The age-old question has been answered! The question (primarily from my wife)…”What are you going to do with all of those rocks?” Minor detail, something I hadn’t thought about much since my son and I started rockhounding this summer! But given the growing collection in the basement, it was time to figure out how to display some of our goodies.
It’s been a labor of love, but it’s now complete! Over the last couple of weeks I’ve refinished the printer’s trays I got on eBay, and installed them on the wall of my office. Given how new we are at this, we still don’t have a huge number of pieces that have made it all the way through the tumbling and polishing process, but we certainly have PLENTY of combined raw and polished material to fill the 178 individual compartments in the two printer’s trays! I think they look fantastic, and certainly add some wonderful character to my home office! Here are some photos:
The finished printer’s trays, sanded and refinished on the wider cross pieces, but simply cleaned up and left as-is for the individual compartments themselves. I used a brown enamel paint on the wide pieces, but simply sanded off the old paint and expose the metal faceplate on each drawer. The most satisfying aspect of the collection shown here? Every single piece was hand-collected by my son and I, all from right here in South Dakota!
An oblique view, one that shows the bare metal I left on both original drawers.
For each of the two printer’s trays, I cleaned up the original drawer pull, and repurposed them as labels. The right side is rightly labeled “South Dakota Agates”, as every piece on this side are prairie, Fairburn, bubblegum, or other agates, all collected from the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.
The original drawer pull and label on the left piece. This side is more of a “mish-mash” of material, with a lot of petrified wood, quartz, chalcedony, jaspers, and other pieces. Again, all collected from right here in South Dakota!
One of the six major compartments across the two trays. This one is devoted to prairie agates, and the handful of Fairburn agates we have so far.
We haven’t found many Fairburns as of yet, but the one on the right here is the favorite of ANY piece we’ve found so far.
One of the six compartments devoted to bubblegum agates. Some are tumbled and polished, most here have not been polished yet. I like the look of the little bubblegums though, and probably won’t polish most of these. The “eyes” of the bubblegum agates give them a great look then when you do polish.
A closer view of some of the “raw”, untumbled bubblegum agates. You can see why they are well named! They do often look like chewed up pieces of bubblegum.
The 2nd most common find for us on the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands – petrified wood. These are all petrified wood pieces. Most you find are the grayish or tan color, but there are also some other beautiful colors and patterns you can find. Most of these have not been tumble polished.
It’s not just agates and petrified wood on the Grasslands! There are other forms of chalcedony, and a huge variety of other rocks as well. I’ve been told those on the right (particularly the bottom right) are chert, in a limestone matrix.
A closer look at some miscellaneous (prairie) agates. There’s quite the variety of colors and patterns that you can find. All here are polished, except the one in the upper right.
A few miscellaneous jasper, quartz, and agate.
The only downside to the use of the printer’s trays…some of the compartments are relatively big, but the depth is quite shallow. Bigger pieces thus won’t work. I haven’t quite decided how I want to display them, but for now I have a table directly underneath the display, and I’ve started to put out a few big pieces. These are some big chalcedony pieces, prairie agates, and petrified wood.