Tumbling glass - questions

hallerJanuary 25, 2005

I read in the FAQ about tumbling glass... and my question is, what is the purpose of tumbling? I assume that it helps remove the cutting oil... does it also remove any loose glass bits and help smooth the cut edges? Any other purpose?

And how do you know when you are done tumbling? :-)

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KimmyStar

Haller,
The purpose for tumbling is to smooth the edges and break off the extremely sharp points which can reallly cut up fingers.

Kimmy

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 7:32AM
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haller

Thanks, Kimmy... I really appreciate your taking the time to answer all my questions! Will tumbling also take off any lines you've drawn with a sharpie... or does a person need to remove the lines individually/manually? I am used to marking tile, and for that I use a grease pencil (wetsaw removes sharpie ink) so I am assuming the tumbling will do a nice job of removing any lines left on the glass...?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 4:09PM
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KimmyStar

It'll probably remove most of the lines. You might have to touch up a few.
Kimmy

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 9:32PM
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glasser_coastalnow_net

Another good reason to tumble glass is to "frost" and round the glass so it resembles beach glass. I have a 3# rock tumbler, fill it 2/3 full of glass shards, just barely cover with water, add 2 Tablespoons of course grit tumbling medium. Then let tumble for 24 hours. Results are satin-y smooth glass. Pretty much like the "beach" glass Michael's sells for 7 bucks for a 12 oz pkg. Pam

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 8:24AM
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stxmona

Hey Pam...what kind of tumbler do you have?? I keep looking at them on ebay and such but don't know enough about them to buy one without seeing. I have tons of scrap glass and the "seaglass" look is so popular here..that I could love to make my own. Yes, I do pick up my own but I hate to use it cuz it is precious to me!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 10:00AM
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glasser_coastalnow_net

I have the 20 dollar cheapie from Harbor Freight, in fact I have 3 of them, I can tumble some glass now, hahaha.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rock tumblers

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 10:30AM
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mzclassic

Hey ladies, you don't have to buy a tumbler. I went and bought an electric ice cream maker. Took the paddle out of the center and put some water to cover the glass and some diswashing soap. Then I just tilt the whole thing against something and let it rip for about 30 minutes. Works great. I think I only paid like $10 for the ice cream maker at wally world last year. Could also find one at a YS or TS.
Donna

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 9:43AM
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TexasAnne

Hi, I am glad this came up. I have tried to tumble stained glass in a bowl with soap and water and my experience is that the glass ends us with little chips in most of the pieces. Has anyone else had this to happen? How do you get around that? I only tumble it for a few minutes.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 9:57AM
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Pam Takacs

No, that has not happened to me.

I have used like a cool whip bowl with a lid and added water and a tad of soap and just shook it until the sharp edges were worn. (also throw some old globs in it for more action). Is that what you mean, long day dense here. You might not have enough glass in the bowl, it needs to be at least 2/3 full. the glass more or less rubs against each other and wears down the sharp edges. This method does not work to make beach glass though.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 4:55PM
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hfollmer_midrivers_com

I have just recently bought a rock tumbler and when I ran across this forum I was fasinated to see that we could also tumble glass. I live in the midwest and there for have never heard of beach glass. Can someone tell me what types of glass can be tumbled to represent beach glass? What steps do you use? i.e.. How small should the pieces be when starting and if several colors are tumbled together would we still get something pretty?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 12:29PM
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rbwoodguys_aol_com

where can i get an electric barrel tumbler to place pieces of broken glass or tile to smooth out edges for mosaic purposes?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 1:56PM
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scooterbug

Walmart sells bags of tumbled glass for cheap by where the globs, knobs , seashells and half marbles are in the floral dept.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 9:46PM
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rj9l_webtv_net

I want to tumble broken up wine bottles to smooth the edges to use the shards on a garden path. Have seen some that were done in a cement mixer, a dog could walk on them. The "owner" wasn't sure how they were made. Any suggestions re water, ?sand or grit, etc. Have a 2 cu ft mixer. Thanx for any help. jeannine

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 12:18AM
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ss_ss_com

Hello. I heard I may be able to tumble glass without grit...is this true...what will I get. I just want to know before I buy a tumbler for my intended art piece look.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 11:31PM
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karen_wuvie_net

You all have no idea how happy I was to see this
thread. I've been digging up information for days
on end about tumbling glass!

Hope those of you who originally posted will come
back to this thread. I look forward to all of your
fabulous tips!

