I read a lot of books on faceting when I was a beginner and I still do. One of the things that stuck with me was Jeff Graham saying something about his favorite lap was a worn-out 1,200 grit lap. It was not until I wore out my first 1,200 Crystallite solid steel-plated lap that I understood what Jeff was saying. Here was a lap that could still cut, but also gave me a flat, sharp, and matte finish on a facet. Such a facet was a great stepping stone to a pre-polish regardless of what stone I was cutting.
Most of the diamond-plated 3,000 grit laps I tried ended up putting gouges in my stones. Something always seemed to be popping up at the most inconvenient time and sending me back to recut the stone. The worn out 1,200 lap allowed me to by-pass the troublesome 3,000 and move on to one of the many pre-polish systems I had in my studio. Please do not take me for someone that skips laps. I am a dedicated sequential lap facetor. I believe that if you triple-step your grits (i.e. go from a 260 to a 1,200 lap), you are going to pay for it one way or another. I never understood the folks that say they can go from a seemingly rough grit to a polish, unless maybe the stones are exceedingly small. I like to cut big sculptural stones, which take time and no lap skipping.
The worn out 1,200 lap acted like a cross between the 1,200 and 3,000. Unfortunately, a worn out 1,200 plated lap on stays worn out for so long and then it is totally void of diamond grit. A sintered metal lap never really gets worn out because you pay three times the money for it not to get worn out. I recently saw an advertisement for Hyper-Edge laps. Being a lap collector of sorts, I buy every new lap I see and try it. I have yet to be disappointed with any of the new laps. I bought the full set of Hyper-Edge Laps and tried them after watching the informative video where the late, great Stephen Kotlowski explained in detail the use and care of the laps. I like all the laps, but the 1,500 grit lap gave me the same wonderful performance as a worn out 1,200 plated lap, but in a sintered lap.
This lap can cut out 600 grit scratches with ease and finish the stone with a smooth, sharp, and matte finish ready for a pre-polish. The Hyper-Edge lap performed on all materials, from small sapphires to 40 carat pieces of quartz. The Hyper-Edge lap is a proprietary composite lap that you can find more detail about it at this link.
This is not an inexpensive lap, priced at $550. However, it is a lap that will save you time and money if you are a steady facetor. It is also versatile in embellishing your gemstones with a nice matte finish and performs well when free wheel rotational cutting. When putting together faceting packages for my students or customers, I always insist that they add the Hyper-Edge 1,500 to their arsenal of laps. After all, it is my new favorite lap.