|Tumbled star rose quartz from the Hogg mine.
Click any picture to enlarge .
Thanks to Robert Kyle for the photos of the Tumbles
that were done by Marcy Hess.
|Tumbling Hogg Mine Star Rose Quartz
I produce the Hogg Mine tumbled Rose Quartz pictured here according to the steps listed
below. While there are many other tumbling methods that one can use, what follows is
simply what has proven successful for me. In developing this process, I am greatly
indebted to Steve Hart, proprietor of The Little Red Store, whose book Modern Rock
Tumbling has completely transformed my methodology—and my finished stones! I
would undoubtedly still be tweaking the process but for Mr. Hart’s book and advice.
Tools and Materials used:
• Approximately 6+ lbs. Hogg Mine Rose Quartz
• Workforce 7” wet tile saw/stand with MK-225 “Hot Dog” diamond blade
• 1-Lortone 12 lb. double barrel (6 lb. capacity per barrel) rotary tumbler
• 1-Diamond Pacific MT-4SV Mini-Sonic vibratory tumbler (4 lb. barrel)
• Silicon Carbide Grits: 60/90 coarse grind; 220 fine grind; 600 sanding; 1000 pre-
polish; ultra-fine aluminum oxide polish.
• Approximately 6 lbs. mixed shapes/sizes uncharged ceramic media
1. Examine your rough. If your pieces are too large for tumbling, trim them to size with a
rock saw or wet tile saw. If your pieces exhibit surface fractures, saw them off. If a
medium-to-large sized piece has some inclusions or fractures yet is ideal in other
respects, saw off the included or fractured areas. Time spent with the saw at this stage
will decrease time spent at the coarse grind stage and result in high-quality finished
stones. I spent a great deal of time trimming excess material and fractures from these
stones. Note that some people knock off sharp edges and roughly shape the stones prior
to the rough grind stage by using the side of the saw blade or a lapidary grinder. If you
use a saw or lapidary grinder, please remember that you must always use water or oil with
the blade or water with the belts AND wear eye protection.
2. Begin with approximately 6 lbs or more of high-quality rose quartz. Wet down your
rough and examine each piece by holding it up to the sun or bright light. Avoid pieces
that are fractured throughout; instead, select pieces that display internal clarity with
minimal internal inclusions or fractures. While “salmon-pink” is the most highly valued
and most popular shade of Hogg Rose Quartz, it is helpful to remember that the paler,
darker, and white-streaked pieces make for beautiful tumbled stones as well. If you are
using two 6 lb. barrels, you should try to have a variety of stones that range in size from ½’’
3. If you are using two 6 lb. barrels, evenly divide your high-graded rough into two piles,
one for each of your barrels. Place your quartz in the tumbler barrels, adding enough
ceramic media at intervals so that the total barrel load is exactly 1’’ from the top of the
barrel (3’’ of rock/media, 1’’ of empty space). If you are using larger or smaller barrels,
adapt these instructions according to the directions included with your tumbling unit.
Add water and 60/90 silicon carbide grit per the directions stated in your tumbler’s Users
Manual and complete the assembly of your barrels. You are now ready to begin the
coarse grind/60-90 stage. Note: I had very little success in using plastic pellets as
filler/buffer media. My stones tended to chip, fracture, frost, and take much longer in
completing the coarse grind stage. These problems ceased when, per Mr. Hart’s
suggestion, I transferred over to uncharged ceramic media of mixed shapes and sizes.
4. It will take 3-5 weeks for the stones to achieve a somewhat rounded shape. Once a
week you must stop tumbling long enough to rinse, re-charge, and re-assemble your
barrels, as the 60/90 grit becomes relatively less effective after a week’s worth of rotary
tumbling. After 4 weeks at coarse grind I stop the process and do some “touch up” work
with the tile saw on any stones that still exhibit undesirable qualities (chips, fractures,
unwanted material). I then continue the coarse grind stage, rinsing, sorting, and re-
charging the barrels once a week, until I am pleased with the size and shape of the
stones. The rose quartz pictured here spent approximately 8 weeks at the coarse grind or
60/90 stage. If some stones finished early, I removed them from the batch and set them
5. Once I had enough stones finished with the coarse grind stage, I moved them to the
Mini-Sonic vibratory tumbler for the fine grind through polishing stages. Things really
speed up from this point forward—no more waiting for weeks at a time before moving on
to the next grinding stage:
• 220 fine grind: 4-5 days or two rotations of 3 days each
• 600 sanding stage: 3 days
• 1000 pre-polish stage: 3 days
• Polish stage: 3 days
• “Final rinse” stage: 1 day burnishing/cleaning in water and mild detergent (yes, it’s
worth the extra day)
I am truly indebted to Mr. Hart’s book, which describes cleaning the stones in between
stages, creating tools and methods for accurately measuring tumble loads, and much
more. As I wish to give credit where credit is due and not to appropriate ideas that are not
originally my own, I encourage you to check out Mr. Hart’s book, Modern Rock Tumbling,
as I did incorporate many of his suggestions for improving the quantity and quality of my
tumbling loads into my own process. Please note that this is an unsolicited endorsement
for Mr. Hart’s book.
Good luck, and may you see stars in your own tumbled Hogg Mine rose quartz sometime
|I asked Marcy how these nice looking
came to be nice looking stones !
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|Below are some of my ( Rodney's) tumbled polished stones.
These were tumbled in a rotary 12lb single barrel lortone
and finished in an ultravibe 10 vibratory tumbler.
Shown is Arizona petrifie CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE