The correct tumbler for beginning rock polishing?

Hello all rockhounds.

Before I get lost in the vast sea of search engines can any of you
help me choose the correct tumbler for beginning rock polishing?
It’s mostly for a hobby right now, I collect agates and other
interesting various rocks. What do I need to get started and who is a
good source? I’d be willing to take a used model if someone wants to
get rid of one.

Thanks, Margie -

For brands of rotary tumblers the good brands for small scale rock
tumbling is Lortone and Thumler. Avoid the ones sold by Harbor
Freight, toy stores, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and the ilk. They won’t
last through the first batch. Although I have heard of people buying
Harbor Freight tumblers for their barrels and tossing the mechanical

For more info on rock tumbling then you ever wanted to know check
out: - does a good job explaining the tumbling
process. - is the message board associated with the
Rock Tumbling Hobby board. There are a bunch of friendly rockheads
that are seriously into rock tumbling and other lapidary arts. I
count myself as one of the rockheads.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hello Margie,

Tumblers are sized by the capacity of the barrel. I started out with
a 3 lb tumbler that I purchased from Harbor Freight. It was $29.99, a
great bargain! However, the belt broke before my first load had been
finished. A trip to a vacuum repair store with the broken belt got me
a replacement, and it’s worked fine since. After that, I purchased a
6 lb size Lortone tumbler in Quartzsite. I got better results, have
completed quite a few loads, with no problems. I decided to keep the
3 lb size and use it for finishing. Kingsley North is a good source,
you can google Lapidary and get all kinds of websites t o visit. Hope
you enjoy your hobby! It certainly is a fascinating one!

Happy tumbling,