How to Score Polishing Laps
Most gem cutters prefer using scored polishing laps. They work better and faster than non-scored laps. Learn how to score and break in your lap.
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Why Score Polishing Laps?
Scoring helps keep the polish on the lap where you want it. Also, it gives the chaff/waste a place to go that won't scratch your gemstone. I score all of my tin and zinc laps, whether I'm using diamond, aluminum oxide or cerium oxide
Scoring is Easy
There are many ways to score your lap. I use an old piece of hacksaw blade about 2" long, but you can use a razor, knife, or whatever. (I like the hacksaw because it's fast. It makes lots of grooves at the same time).
To make grooves, scrape your blade from the center (mounting hole) of the lap straight to the outside edge all the way around.
Then, turn the lap 90º and score across it to create diamond-shaped grooves where they cross each other. Those little diamond shapes will hold the polish.
After scoring, wipe off the loose bits. Optionally, you can put some polish and water on the lap and use an old piece of garnet or tourmaline to help knock off the burrs. Be sure you don't use something hard like cubic zirconia. If you accidentally embed a piece, it will cause scratches.
Using Scored Polishing Laps
When your lap is new, you'll notice some metal accumulates on the edges of your facets. This will wipe off and not hurt anything. Also, there might be some slight rounding. As you break in your lap, it will begin to work harden and not do this much at all. It will polish flatter facets.
The more you use your scored lap the faster and better it will polish. After you've used the lap for a while and it seems to slow down, score it again.
Advice for New Gem Cutters
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Polishing Garnets And Tourmalines
An Introduction to Precious Metal Clay Jewelry
Creating Ring Mountings for Deep-Cut Gemstones
How Does Topaz Form?
Prosopite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Gemstone Doublets, Triplets, and Other Assembled Stones
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