Sunday, June 2, 2013
Sometimes rocks we have collected on one of our field trips sit around in our yard for a year or more allowing the rain and sun to naturally clean them. However if they are big and really dirty, I pull out the pressure washer and get really wet. The majority of them I clean with a small jet nozzle simply attached to a hose but get even wetter since there is no long wand. To be honest, this time of the year getting wet is part of the fun. I turn the stones often and let the sun dry them in-between which helps break up trapped dirt. I repeat this process until the loose material is removed. Exceptional examples may require hand cleaning with probes and brushes. Beth and I like specimens in both their naturally found form and as in these examples completely cleaned of mineral stains which requires a few hours in a crock pot slowly heated with a mild oxalic acid. This acid bath is required to clean the iron oxide off select specimens like this druzy quartz we collected on the last Club trip to Missouri. You can clearly see the difference between those that were just cleaned with the hose and those that have had the iron oxide coating removed with acid.
Many rocks we collect end up in the garden or I use them as pots like the included example. Some we cut and polish. Others we make into jewelry.