Karen

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 12:39PM
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jeanlong

found this thread a bit late I guess....I am interested in breaking up all the old glass bottles I have (blue, green, brown, clear) so I can use it in my garden instead of buying rock. I read you can do it with water to keep the gloss on the glass, or add grit to make it look like beach glass. Does this really work OK? What's the best tumbler device to buy to do really large batches at one time? a cement mixer? any advice greatly appreciated...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 3:02AM
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flagtruck

I use the 2cu ft cement mixer avail at Harbor Freight. I fill it about 1/4 full with broken shards, glass, stones or what ever the soup of the day is, I add about 2 cups of mason's sand (white) add water to cover contents and turn on, Mostly I tumble for 1-2 hours. This works great and saves wear and tear on my small tumblers. I have burned out two small ones. Keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 6:00AM
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texaswild

Well hey, FLAG - glad to see you back. Yeah, that one at Harbor Frieght is a nice size at around $100. JEAN - some people use ice cream freezers too. Take out the dasher, tilt the freezer slightly on it's side. I bought an electric one recently and don't like it cuz it stops b/f the cream is as hard as I like it, and I'm gonna turn it into a tumbler for shards. NT has a garden project in which she's making beach glass - she'll offer advice on that. Takes a long time to polish rocks and make beach glass.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 10:01AM
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galaura217

Can I tumbler windshield glass. Have a free source very close to home and thought maybe I'd try it. What do you think?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 12:25AM
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texaswild

Interesting to see these old threads pop up from time to time. The windshield I brought home once was vicious! It was stuck together w/something so tough that it wouldn't come apart, and the shards are VERY dangerous. Why would you WANT to tumble it? You may be under the impression that the crash glass a lot of us are using in mosaics is windshield glass - it isn't. We're using the window glass - no need to tumble, cuz it breaks so easily, and would be too small to work with. It's not sharp.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 6:45AM
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icheer

Zombie thread lives :-)

Since it's been revived, let me tell you gals that yesterday I ran across faux beach glass at Dollar Tree, as well as glass globs and glass squiggles for - you guessed it - one dollar per 1 lb bag. You can't buy the glass and the tumbler for that price.

re Harbor Freight tumblers - I had horrible luck with them. I bought one a month or so back and went through four belts in a weekend (at $3 per belt!) and finally got disgusted with the entire mess and brought it back for a full refund. The folks at Harbor Freight asked me if perhaps I'd overfilled the containers and that's why the belts kept breaking, but I had pulled out my trusty bathroom scale to make sure I didn't exceed the recommended weight so that wasn't it. Perhaps just a bad batch of belts? I dunno, but it was more hassle than it was worth.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 8:25AM
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mmqchdygg

icheer- I found that stash last week, too...got me some rocks, ovals, and beach glass. I'll def. be in there more often now!!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 8:53AM
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klinger

The tumbler I was going through belts on was from Harbor Freight. My friend at work took a good look at it and one of the plastic pulleys had a little rough spot on it where the belt went. He filed it away, reassembled it and now it is awesome. I guess that little rough spot was just wearing through the belt,
Cindy

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 10:02AM
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galaura217

Mama's Minerals.com has belts for tumblers on sale for 1.75 each. You can only get 4 at a time, but get free shipping. I just ordered 4 and got a "code" by e-mail that will give me free shipping on my next order if done before Oct. 31, 2007. This was the cheapest place I could find. Anyone know of a better place?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 3:21PM
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suziebug

I used the cool whip method suggested by pammadeit. GREAT results. I had bought a harbor freight tumbler, the bins wre so tight I couldt get them open to get the glass and grit in..so took it back. Cool whip method for me... I used it on stained glass peices..and it took all the sharpies off..and didnt hurt the irridecent ones!
HUGE THANKS to pammadeit ! Suziebug

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 10:16PM
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suziebug

when using the cool whip container to tumble glass or china..I only shook it during comercials for a total of 10 minutes... that was enough to take the sharp edges off.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:06PM
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pruney

I'm new at this . What is the best way to tumble broken bits of china to get smooth edges?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 4:35PM
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concretenprimroses

Does the coolw hip method work on china?
tia
kathy

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:22PM
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Calamity_J

I have a rock tumbler from HarborFrieght, that Slow sent me(Bless Her!!!) and I am sooo happy with it!!! I tumble glass, china and only add a drop of dish soap, just covered by water and tumble for 1/2hr, and it's ready!!! I LOVE when the edge isn't killer sharp!!! I haven't bothered to tumble till it's beach glass.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:33PM
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concretenprimroses

