Get Rid of Cheater!

by Glenn Klein

We faceters know that there will be a definite need to alter the index settings as we go about faceting our gems. There is something that bothers me about the terms most faceters use when they describe the procedure, and the faceting machine control that they use to get flat on the desired facet. Those terms are “CHEATING”, and “CHEATER”. Cheating to get the job done does not sound nice. None of us feels comfortable if we say we cheated to get the beautiful stone completed. And when it comes to people, I do not like cheaters who get things their way.

As a group, why don’t we decide on a NEW NAME for the procedure of altering index settings. What we are simply doing is splitting a 96 Index Gear into an almost unlimited number of hairline settings. The procedure is not in the least to be considered as cheating. We are simply rotating the gem left or right to get flat on the facet from side to side. We are fine-tuning. We are taking advantage of all of the features our faceting machine offers us.

You have to be out of your mind if, you do not use your faceting machine to it’s fullest potential. We are making adjustments because the index gear does not have enough teeth. It is a REQUIRED operation if you are cutting for competition. Index splitting left and right is just as important as it is to raise or lower the stone on the mast, or to set the facet angle dial so as to get flat on the facet at it’s top, bottom, and sides.

We could call the control an INDEX SPLITTER, and we could call the procedure INDEX SPLITTING (if you lisp a little you might stumble a bit in saying this). It could be INDEX COMPENSATOR and INDEX COMPENSATING. It could be INDEX FINE TUNER and INDEX FINE-TUNING. It could be ROTATIONAL TUNER and ROTATIONAL TUNING. It could be RADIAL SPLITTER and RADIAL SPLITTING. It could be INDEX DIVIDER and INDEX DIVIDING.

There have been many articles about the need to “cheat” after the transfer of a gem to another dop, when the pavilion has been completed. This is to get the crown facets aligned properly where they meet the girdle facets and the pavilion facets. This procedure is not a matter of choice. These corrections become necessary because of very small errors in the diameter size of dops, a dop that is bent, the need to get a level girdle, the faceting machine being just barely out of alignment, a change of lap or index gear being used, the lap not being perfectly flat, the need to work at a different area of a lap, the transfer jig not being accurate, the poor quality of a particular index you are using, the facetors tired eyesight at the time, or because of many other possible reasons such as the stone that moved in the wax, etc.

My main use of the “cheater” is to make very small adjustments from side to side on the facet as I go to smoother laps, and to the polish lap. I take lots of notes as I facet. The index setting will be there–12-24-36-48, or whatever. And, above the index setting I will write L4, or R1-1/2, etc. As I go to finer laps these L & R amounts will change. I want to know; exactly what the settings were when I last worked on that facet! I want to be able to know as much as I can about that facet, in case I have to go over it later because of some changed condition in the surrounding facets. I also make notes about the facet angle. I cheat with that by noting the 43-degree facet was last worked on at 43.09, or 42.8, etc. Is this angle cheat OK, and the index cheat is not OK? They are both OK. They are the smart way to use your faceting tool.

I have had situations where I was using a 96 Index Gear, and yet had to make large cheater corrections to get properly placed on a facet. I could go to a 120 index, or a 200 index, if one were available. But, then it would be so easy to set at the wrong gear notch, and really screw things up as I set down on the wrong group of small facets! I prefer working with a 96 Index Gear which my tired eyes can still see pretty good, and then adjusting the fine details in between gear notches with use of the “cheater”.

So what do you think? Should we leave the cheaters as is, or should we give the procedure a better name? I favor the terms INDEX SPLITTER and INDEX SPLITTING. For short we could say SPLITTER and SPLITTING.

Yes, There are Better Names for Cheaters – Part 2

This is a summary of what faceters have suggested regarding my article GET RID OF CHEATER! The article first appeared in the March 2001 issue of the U.S.F.G. Newsletter. It appeared later in Paul Ahlstedt’s Daily Digest, as well as in Bob Keller’s Faceters List. I have picked up remarks from the Lists as well as from Emails that were sent directly to me. Only two faceters suggested that we continue to use the words Cheater and Cheating. Most faceters suggested or were of the opinion that; better names are more suitable, descriptive, and available. First we will see the faceters suggestions, and then I will give a summary of what I suggest we do from here.

