Glass1
Glass2
Tumbler
Craig & Cindy write in…

My whole life I’ve been fascinated with beach glass. Glass broken at the beach was eroded down by the sand, waves and time to make a smooth rounded piece of glass, as harmless as a marble. As a kid I would scour the surfline of Lake Superior for the small rounded frosty bits of glass, like little colorful gemstones found. Clear, green and brown were most common. Blue was quite rare and red even rarer. White porcelain was also hard to find. In my 20s I had a hate for beach glass when I cut my foot on a newly broken bottle. But soon after, I was back at the pebble populated surfline searching for rounded smooth ancient glass stones. Lately in the past few years, anything has been hard to find. Glass beverage containers on the beach have been replaced with aluminum & plastic. Many years and many pickers have scoured the 3’ shoreline of pebble deposit stripped clean. It’s good to know an entire generation may be free of a broken bottle accident at the beach, but it’s a shame that they will never treasure hunt the harmless colorful little glass stones at the water’s edge.

I put together a large volume tumbler for smoothing broken glass. With a hammer and brick in a basin, I break bottles into small pebble size pieces. Then I load the tumbler with the glass, some coarse sand, some lava rock and water. Three days into the tumbling process and the result is looking good. Another five to eight days and my first batch should be ready. I may have to discreetly drop the bits as I walk along the shore, as I’m sure SOMEONE will have a problem with it. But as I see it, hunting harmless colorful little glass gemstones are a fond part of being a kid at the beach.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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