Whoever coined the phrase “You can’t polish a turd” was dead wrong. You can polish a turd, and the end result can be quite nice. You might even start a collection. Here’s the help you need polishing what has been passed.
Why Polish turds?
There are rumors and creepy eBay sales suggesting that Tom Cruise and Katie (now Kate) Holmes have preserved daughter Suri’s first poop by having it bronzed and mounted onto quite a snazzy plaque. Who knows if it’s true, but somehow, it doesn’t seem surprising, does it? I’m also reminded of the movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, where one character was so obsessed with the group ABBA that he fished an “ABBA Turd” out of a toilet and wore it around his neck. Sound crazy? Sound extreme? Sure does, and yet, not surprising in today’s world.
A little more tame of the turd collectors are those who are fascinated with fossilized dinosaur dookie. Those polished turds get a big, scientific name which makes the collecting of them acceptable and not the slightest bit creepy. Those turds are called “corprolites.” And there’s a market for them, for the originals and the replicas. This brings me to why YOU may be interested in polishing some turds.
How to Petrify a Turd
Just sneak up on one and scream boo-boo! Ha-ha. But seriously, you’re not going to get a smooth and shiny end product if the base turd isn’t hard enough to stand up to the polishing.
Once you’ve selected the turd you want to polish, you need to dry it out. Think of how kitty litter seema to make cat poo dry and hard over night. Don’t trust that it’s perfect through and through in that short time, but you get the idea. You need to put your turd in something that will draw out any moisture and help it harden without changing its surface or form too drastically.
Some people use silica sand, (it’s from the same family as those little sugar packet-looking things that come in your new purses and shoes,) to preserve flowers and petrify wood in a matter of days. You can get bags of the stuff online for about $25. Put some in a bucket and then put your turd or turds inside. Cover with more silica, and let it sit for a week. The silica should shake off completely.
But silica sand is expensive and inhaling it over time can cause respiratory problems. The next best thing to use is salt. Besides Lot’s wife being petrified into salt, salt itself has petrified many things, as many are found in dried salt lakes all the time. For the same size bag of silica sand, you can get Epsom salts for about $3. You may have to adjust the time for the petrifying so you definitely want to use a good handful of turds and start testing one a day after a week’s sitting in the salt until you’ve found the desired consistency or hardness. The drier, the better.
How to Polish a Turd
The easiest way would be to invest in a rock tumbler. You can find them in department stores and online from $15 to $600. Many come with grit and jewelry mounts. They range from beginner to hobbyist and professional, come in different sizes, and are either rotary tumblers or vibratory tumblers. The effect you’re trying to get with a tumbler is to do in a short period of time what rivers and oceans take years to do. The coarsest rock can become smooth. Your turd is no different.
Using a Rotary tumbler
(rounder, smoother, and takes about a month to polish)
- the tumbler, of course
- the turds, of course
- silicon grit, it may come with a beginner kit, but you can find more in different sizes for different degrees of polishing
- a polishing compound (like alumina or cerium oxide, according to About.com:Chemistry)
- extra rocks to help fill the tumbler if needed
- Fill the barrel of the tumbler ¾ full with turds and use your extra rocks if you don’t have ¾ worth.
- Add water, but you don’t want to cover the turds completely.
- Add grit.
- Turn it on and let it tumble for one week. It is good to stop the tumbler and open the barrel every 12 to 24 hours to release gas build-up and to check on the turds.
- Remove the turds from the barrel and rinse off the grit, use a toothbrush if necessary.
- Fill the barrel as before and repeat the cycle again and again until your turds are as smooth as you want them to be.
- Lastly, you want to tumble the turds with polishing compound in place of water.
Using a Vibratory Tumbler
(maintains shape and texture, a fraction of rotary’s time to polish)
- the tumbler
- the turds
- extra rocks of varying sizes
- polish compound
- soap flakes (like shavings from a bar of soap)
- Fill the barrel ¾ full with turds, add rocks if necessary.
- Add grit and water.
- Tumble (stop it and check the barrel everyday, add water when necessary.)
- When turd has achieved the desired smoothness, rinse.
- Return turds to barrel with a tablespoon of soap flakes.
- Add water and tumble for an hour.
- Rinse and repeat twice more.
- Rinse and return turds to barrel with grit, water and polish.
- Tumble for an hour.
- Wash turds thoroughly and rinse. Let dry.
Polished Turd Care
To spruce up your polished turds, take a soft cloth like one you’d use for polishing silver. Put a drop of mineral oil on the cloth and buff your turd until it shines.