Suggested names for the faceting machine
Control Device
Names for the act of using the Device
1. Accurizer Accurizing
2. Adjunct Finessing Device
3. Adjuster Adjusting
4. AIGIMIR, short for analogue index gear
interpolator and machine inaccuracy remedy.
5. Cheater Cheating
6. Compensater Compensating
7. Compound Adjustment Compound Adjusting
8. Compound Cheater Compound Cheating
9. Compound Device Compounding
10. Compounder
11. Index Adjuster Index Adjusting
12. Index Compensator Index Compensating
13. Index Divider Index Dividing
14. Index Fine Tuner Index Fine Tuning
15. Index Fine Tuning Adjustment Index Fine Tune Adjusting
16. Index Offset Adjustment Knob
17. Index Rotation Adjuster Index Rotation Adjusting
18. Index Splitter Index Splitting, or Splitting
19. Index Tuner Index Tuning
20. Index Tweeker Index Tweeking
21. Index Vernier
22. KNOB, short for kinetic nullifying
overadjustment button
23. Micro Adjuster Micro Adjusting
24. Radial Adjuster Radial Adjusting
25. Radial Adjustment Radial Adjusting
26. Radial Bias Control
27. Radial Cheater Radial Cheating
28. Radial Index Splitter Radial Index Splitting
29. Radial Splitter Radial Splitting
30. Radial Vernier
31. Rotational Adjuster Rotational Adjusting
32. Rotational Splitter Rotational Splitting
33. Rotational Tuner Rotational Tuning
34. Splitter Splitting
35. Theta Vernier
36. Tweaker Tweaking
37. Whatever Twiddling

There were some faceters who have opinions, which differ quite a bit as compared to my own. Such as, “there is no need for the controls or the use of them if the faceting machine is well manufactured”. Or it is some how, “not honest to be using the control even if it is there”. Such remarks I dismiss right away. If a cutter is cutting for fast production or a client who does not know the difference, the fine-tuning of facets is not needed. But if we are to succeed in accomplishing a good end result with our stones, we are smart to use all of the tools of the trade that are available.

Good tools help us to do a better job. All of the faceting machines of today are pretty well made. Some are better than others. It sometimes depends more on how much money you are willing to pay for good equipment. A faceter does not have to try all of the machines to see which is best. The faceter only needs to learn how to best use the machine he/she has access to. When I find a tool that works well for me, I do not look further. I stick with that tool, so that the use of its features become second nature to me. Besides, what one facetor thinks is the best machine will not be the choice of another facetor. That is the story all through the faceting process. It is best to find what works for you, and then keep using that material or method.

The faceting machine control we are considering here (old name, cheater) is a very necessary control device, and is needed on all machines. This control allows the facetor to make those many fine adjustments necessary to correct for the multitude of things that affect well-cut facets.

The need for fine adjustments may be caused by a stone moving in the dopping wax, or an out of line crown girdle facet—as it relates to the faceted girdle and the pavilion girdle facet just below. Other needs may be when there is the necessity to align the tabling adapter, or to adjust for a thinner or thicker lap or an uneven lap. All laps are not entirely flat over their entire surface area. Even if there were such a thing as a completely flat lap, it would not remain that way very long, after the facetor uses certain areas of the lap more than others. This uneven characteristic of laps is my reason for never sweeping a competition stone back and forth across the entire lap. The gem is traveling up the hills and down into the valleys that way (microscopically speaking). So choose a sweep area of an inch wide, at most, for that final polish.

Also, the faceting machine may be very slightly out of alignment after months of use. A stone being faceted high on the Mast would show the errors even more. Removing a completed pavilion and dop, then transferring to a crown dop, and then using the tabling adapter—all allow for the possibility of the need for slight corrections to be made on a facet—up or down, left or right. Everything has tolerances. When several seemingly small problems arise at the same time, the facetor finds that now there is a big problem. Doing repair work on a old stone, or replacing a stone that has popped off the dop are obvious cases where there will be the need to adjust left, right, up, down. I have listed only some of the many causes, which call for the need to adjust facets on the polishing, lap.

