Does anyone do any rockhounding?

  • Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2111628

    If you want a cheaper tumbler harbor freight has a twin drum that is decent and it comes with a few extra belts. I always used mine in the garage so I didn’t have to listen to it in the house. Do your research and learn how to load the drums. You want them to be the right level and use the right amount of grit. I always would add ceramic pellets to the drum also.

    You need to be patient because this process is gonna take about a month long from start to finish.

    I prefer to keep mine unpolished because the polishing steps will make the rocks a lot smaller by the time you are done

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2111631

    We have them all over the house as decorations

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    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2111634

    I found this one. I’ll keep it in mind.

    After doing some research, I’ll plan on a month minimum. Making sure to run rocks through the first stage multiple times until they are smooth all over.

    I’m going to try the plastic beads this time but I’ll probably buy some ceramic beads in the near future.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2111636

    We have them all over the house as decorations

    Wow, those are nice. That’s sort of my plan. Would like to make some nice decorative wood bowls to hold them. The wife can put candles in if she wants.

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2111643

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Coletrain27 wrote:</div>
    We have them all over the house as decorations

    Wow, those are nice. That’s sort of my plan. Would like to make some nice decorative wood bowls to hold them. The wife can put candles in if she wants.

    yea my girlfriend has them all over in her pots of plants in the house

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2111650

    Here’s some more in a big wood bowl

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    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2111654

    Cool stuff! Hopefully we can find some this summer. The kids will be excited to find agates like those.

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2111655

    I have a lot more also. Once you start looking for them and finding them it gets addicting! Every time you see some river rock landscaping your gonna want to take a look in it woot

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2123295

    We’ve been finding some cool stuff close to home plus a trip to the north shore again.

    With the really crappy spring it’s been a great way to get outside. The kids ask almost every day if we are going agate hunting. It’s almost turning into an obsession for us.

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    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2123358

    Nice finds. Yea it gets kind of addicting and before you know if your looking through any little patch of river rock landscaping you see jester

    robby
    Participant
    Quad Cities
    Posts: 2673
    #2123423

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Coletrain27 wrote:</div>
    We have them all over the house as decorations

    Wow, those are nice. That’s sort of my plan. Would like to make some nice decorative wood bowls to hold them. The wife can put candles in if she wants.

    Do folks still use ground walnut or coconut hulls?

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2123433

    Do folks still use ground walnut or coconut hulls?

    Never heard of that for rocks. I’ve heard of it for sandblasting but rocks need water in the drum while polishing so I don’t think that stuff would work

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2123791

    Do folks still use ground walnut or coconut hulls?

    I think I’ve heard of using them for vibratory tumblers. Most seem to lean toward actual tumbling media as it works best when used correctly.

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2123794

    i have a vibrating tumbler and a normal spinning drum tumbler. ive always used the same media in my vibrating tumbler with a little bit of water

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2133509

    More.

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    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 2646
    #2133578

    freshly graded gravel roads are a gold mine for agates. I wait for the first rain after my road gets graded and will find a few each time I walk the dog.

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2133581

    freshly graded gravel roads are a gold mine for agates. I wait for the first rain after my road gets graded and will find a few each time I walk the dog.

    I’m assuming you must live in the northern part of the state?

    I was in lake city this last weekend and walked along the shore looking in the water and didn’t find anything spectacular

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2133654

    I’ve always been fascinated ancient human history. I love that kind of stuff. Would love to find an arrowhead someday.

    Seems like the hotspot for agates is somewhere in the Mora area and northeastward toward Lake Superior. I believe the SE part of the state may be one area with fewer agates because it is essentially the driftless area where glaciers didn’t deposit much if any minerals from the Lake Superior region.

    The gravel road near my house has an unusual amount of large aggregate in the 1-2” range for some reason. It’s been a gold mine for us especially after they grade the road.

    If anyone knows any gravel pits that might give permission to wonder around I’d be very grateful if I could get their contact info.

    I should post some pics of the rocks we’ve tumbled lately. Jasper is fairly abundant and can produce some really cool looking rocks.

    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 2646
    #2133659

    I’m assuming you must live in the northern part of the state?

    I was in lake city this last weekend and walked along the shore looking in the water and didn’t find anything spectacular

    You’re correct sir, I am just north of the Duluth area. I didn’t know gravel road picking for agates was a thing until I’d routinely find people oddly walking down my road with buckets shortly after the road was graded. After talking with one of them and seeing how many agates were in their bucket, I hopped on the bandwagon. A rain shortly after the road grading makes finding agates much easier.

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 10111
    #2133669

    Some finds from the last couple months. Got permission to go to an active gravel pit a few weeks ago. Most of what we’ve been finding have been on gravel roads near my house. It’s been pretty cool.

    Seriously thinking of getting that harbor freight tumbler now.

    Matt, if you ever want some of those tumbled to see how they turn out prior to buying a tumbler, Let me know. I’d be happy to tumble them for you. The tumbler is sitting on the floor in by laundry room waiting for something to tumble. There is a place over in princeton that sells rock media. http://minnesotalapidarysupply.com/ I need to get over there and but some to get the tumbler back fired up. Its been awhile since I last did a batch

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2133679

    Thanks for the tips and offer fishthumper. I actually have been using the small NatGeo tumbler since Christmas. It gets the job done but it’s small and rotates at more than double the speed that any other quality tumblers turn.

    I’m just looking to get a bigger one where I can just keep it running year round.

    My neighbor actually just bought the harbor freight one and can say I’m pleasantly surprised at the quality of that unit compared to mine.

    I’ve been buying tumbling media from rockshed.com. Seems like reasonable pricing to me. Shipping has been fast.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2139268

    So I wound up buying the Harbor Freight tumbler and the motor seized up in the first week. The plastic bushings on the drive rods seem to get gunked up with wear from the plastic even though they were oiled per the instructions. I may have had the belt tensioned too tight and wouldn’t allow it to slip when the shafts seized up.

    Took it back and got a new one. This time left the belt a little looser and the drive rods stopped turning after about 36 hours. This time the belt was slipping on the motor so I didn’t fry the motor. I replaced the crappy plastic bushings with flanged ball bearings and it has been running perfect for about 2 weeks. Now the warranty is voided so I hope the motor doesn’t seize up again.

    My neighbor and I took an afternoon one weekend and cut a few rocks open with a tile saw. Here are a couple agates we found this year I’ve been waiting to cut and polish.

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    Gregg Gunter
    Participant
    Posts: 794
    #2139333

    Those look really good as is. Polished will be awesome

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2139559

    Went out on a local gravel road last evening. Found some beauties.

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    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2142748

    Found a nice spot on the Rum River. Kids had a blast catching crayfish.

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    Gregg Gunter
    Participant
    Posts: 794
    #2142770

    Wow you have a honey hole for agates there!

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 11203
    #2142831

    Thanks. I’ve started using onXhunt to scout out public property for potential rock hunting spots. I flag lakes and river shorelines, spots on the satellite image that look like gravel piles/pits and some gravel roads near my house. I’ve probably got over 100 spots flagged to explore at some point. I needed a new hobby like a hole in the head but at least it’s a cheap hobby.

    buschman
    Participant
    Pool 2
    Posts: 1586
    #2142845

    I just finished a project with a buddy that makes the epoxy tables. I have pounds of smaller agates and nothing to do with them so we made this. Turned out pretty cool..

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    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 4771
    #2142854

    Very cool. Where did you buy the epoxy? I wanted to make something similar with rifle and pistols casings.

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