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All the little things! All the little things are called details. You can find details in all kinds of places. Some can only be found in parts catalogs if you have never worked in the field. There are details that are different from one engine to another in the same brand. I love to see a person of any age learn how to do something new and different to them. It is fun to see people make progress and have a successful complete project what ever that project may be.
Take lapping. What you seemed to think lapping was you most likely got from people talking about what they heard and was not applying it properly. Lapping is a finishing touch. Lapping compound is sandpaper in paste form. Lapping is placing the compound on the bottom surface placing the top surface on it and rotating it left right left right a few times. Remove the top surface, wipe clean, put a small amount of bluing on the top surface, placing the top surface on the bottom surface and without turning lift the top surface off the bottom surface. You then look at the transfer to see if you have an even transfer of bluing which shows if you have a seal or you need to repeat the steps again. It is not possible to control the angle of the seal when lapping a valve. To try to grind your valves with lapping compound, with enough time and compound, will dig a round groove as a seat.
This would get an engine running and you could get a high compression check but you have a temporary fix at best. This is learned detail that comes time and only one of many. In the early 1960's in a factory and be being the new guy on the job I was taught the art of lapping a 1/2" wide seal that was over 6 inches in diameter. The top weighing over 40 pounds. Over 20 hours on the first job. I could not let the full 40 pounds onto the bottom surface while turning.
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