Flat lap for jewelry

I have been into lapidary work long before getting interested in
jewelry making. So, it was natural for me to think of using my flat
lap for sanding metal. So far, it seems to work quite well. I have
even gone so far as to ‘dop’ a jewelry piece i am working on for
better control. Another benefit is that using a water drip as I
normall do with opals, there is no dust.

Has anyone else tried this? Also, I am wondering if anyone with more
experience than me would have an idea as to whether there is any
problem using the same laps for polishing stone (mostly opal but
other things too) and metal. I assume that the final polish disks
should not be contaminated in this way, but what about the other

I would think that you would encounter the metal clogging up your
disks or wheels. Just as metal sticks to a file.

Hello Todd,

It just so happens that back in the day I did lapidary and metal
fabrication. Lots of inlay, cabs and silver fabrication pieces.
Every chance possible I used my wet grinder for metal work, its
about 100 times faster than filing, although I avoided using my
diamond wheels. There were times I did use them but I was very
careful not to over work them. It seems much easier to create
friction and heat grinding metal with diamond, even with lots of
water. Consider using silicon carbide or aluminum oxide PSA discs on
your flat lap. One thing for sure, metal will not need nearly the
finer abrasives stone will, so no worries there.

Feel free to call or e-mail me.


Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Sales and Support
800-545-6566 ex13903


I suspect you will get a number of responses to your
question…“been there and done that”! I don’t mean to sound trite
but lapidaries seem to be a pretty innovative bunch. I have on
occasion used my stone wheels to work up a piece of metal. However,
I do not believe it is a good practice to do it more than
occasionally! Metal, specifically precious metals are all softer than
most stones --including opals, so there is no problem with the wheels
cutting the metal. However, metals tend to load up the wheels and
interfer with good stone cutting. This can be corrected by
’sharpening’ the wheels with a wet stick or old piece of fine SiC but
that, in turn, wears the wheel. Dopping jewelry is a fairly common
practice as well…usually on a shellac stick or some such thing
like Jettset (t),

Otherwise, I think what you are doing is fine…however, use
separate wheels for the stone and metal to preclude any problems.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

Todd -

Yup - now that I have a flat lap, I do it all the time. This is
courtesy of a tip from Michael Boyd at a class I took this summer at
the Rocky Mountain School of Jewelry and Metal Arts (great class,
btw). It is really a nice way to sand down a too-high bezel or
whatever evenly. My experience with it is still growing, but Michael
said he didn’t find it negatively affected the diamond laps at all.

Ivy S. Fasko
Contemporary Handcrafted Jewelry

I have been told by the folks at Diamond Pacific, the makers of the
diamond wheel lapidary system called “The Genie” that it is no
problem to use the diamond wheels on gold or silver. It has a
recirculating water system so it is great for no dust. Maybe you
could call the maker of your lap system and see what they say.

I have been slow to use my Genie in this way,.

Hi Todd

I have a flat lap / faceting machine that I picked up somewhere
along my travels. Being that I am not a stone cutter, I put the
machine to good use sharping and polishing my hand gravers. I use the
same lap disks, and can get a mirror finish on my gravers. It is
fantastic. It also comes in handy when I need to trim a stone to fit
into a setting.



I would think that you would encounter the metal clogging up your
disks or wheels. Just as metal sticks to a file. 

I’ve been using my Raytech facetting machine for this purpose for
many years. Mostly to create truly flat surfaces or specific angles
and facets. I have never put the item on a dopstick, no reason- just
haven’t thought of it, but I sure this opens up a multitude of
possibilites. I always use water and have never had any problem with
clogging, as a bonus metal dust in the air is almost eliminated and
easily reclaimed.

No we.don’t have a website.honestly