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My toys all got here today!

Today my trim-saw grinder combo, and my brand-new variable-speed Sterling lapidary handpiece faceting machine, along with their entire lap package and every other accessory they sell have all arrived! :grin:

I had to pick the crate up from the cargo area of the airport, but it was very easy, and now I have an entire workshop worth of fantastic equipment!

In addition to Sterling lapidary’s traditional zinc, copper, lead, lucite, and felt laps I also got the D’lite 1200 and 3000 diamond laps to see if they work as well as the old nubond laps were supposed to. I also got the gearloose high performance starter set, which comes with a zinc+ for 3000 pcd, a batt lap for 60k pcd, a darkside with the full of four set of oxide sticks, and I couldn’t stop myself from picking up the matrix composite ceramic lap and some 100k pcd.


Awesome. Hope you get along with your equipment

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I spent all day today just getting things set up and organized.

I also calibrated one of the hand pieces using the method @justinkprim outlined in his video on the IGT YouTube channel.

I did have to spend some time on the forward backward calibration, but now it seems to be aligned okay in all three dimensions.

So tomorrow will be my first attempt to use the equipment for an actual Jewel.



That is a full on set of the best of the best - you must’ve won the lottery - really nice setup!!

I have three Corian laps and two copper - the rest are steel on aluminum (2) masters finally breaking them in.

I’m just recently re-entering faceting from 35 years ago when work required round the clock attention.

Keep us informed - those exotic laps are most intriguing - great images - thanks!

Congrats. Post a pic of your first stone! Looking forward to seeing it.

How did it go with your faceting?

Honestly I have been cutting about 5 hours every day, but most of that was just getting everything calibrated and understanding the mechanics of the machines.

I don’t have an actual teacher so I am just reading through the Tom Herbst books and watching Justin K Prim’s videos while getting everything balanced.

But now my handpiece seems to be perfectly balanced, so I will be starting the GeM101 design using some synthetic amethyst tommorow!

I plan on doing most of my practicing using natural beryl, mostly inexpensive aquamarine, goshenite, and morganite. But I also have a nice big chunk of citrine and some other quartz varieties to use.

Without having anyone there to show you how to do things learning how much pressure to push on to the handpiece, and how long it takes a section of lap to change cutting properties, and just about every other little thing has to be learned from experience, so the whole thing takes a lot of time. So far it is seeming best to work pretty slow heh.

Every stone I cut this week has been a square with a square pyramid on top, but don’t worry. As soon as I have something I am actually proud of I will show it here first!

I also learned from a book. Jeff graham lern to facet the right way. Did the first 3 exercise stones then I been good and learned the hard way. Funny enough all stones been acceptable when polished off even though it was desperate times. I never cut synthetics. I started with quartz, I think if I did it again it would be goshenite.

Also new here - have an old Lee I packed away 35 years ago - got it out and reignited my interest - now have a New Jersey Patriot 8 and relearning like you - the hard way. Don’t remember it taking so long to finish - amazing how the pros can go from a stone to a gem in a day or less!? My best!

yes some pros cut a gem in several hours but depending on the accuracy of their machine the facets will not meet up very well as they depend on the machine and not the eye to meet facets. a lot are cutting for a living and do not worry about perfection

it takes me about 6 hours to cut a gemstone but I always ensure the facets line up as best as possible

I’m learning a lot from IGS comments - working an unknown piece of material with crown facets coming down near a (fat) girdle and - poof - get scratches - scrub [Corian] lap - better - then poof - repeat.

Desperate went to DVDs/CDs with super cerium - better but I’ve been struggling with this for an embarrassingly long long long time - 4 hours a day for ten days - and yes - I have all the books read em three times - mystery material?

Appreciate the encouragement - I want to cut gems from stones in ~ 3 - 4 days - Thanks Syd.

I am sure there are a lot of professional facetors in our forum group, who can also give advice, I normally rough out with 600 diamond, then go to 1200, do the fine on 3000 and polish with 50,000 diamond but this may not work for everyone. if the scratches are not too bad you should be able to go to a fine to get them out before polish.
if you have comntaminated the lap, you may have to throw the lap away and get a new one. a lot of facetors have trouble with contamination going from lap to lap without cleaning the gem, dopstick and surrounding area parts of the faceting head etc.


Yes, I am just now finishing my first actual gems. each one takes a lot longer for people like me with no teacher than it would for just about anyone with some hands on instruction I imagine.

Mostly I have been calibrating, practicing, and reading.
The advice about washing everything down when you switch laps is fantastic, and so far I have not noticed any strange scratching, but I have only polished a tiny bit.

My biggest problem is that if I can’t finish what I am doing with a stone before my kids come home I might have to wait until the next day to continue, and sometimes that day is just impossible to work. By the third day the gem always comes off the dop wax really easily. I think it is a problem with different rates of heating and cooling between the wax and the stone. Does anyone have advice for how to heat up the wax without shifting The Stone? I know some companies make dop aligners, and I might be able to fashion something like that.

But has anyone else had success just lightly heating up both Stone and wax a little to see if you can get the bond to reset without it getting soft enough that the gem slides off?

Glue it back with ca. I recommend you to do a hybrid joint from start if using wax. I did not like the green stuff that sterling supplies if that’s what you using. I found it crumbly. If I use wax I normally prime the dop stick with with a brown wax I melted in alcohol then apply the wax and dop it in the transfer jig. Then release and apply ca when cold an wait 10 minutes and you are ready to go

You mean you put the ca on after you put on the wax? Like on top of it, and the stone together?

I think the green wax that Sterling supplies has a slightly lower melting temperature or something. It is easy to use because it is flat and melts quickly but then it is a bit crumbly yes.

I have two preformed stones that came off the dop sticks that I need to re-dop, and then of course realign. I think I will take your advice and use a hybrid technique when I re-dop them this time though.

Honestly, I have made just a bucket load of mistakes over the last two weeks. But I am keeping at it and hope to have some photos for this thread soon!

I’ve lost a tiny bit of square by adding an additional drop of brown wax - not by much but in my limited experience I’d not chance reheating a wax dopped stone again.

Colin. If you not heat the stone , stone come off but leave a perfect footprint. Take it apart and add ca and slide the dop back on it again. I stopped using it I use epoxy and melt it off in acetone over night. Slower but I not lost a stone yet except one I knocked off. But 5 minutes epoxy needs minimum 12 hours to harden when dop. Preferably 24 hours

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