was one of those things that I had always wanted to do but kept putting off. Finally, I decided if I didn’t start soon I was never going to. So, this series of blog posts is going to be about how to get started in rock tumbling.
I’m going to keep them brief and try to just give you some basic points so that you can get started in this hobby without too much discouragement or frustration. Rock tumbling can be frustrating if you make some of the wrong choices that I made when I started, and it can get frustrating quickly. I’m hoping to help you avoid that.
CHOOSE YOUR TUMBLER WISELY!
I’m going to give you 10 things to know before you tumble your first rock. There are a lot of things to learn with this hobby, but some are more important than others. The first one is: choose your tumbler wisely. There are all kinds of tumblers out there: rotary and vibratory, inexpensive and expensive. How do you even know which one to choose?
START WITH ROTARY
My recommendation is to start a mid-priced rotary tumbler. Vibratory tumblers are for more advanced users. Stick with rotary for now. Don’t go for the cheapest tumbler you can find, because the inexpensive ones tend to break down. Often, they’re more toys than tools. And when you’re a beginner, a tumbler that breaks down all the time can be super frustrating.
You also don’t want to buy the most expensive tumbler you can find. Rock tumbling can be an expensive and frustrating hobby at times. If you’re just getting started, you don’t know that you’re going to want to keep doing it for the rest of your life. So, why spend hundreds of dollars on a tumbler? The place to start is with a mid-priced tumbler.
RECOMMENDED ROCK TUMBLER: LORTONE OR THUMLER’S
There are two brands I recommend: Lortone or Thumler’s , but in this series, I’ll be talking most about the brand that I have experience with: Lortone. The model that I use is a Lortone 33 B, but the Lortone 3A is the model I’d recommend starting with. You can get it for $75 to $100 most of the time, and it’s a good starter tumbler. It’s solid and will give you the kind of reliability that you need. That said, I’ve heard good things about Thumler’s. If you stick with either of these brands, you should be good.
So your assignment for the first week (and remember all of these tips are before you tumble your first rock, so don’t run out and just buy something just yet). I want you to take a little time to research tumblers. The following websites should give you some information to start with:
Next week, we’ll continue with the next thing that you need to know before you tumble your first rock.