How to Polish Petrified Wood

What You'll Need
Rock tumbler
Coarse abrasive grit
Polishing cloth

Petrified wood is fascinating to look at, but you must learn how to polish petrified wood if you want to put it on display. Fortunately, because of its petrified state, this wood can be polished in a tumbler just like any rock or stone.

The one difference between the rock and the petrified wood is the detail of the wood. You may have to follow this procedure for weeks in order to get a rock to the high gloss you desire, but repeated tumbling will eliminate the detail in the grain of wood. For best results, only polish once or twice at most—just enough to get a shine and not the same high gloss as might be desired with a colorful stone.

Step 1: Set Up

Set up the tumbler. Put in other rocks for balance and added grit. Add the water and abrasive grit as is recommended by the tumbler’s instruction manual.

Step 2: Tumble

Put in the petrified wood and let tumble for a few days.  

Step 3: Check the Polish

Take the petrified wood out and look to see if it has the polish desired. Remember: too much of this type of polishing can rub off whatever detail the wood possesses.

This type of procedure is best suited to small to medium-sized pieces of petrified wood. Larger pieces should be sanded and polished with a professional grade hand polisher.