Polishing Petoskey Stones
Written by Administrator
Each day we are asked how to polish Petoskey stones, where to find Petoskey stones, why are Petoskey stones so expensive, or are these Petoskey stones?
The life of a polished Petoskey stone begins with actually finding a raw Petoskey stone. Finding a Petoskey stone is not always easy. Stones, found to polish, are on beaches, along road cuts, fields, quarries, and driveways. You can look for Petoskey stones and find Petoskey stones, and other fossils, across Northwest Michigan. Petoskey stones are most prevelant in and near Petoskey, Michigan.
Springtime is the best season to look for Petoskey stones. As ice breaks up and winds move the ice back and forth the stones are “shoveled” onto the beach. After a storm and during rain the pattern is more apparent. Color range is gray to grayish tan. The six sided pattern can be as small as 1/6 inch and up to 3/8 of an inch. There are different grades of stone. Some Petoskey stone is porous and soft and does not take a bright shine. Hard stones are more difficult to find, but, take a brillant shine. Step 1 is find a good stone.
TIP Select a stone that is thicker as they are easier to hold, especially for kids.
One unpolished Petoskey stone
Polishing compound – Cerium oxide or Tin oxide or Aluminum oxide [ try auto parts store]
Fine grit wet/dry emery paper 150 grit
Coarse grit wet/dry emery paper 60 grit
Small piece of felt fabric approximately 6″ X 6″
3 small styrofoam plates or trays
Select your Petoskey stone for polishing and wet it, for a peek at its pattern. Start on the smoothest side of the stone. Deep cracks or pits are time consuming to sand out. Use a clean Styrofoam plate or tray to “hold” your wet/dry coarse, 60 grit, emery cloth. Dampen the emery and start rubbing the stone back and forth. Occasionally rinse the stone and check the stone for smoothness. When smooth rinse the stone in clean water and go to step 3.
TIP Polish only one side and you will have a “show and tell” one side natural and one side polished.
Rinse specimen thoroughly and use a new Styrofoam plate or tray. Now, use the 150 grit emery. Put in the clean tray and dampen. Commence rubbing until all scratches and blemishes are removed from the stone. Rinse in clean water and check stone. If smooth go to step 4.
TIP Any blemishes will not buff out. Extra work sanding makes buffing much easier.
Rinse specimen in clean water and use a new Styrofoam plate or tray. Lay dampened felt on it. Sprinkle one of the polishing compounds on the damp felt. Rub back and forth. The more rubbing will bring a higher shine to the stone. When you have a satisfactory shine – you are done!
TIP Always use clean trays. The coarse emery can contaminate the fine emery and both emerys can contaminate the buffing felt.
TIP If you want to do more stones latter, store your 60 grit, your 150 grit, andbuffing compound felt in separate ziploc bags.
FINAL TIP Tumbling dissolves Petoskey stone.
LINDA MICHAELS STAFF IS ALWAYS WILLING TO EXPLAIN THESE MANY QUESTIONS. LINDA MICHAELS ALSO SELLS POLISHING KITS AND PREPOLISHED STONES. GOOD LUCK!!