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Sunday, November 24 2019

A rotary rock tumbler is the most popular and least expensive type on the market today. It has a system of durable rubber barrels that rotate around a metal cylinder to tumble and polish the rocks inside. They are easy to use and create smooth, polished stones in 4-6 weeks. Finished rocks will have a rounded shape regardless of what they looked like when you started. Some models have multiple barrels so you can tumble two different types of rock, or process two batches at different stages of the tumbling process. The opposite type is called a vibrating rock tumbler.
Lortone QT12 rotary rock tumbler kit
Even though all tumblers do the same basic job, the size can affect your results. Not only do larger rock tumblers require more rock to operate efficiently, they also consume more grit and polish. Buy a small tumbler if you are just getting started or plan to tumble smaller loads. Buy a mid-size tumbler if you need to tumble larger stones (2-2.5 inches) or have larger amounts. Most tumblers are rated by weight capacity.

For example, a Lortone 3-pound rock tumbler will rotate three pounds of weight indefinitely. To polish rocks that measure 1.5 inches in diameter or larger, choose a rock polisher with at least a 6-pound capacity. To polish smaller stones, a three-pound capacity tumbler will work very well. Also follow these tips:

  • Make sure the rough stones are all the same hardness, but are various sizes. Tumbling different sizes of rough in the same batch produces better results than tumbling rock of a single size. Don't use rocks that are cracked, have deep voids or have extremely irregular shapes.

  • The barrel must always be at least 1/2 full for the tumbler to operate properly. Be careful not to overload your machine or the motor will burn out. Barrels more than 3/4 full (including grit and water) may not allow enough tumbling room inside, and may be too heavy and burn out the motor. A 3 pound tumbler has a motor designed to tumble a barrel that weighs up to 3 pounds. Weigh your barrel after adding the water if you are not certain.  About four pounds of tumbling rough and coarse grit are the perfect load for a six pound tumbler barrel.
  • Clean the inside and outside rims of the barrel and the edges of the lid carefully. Make sure the surfaces that will form the seal are clean and dry. Then place the lid on the barrel and seal the barrel. Put the barrel on the tumbler and start the motor.
  • If the barrel ever leaks, stop the machine, remove the lid and re-clean the surfaces of the lid and barrel that make the seal. Double-check that they are clean and dry. Replace the lid securely and proceed.
  • If you have a double-barrel tumbler, you might need both barrels loaded for the tumbler to function properly. Fill both barrels with batches of coarse grind of the same hardness so that they can be combined later on. One barrel can then run a batch of fine grind while the other prepares more rough.
  • Do not pour used grit or slurry don't the drain! Discard in the trash instead.

Selecting Beach Pebbles for Your Rock Tumbler

One of the reasons people buy their first rock tumbler is so that they can try to recapture the beauty of sea-wet stones that they saw on a beach during their vacation. If you will be traveling to a beach or live near one, collecting beach pebbles to take home and tumble would seem like a real advantage over buying tumbling rough. After all, the surfaces have been rounded and smoothed by the waves into pleasing shapes, and it looks as if the first step in tumbling— rough grinding to round down the sharp edges— has already been done by Mother Nature. There are two things to watch out for, though.

The first is that sand and wave action can smooth granite or sandstone to the point where it looks polished when wet. The process can't be taken any further. Leave these coarse-grained stones on the beach for others to admire since these two materials don't do well in a rock tumbler. The outside of pebbles can be deceiving, so you may have to break a few open to find out for sure what it's made of.

The second is the tendency to collect large pebbles that are roughly the same size and shape. This is not what you really want to do because successful tumbling requires a variety of sizes of rocks to go in the same batch.
Treat beach pebbles as you would any other material. Select them on the basis of interesting color or pattern and make sure they are made of the same material, or at least the same hardness. Beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are where you are most likely to find semiprecious stones like jasper. Agates are also common. If you visit those places and have good luck beach combing, all you will have to do is finish what the first tumblers— the waves— have begun. Browse Lortone Rock Tumblers and supplies here.


Posted by: Denise AT 04:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 04 2019

gold miningOne of the most frequently asked questions has got to be “What signs should I look for when out prospecting that will indicate good gold in the ground?”  Unfortunately, there is no simple “one-size-fits-all” answer. Gold occurs in so many different types of deposits, therefore, indicators in one place for one type of deposit don’t always work very well for another. But in general, one of the very best places to look for gold today are in places where old-time miners successfully found it in the past. Sometimes there are very obvious signs of their digging and mining. Old-timers never got all of the gold, and they for sure didn’t have the arsenal of tools and equipment like we have today! The following man-made indicators of previous prospecting might help in your modern-day quest for gold:

Ground cuts are basically the trenches in the ground from which ground sluicing gets its name. These narrow trenches carried the water and gravels to the sluice box, and sometimes they were the sluice boxes themselves. Sometimes gold that escaped the sluice box is left within these cuts.

Stacked rocks. In narrow and steep locations there was little room for the miners to move the rocks away. Instead, miners of yesteryear were forced to stack the rocks into walls alongside the stream where they were working. Sometimes unworked gravels lie underneath these stacked rock walls. Keep an eye out for situations where these walls sit on gravel and not on the bedrock itself.

Piles of rocks. In many locations the gravels contain rocks that are too large to pass through the sluice. These big rocks and large cobbles are tossed into piles. The bedrock between them can be very productive, and if they are not too large and deep, you will find that the bedrock underneath them is often productive. It is worthwhile to roll the rocks aside and check out what is underneath.

Areas stripped of ground cover and top soils were often left behind as the mining operations processed these materials for their gold content. Sometimes tiny nuggets will get caught in the rough surface of the bedrock and this can be prime territory for metal detectors designed for nugget hunting.

Ponds and dams. Small-scale ground sluice operations and even larger hydraulic mining operations simply could not afford to bring water from long distances, so they built ponds close by to hold their water above the workings. When you find them, check out the nearby placer workings.

Drywasher piles. In the desert where sluicing was not possible, dry washers were used to process the gravels. These leave distinctive piles of coarse and fine screened materials that are right next to each other. Dry washers are not as efficient as wet sluice operations, so check these piles for nuggets that might have been missed.

Hydraulic Mine Workings. When the old miners found large deposits of gravel caused by erosion, they would dig trenches to bring nearby water to the gravel and use the water pressure to wash away the gravels. Check any exposed bedrock very thoroughly because they frequently missed narrow fissures and cracks that can hold nuggets. Exposed bedrock in and around old workings is always worth checking out.

Although this is not a complete list, it may provide clues about where to look for gold that you may not have considered. To avoid disappointment, remember that an indicator in one location may not hold true in another location. For example, visible vein quartz on the ground is a valuable indicator in some districts, yet you might find a spot where there is so much vein quartz scattered everywhere that it becomes worthless when trying to pinpoint gold. Other places that have good gold might be completely devoid of any visible vein quartz.

One of the great secrets of successful prospectors is that they get out into the field often and work hard at searching. Your mining equipment will not find any gold while stored in your house or garage.  Get yourself out in the field as often as possible and enjoy it to the fullest!

Posted by: Denise AT 05:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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