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Warm Regards,
John Galt

How to Polish Rocks By Hand

Polishing Rocks by Hand
How to Polish Petoskey Stones

Rocks can be polished by hand using progressively finer grades of sandpaper.

  • Start by selecting a soft stone such as onyx, wonderstone rhyolite, a petoskey stone, a concretion, calcite, limestone, dolomite, flourite, or a similar stone with a hardness of about 3-4 on the Mohs hardness scale. Harder stones can be polished by hand, but it will be a much longer process.
  • Use a small hammer and/or chisel to remove any large protrusions from the stone, and form it into the approximate final shape. It is hard to polish inside indentations, so you are better off using a stone without indentations. (Gloves and safety glasses highly recommended.)
  • Rub the stone on a slab of concrete to break off any small protrusions.
  • Round the rock further by rubbing it on about a 50 grain sandpaper, until it is the shape that you would like it to be when finished.
  • Use a finer grade of sandpaper, about a 150, to remove the scratches left by the coarse sandpaper.
  • Use a finer grade of sandpaper, about a 300 to 600, to remove the scratches left by the previous stage.
  • Rub the rock on about a 1500 grit sandpaper or some leather or denim with a little bit of polish and water on it until it has a high lustre shine. Any powdered polish should work fine. You may get a small tube of polish at most any hardware store that sells dremel tools. The stone may take on the color of the polish so a red rougue might color the stone red.
If I have tumbled a rock in my tumbler and it just won't take a good shine because it is too soft. It can often be shined up really nicely with the polish on leather or the finest sandpaper.

I highly recommend that the sandpaper and polish be damp so that dust will not fly all over the place. Rock dust can be hazardous.

Hand Polished Rock William Sent Photos
William sent me this photo of a fascinating basalt that he polished by hand. He estimates the hardness at 6 to 6.5 on the Moh's scale. He estimates it took 3 weeks.
Seems like too much work. Can you just polish my rocks for me?
Yes. I am delighted to polish your rocks for you. For details please visit my Custom Rock Polishing page.
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