The repeatability of faceting machines of today is outstanding. But, we really are not finishing up with the settings that were used before on a facet. Those previous settings are just our starting point for a finer lap. As we go to finer laps, and to polishing those same facets, we have to fine-tune the left and right sides of each facet—just as we have to adjust the angle of that facet up or down.

If you are a facetor who wants a stone to be as perfect as you are able to make it, notice those exact settings of your mains around the completed stone. By the time you are finished polishing, you will find that some of those mains are slightly over your desired 43 degrees, or are very slightly under. The closeness to 43 degrees will be almost there, but the actual changes you made in your angle adjustments will be every bit as much (and maybe more) than those adjustments you made left and right. These up and down, left and right corrections are NECESSARY and NORMAL if one wants to do the very best on a stone. It does depend on the degree of accuracy you wish to accomplish with your gem.

I have never liked the idea that these necessary and normal corrections on a facet were cheating, at least in the true meaning of the word—to deceive, defraud, to bring about by dishonesty or trickery. I really do not know how or where the terms Cheater and Cheating came about in regards to faceting stones. The terms are highly incorrect in my view.

Tom Nuchols offered a possible source of the BAD terms. I quote from his email to one of the Lists, as of March 18, 2001. Tom wrote, “Early on, the companies that built faceting machines did not put compound devices on their machines claiming that the problem was the faceter and not their machine”. It was said that, “Mr. Henry Graves’ not adding one to his machine until he was forced to”. “Mr. Graves felt that there was no need to have one available since he built an accurate machine and gears. Mr. Graves was apparently adamant about the accuracy of his machine and he felt that using the compound device was cheating”. And finally Tom wrote, “The perception that all machines should be very accurate led to the word cheating”.

I have received emails which say things like “I use the cheater, I know it is wrong”, and “How much longer can we go on harboring this feeling of guilt”, and “Is it all right to cheat?”.

I hope most faceters agree that both up and down, left and right adjustments HAVE to be done to achieve a competition quality stone! And there is nothing at all wrong with that. Would you really like to polish the large table of a stone without being able to adjust the stone? If anyone says that they can cut a Masters or higher level stone, and polish it without any use of the “cheater” I would say that I do not believe it! I doubt I am wrong about that.

I have seen in the Emails, and heard from the lips of individual facetors, that most of the faceting machines available are accurate and precision pieces of equipment. They are capable of turning out very precise gems, when operated by a critical facetor who has good eyesight. Some facetors say a certain machine was terrible, and their favorite one was the only one to use. Another facetor will contradict, and have the same machines mentioned in a different order of preference. The point is that most, if not all, machines have a control for angle adjustment (up and down), and a control for left and right corrections of the index gear settings. Both controls are necessary and equal in value. One of these controls has just gotten an undeserved bad name. It is time to correct that name.

Now back to that earlier list of 36 suggested new names for the control once called the “Cheater”, and the procedure of using that control once called “Cheating”. Most of you, if not all, agree that the early names were not appropriate or descriptive, of what most of us use and control each time we attempt to produce a pretty accurate gem. Most of those who mentioned preferences included the word Index. The one name that received the most mention was Index Splitter, for the name of the control. After all, we are talking about the index gears on our machines, and the need to break down the 96 gear (as an example) into more divisions, as if the gear was now a 120 index, etc. It would be nice to have a 360 index—but there would no longer be any metal available for teeth to engage!

In my original paper about re-naming cheater, I stated that I was in favor of the control being called the INDEX SPLITTER, and the process of using the control being called INDEX SPLITTING or SPLITTING. I am now more in favor of these terms than ever before. They accurately describe what we are doing, and would be understood by most faceters of today, as well as those who become faceters of the future. No upstanding person wants to….cheat.

Old terms will be hard to forget, and will be hard to stop using. But hey, we have to start somewhere. Well maybe we do not have to, but shouldn’t we? I would like to encourage everyone to use the new terms Index Splitter, and Index Splitting from now on. Time will tell if most of you agree with me.

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