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Tips, Tactics, and Techniques

Rock Tumbling

Each rock tumbler has it’s own recommendations for the best way to tumble stones. We recommend you keep in mind the hardness and size of your stones and check your tumbler at least once a day to make sure you are not taking off more material than you like.

As far as a generic tumbling process, we recommend the following:

1 week using 60/90 grit

1 week using 120/220 grit

2 weeks using pre-polish

3 weeks using polish

Vibrating Tumbler Final Polish Solution - By Inga Holmquist

For a 4.5 pound capacity vibratory. The stones are just damp - no standing water is allowed. Add a couple squirts of liquid soap (dish or hand soap, just something cheep), a quarter teaspoon of psyllium fiber (Metamucil) and just a quarter teaspoon of 500 grade aluminum oxide powder makes a slurry that acts as a pre-polish first, then breaks down at the perfect rate to become it's own polish. The whole step finishes the stones from coarse grind to final polish in just 24 hours.

Saw Maintenance

Diamond Pacific has a really good article (linked below) that explains basic saw maintenance techniques. These techniques are applicable to either trim or slab saws with some slight modifications. Always refer to your saw manual if you have one, and if not, most manuals are available online. If you have no idea who the manufacture of your machine is, we have provided a link to all Lortone instruction manuals below.



From Becky Conwell

The Saw kept freezing up at a certain point, different materials. I took it apart, re-aligned the bearings, sharpened the blade...all to no avail, the saw kept stopping. One of my old rock mentors the motor drive belt looser than the carriage drive belt?!?  Umm, why yes it is?!?! If you blade is spinning slower than the carriage...the carriage will ride up the blade, make it off-kilter, and freeze you blade up. Adjust your belts to match and your saw will cut like butter again.

Cleaning Crystals

The following video is an awesome informational video of how to clean crystals using a cleaner you can pick up at any local grocery store.

Make Your Own Rock Holder - By John Engel

The rock can be held in place using water glass (sodium silicate.)

 Water glass is available at some drug stores and Seattle pottery.

This is for use in saws that use an oil lubricant only, not recommended for water types.


Fabricate a cup ether with wood or 3D printed cup, should be about .15” deep.

Fasten the cup to a wood block that fits into the saws holding vice.

Pour water glass into the cup then place the rock to be cut into the cup.


Let cure for about 3 or 4 days, until the water glass is hard and does run.


After cutting the rock, you can dissolve the water glass by soaking it in water (may take 4 or 5 days).

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