Forums General Discussion Just the basics…

  • Just the basics…

    Posted by Allan Beck on February 29, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Hey, Guys and Gals!

    This past weekend I demo’d faceting at a local gem show. Actually got 3 pieces done start to finish, lots of kids and others watching, had GemCad and GemRay up on a monitor showing the design I was working on, even rendered in the right color… Gave out business cards with USFG purposes and site info on it, even met Carl Unruh’s nephew who is a faceter…

    The most often asked questions, from folks interested:

    1) “What new machines are currently available?” – I know Facetron and Ultratec – any others? Current prices?

    2) for folks who already have a new machine collecting dust (mostly Facetron here) – “What are the bare minimum in laps I need to get started?” – money conscious folks – I was thinking a 260 topper, 600 and/or 1200 (topper adhered to a base?), then Batt/50K, lucite/CeOx. No flame wars here please, but what do you think? I have been doing this so long I have LOTS OF LAPS, so I am a little out of touch with basic beginning!!! These folks don’t need to be playing with multiple loose diamond grits yet…

    I have another gig next week – could do a third show if I was a glutton, but a two show tour is fine for now… I just want to be able to put info on convenient business cards…

    Allan Beck replied 3 years, 1 month ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • scottwkelley

    February 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I am new and started polishing cabs a year ago and picked up a lap machine from Inland, 8″ 180,360,600,1200,cut saw blade and polish felt pads and master acrylic lap for around $500. The quality of the laps are good and I was able to use them on my new Facetron from that I purchased from Jarvis Machine for just under $3000 delivered. I have also purchased sets of polishing films. I have found that Inland, Facetron and the Rock Peddler to be great places for the adventurist to get started. All I can say is I am having a great time learning and creating things of beauty from the earths rough and trade my work or give it away. It is my choice and the joy of it that I get from it is mind blowing. Right now I am working on the novice single stone, perfection is not as easy as one two three either.

  • Allan Beck

    March 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Just got done with the second week of faceting at local rock and gem shows. I think I survived!

    Was able to cut around one gem per day (5 over 4 days) between questions from faceters, hoping to be faceters, and general public, along with lessons to two beginners that I helped with.

    Finished up with a cut 13+ mm lemon quartz in Marco Voltolini’s Soccer Dome.

    I made up several business card sized information cards to give out. I will see if there is a place for posting the files for you all to use if helpful.

  • Tom Mitchell

    March 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm


    To my knowledge there are 6 companies currently producing faceting machines in the USA. They range in price from around $1200 to just under $5000.

    They are as follows:

    Graves Mark IV for around $1200
    Graves Mark V their digital model for around $1700
    Raytec Shaw for around $2000
    Jersey Instruments Tom Thumb for around $1800
    Jersey Instruments Patriot for around $2400
    Facetron for around $2700
    Polymetric for around $2000
    Ultra Tec V5 which comes in analog for around $4800 and the digital for around $4950.

    Regarding laps for beginners, I teach faceting and my recommended laps for beginners are either a lucite master lap ($13.00), or an aluminum master lap ($23.00) from Graves Lapidary, a 260 plated topper ($25.00) from Kingsley North, 325, 600, 1200 and 3000 grit D’Lite toppers laps ($55.00 each). Fro the beginner I recommend that they start to learn polishing with Ultra Laps. An assorted pack contains Cerium, Aluminum Oxide, Chromium, Tim Oxide Ultralaps ($16.00) or you can purchase packages of 5 each of these polishing media (between $9.00 and 18.00 per package) from Graves.

    The reason that I recommend a 325 D’Lite lap in addition to your 260 plated lap is that the D’Lite lap will quickly remove the subsurface damage done by the 260 and leaves a very smooth surface, similar to a worn 600 plated lap. In fact all of the D’Lite laps produce surfaces that are nearly as fine as the next higher grit. For example the 600 D’Lite lap produces a surface comparable to a 1200 plated lap and the 1200 D’Lite lap produces a surface comparable to a 3000 plate lap. A lot of people start polish at this stage.

    The reason I recommend the 3000 D’Lite lap is that I like to use it as a prepolish.

    If the student funds that they enjoy this craft they might want to look into eventually replacing their Ultralaps with the following: a CeOx topper ($30.00), an A1 aluminum oxide topper ($30.00) and a natural topper ($25.00) from Lightning Lap. Lightning lap also has the D’Lite laps in 8000, 14000 and 50000 ($55.00 each).

    Tom Mitchell
    Mitchell Jewelry Studio

  • Allan Beck

    September 8, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Time warp – 4 1/2 years later…

    Tom, thank you for your reply – I lost my a computer just after the 2016 post and finally came back around…

    I will check in to the D’Lite laps!


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