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New resin wheels

This is a question for the lapidaries among us. My 6" resin wheels have worn out. At least the backing is showing through and I suspect that they will be worn out soon. I bought them about 10 years ago from Kingsley North and they are their standard resin wheel. They have served me well and, to be honest, I abuse them by polishing silver and steel tools on them as well as lapidary. Before I buy another set of standard wheels, is there anything else that works better? I am thinking NOVA wheels, but I have no experience with them. Any thoughts are appreciated…Rob

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Update…I actually looked at the wheels on my arbor and they are NOVA. I must have upgraded from the package that Kingsey North was offering at the time and forgot about it. I called Kingsley North. They looked back in their records and I purchased the arbor and wheels in 2015, so I guess that they lasted about 6 years…Rob

While I’ve never used Kingsley North’s wheels, Rob, I think that 6 years of life that includes your abuse sounds pretty good. I’ve worn out a couple of DP wheels on my Pixie after 8-10 years, and I’ve had my Genie for less than one year.
— Gary

I have always been very happy with Kingsley North for lapidary equipment and supplies. They take the time to answer questions and even called me back to tell me when I bought the wheels after they had a chance to research it. I will new wheels on order because I use and abuse them daily…Rob

Hey Rob,
IDK what grits you are planning on replacing…I started cabbing years ago (like about 40) on a machine I built myself with a grinding wheel and an expanding drum on it. A few years ago I got a used Genie type system with the resin wheels and used it a while. I hated the resin wheels because it is just like having those old wooden spools you charge with diamond (I have a set of those, too). You have to keep the stone moving all the time to end up with a decent curve. With the expanding drum, you can just push in and get a good curve easily. If you are replacing coarse grits, I guess the resin wheels work OK. for the 600 grit and finer steps, maybe even for a 220 sanding grit, I would change those resin wheels out and go with a 1.5" expanding drum. I had to get a shaft extender made for my machine and change out the spacers between the wheels, but now I have two expanding drums. You can use SiC belts on them, which are much cheaper than diamond belts and work quite well with most materials that are not corundum-hard. Or diamond resin belts or even canvas belts or similar to which you add your chosen diamond grit.

I have heard of people rejuvenating those resin wheels by mixing diamond grit with epoxy and smearing it on…but IDK how well that works. If they’re dead already… -royjohn

royjohn…I have a set of 3" expanding wheels and SC belts from 80 to 3000 grit. I also have a home made magnetic 8" flat lap with both SC and diamond disc in the same grit range plus crystal pads with diamond past up to 50,000 grit. I have a set of concave wooden wheels charged with diamond paste, but I have never really used them. I got them when I thought that I wanted to cut opal. That all being said, I had the best luck with my combination plated diamond grinding wheels and resin wheels from 600 to 3,000 grit and then cerium or some other oxide polish depending n the material. Oh, I forgot the tumbler that I never use…Rob

Wow, Rob,
Lottsa stuff! I guess different strokes for different folks…as I said, I really didn’t like the resin wheels and look forward to using the expanding drums, which I haven’t used a lot since putting them on. I have lots of stuff here to cab that I should get to… -royjohn

royjohn…So do I have lots of stuff. I inherited all of our father’s semiprecious rock rough (about 2,000 pounds). I had to get back into cabbing and started trying different types of equipment. After a lot of experimentation, I have settled on a Lortone arbor with a 100 and 220 grit diamond wheel and four resin wheels. They, along with polishing pads, work for me. My current challenge is that I have abused my resin wheels on metal objects and need to replace them. Thanks…Rob