Sorry, just was re reading and see that cool whip method works for china too. I'm so glad since I wasn't ready to lay out money for a rock tumbler (yet!?)
Thank you for this thread. Ice cream mixer method is interesting also. I'll have to keep my eye out this summer.
kathy

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:32AM
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texasfern

Lots of good information here!
I am not nearly as prolific as most, so I just keep one of those cake frosting containers at my sink with glass or china in it, top on of course. Everytime I go to the sink, I shake it a bit. I especially like to keep the little pcs left over from cutting glass in there. After I get the smoothness I need, I just put them in another container so when I need them, they are done.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 10:51AM
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barefootin

Ah! Now maybe I will get brave enough to do something with the thousands of plates and pounds of scrap stained glass I have been saving! Very helpful thread! Thank You!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 11:21AM
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dd45529_yahoo_com

I understand that you can use colored wine bottles for the glass. What I don't know...do you have to use a glass cutter and make uniform pieces, or can I smack the bottle with a hammer? I just want to try some of the landscaping ideas I've seen recently on DIY network. Hate to buy the glass as it is expensive and I have a lot of colored bottles.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 3:10PM
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texaswild

I've used bottle glass. Sometimes I smack the bottle - just to get the bottoms. I used the bottoms on a project. I've also put the bottle on the tile saw, and cut rings. You can also nip the shards w/a wheeled nipper to make shaped tiles. You can use an electric ice cream freezer to tumble off the sharp edges. I tilt the freezer in my sink, cover the glass and about an inch or two more w/water, tumble for 30 or 40 min. CALAMITY puts in a little dish soap to clean the glass as it tumbles.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 8:38AM
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Calamity_J

Yup, I add dish soap as I usually have used a glass cutter(so cutter oil gets on the glass)to cut the glass, I only tumble for 15-20min...too impatient!lol! Just takes the sharpness off and I'm ready to go! Next,I run it in a strainer under hot water to heat the glass up and so it dries faster that way and it's ready to go!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:46AM
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texasblu

hi, i have never tumbled anything, but, am very interested
in this sea glass look.
is there a "how to" on how to do this? like what kind of
grit? do i polish after?
thanks so much

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:40AM
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texaswild

IF I want to tumble glass - seldom - mostly for bottle glass - I use an old ice cream freezer - tilted in my sink. For bottle glass I tumble about 30 min. For regular stained glass - 20 min. You can Google for "how tos". When I was researching tumbling, I read that for the sea glass look it takes hours to get to that point - tumbled w/grit. I'm sure there's lots of info for you on Google.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 8:52AM
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concretenprimroses

I see this got bumped up early this month, but it was on the last page again! I'm pretty sure someone asked questions about this recently so "BUmP"!
Kathy

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:22PM
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wackyweeder

My 2 cents-to take off the sharp edges you dont need grit. and if you drive a lot-simple fill plastic jars or a 5 gal bucket about 1/3 full and go about your business. By the weekend when you can play, its done.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 2:46PM
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concretenprimroses

that's a great idea. I assume you cover it with water and then let the car shake it.
Kathy

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 5:45PM
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lovncountrylife

I love all the information you gals have shared. I especially like the ice cream maker idea but i still have a couple of questions. i want to break up china and tumble it. so first of all, do i just break the china or am i looking for some cutters of some kind? second. what do i put in there with it? what is grit? do i put that in? second my husband has a cement mixer so can i put anything in there? and do i so i put sand in there?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:05PM
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silvamae

lovncountrylife, this post just showed up on my computer today! (August 24). Weird. Anyway, I like to break up china using wheeled nippers (Leponitt brand). You have a lot more control over the position of the break. Sometimes there are patterns around the rim of a plate that I want to keep in one piece. When I tumble china I don't use any grit; just water and a drop of dishwashing liquid. It only takes a short time to smooth the edges and sharp corners, maybe 30 minutes or less? I've never used a cement mixer but it may be a possibility.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:38PM
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silvamae

Here's a link to some good tips about breaking china. After you click on the link and the instructions come up, click on the two links at the top left, Demo 1 and Demo 2.

Here is a link that might be useful: happycraftn's nipping tips

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:45PM
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silvamae

Here's another good tutorial . . .

Here is a link that might be useful: tutorial on how to nip china

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:37AM
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