Bill Myers former supplier of Rapid Polish # 61 wanted to share extra tips on tumbling you may not know. “We cannot over stress the importance of proper separating media in all tumbling stages including polish. For separating media for crystals, woods, or sweetwaters, or that type of material, we use the India garnets, as they are nearer to the correct specific gravity, plus with those, you can polish out after using the separting media and sell them. We use approximately 35% garnets per barrel load. When tumbling cabs, we use a mixture of large and small ceramic bits, and glass marbles. Experiments we have done indicate that it will give you a better stone finish if there is enough fine separating media to prevent any possible battering of the stone against the others. This is usually approximately 35%, and should be as small as 1/4″ or less. This ratio works excellently for us when doing woods, amethyst crystals, Lake Superior agates and also broken flint pieces. For Apache tears, we use a mixture of approximately 25% large ceramic bits (media) and 25% small ceramic bits, and 50% glass marbles.” (Yes, the kind your kids love to play with). “75-80% media to stone is a good mixture for this. Separating media is important in both rotary or vibrator machines, and in all stages from day one to the last day of polish stage. Always add a bit of soap to the tumbler in all stages as this will help with washout. For the vibrator prepolish and polish stages, adding a bit of R.V. antifreeze will help abrasives to work more efficiently.(R.V. antifreeze has glycerin in it which is a water thickener.) For the rotary, on the first grind, do not add soda, add table salt and this will tend to reduce tendency for internal gas pressure. Rotary-first grind, minimum 21 days, for other grit stages, 7 days is fine. Vibrator for pre-contoured stones (preferably done in a rotary tumbler since the rough grinds tend to wear out the vibratory tumbler liners): 2 days in 400 silicon carbide, 2 days in 600 silicon carbide, 3 days at aluminum oxide 800 grit pre-polish, 1 day at TXP polish.” (“We find that the aluminum oxide, 800 grit is superior to S.C. (silicon carbide) for prepolish”) “When washing out roller barrel from first grind, save all slurry, include what is rinsed from barrel. After allowing to settle 15 minutes or so, pour off and dilute with water and pour off until you can see residual remains. Presence of this will tell you if you are grinding long enough to break grit down. Also might indicate using too much grit. We find that approximately 1 oz (grit) per pound of stone is ok for us. For vibrators, 1 tablespoon per 5 pounds. For cabs, we hand finish to 320 dry on 8″ disc, then to vibrator tumbler 2 days @ 600 grit, 3 days @800 grit, then 1 day TXP. This gives a good finish.” Bill Myers tumbler mesh bag: “A mesh bag is excellent for washout, as it allows one to both agitate and screen at the same time. These can easily be made using fiberglass screening cut into strips folded over and sewn up the sides with quilting tape to make a bag approx. 20″ X 15″. Approximately 5 pound loads can be placed in a bag in 1/2 bucket of water and by grasping bag by top and bottom, seesaw to wash. Hose off and do again in bucket 2. Hose off and after bucket 3, and it will be clean.” MORE NOTES FROM BILL:Remember: cushioning your material is the KEY to better,faster tumbled stones! The softer the material, the greater the need for cushioning. For agates, jaspers, etc. cushioning of 35% ratio is recommended. For tumbling flats 75% cushioning is recommended. A cheap cushioning material is broken windshields (tempered glass). Most of the shops just throw these away.” Bill tumbles this glass one day to clean it up before using with his stones. Thanks Bill and happy retirement!