Lapping is an almost universal technique. It is commonly used in jewelry making, auto manufacturing, and general shop work. Since it is an abrasive technique, it is used to grind away unneeded material into form. Jewelers use the technique to polish off debris from diamonds and pearls while mechanics use it to clean out combustion particles from engines. It can also be used as a fine grinding method when finishing ornate sculptures made from wood or granite. Since the process requires and abrasive material though, only objects that can withstand wear or interaction with a possibly corrosive chemical should be used.
When lapping, the lapper must consider several things before conducting the procedure. First is the condition of the surface or object to be lapped. Some abrasives are highly corrosive and may permanently damage the surface being cleared. Glass for example is commonly scratched or cracked through lapping. A workman’s safety eye wear may become covered in sludge that needs to be removed. Proper research and preparation would prevent abrasive damage of the lens by using an abrasive that is more dense than the sludge but less dense than the eye wear itself. Lapping tools are also important to the craft.