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Bad day at the bench rant!

Today was not a good day as far as bench work was concerned, although
it started out quite well. I’ve made a necklace and earring set to
donate to a friend for the auction at her charity ball next week. All
was done except for stone setting and finishing. I’d sent it off to
have it hallmarked and it arrived back this morning. I mounted the
necklace’s seven large settings in Thermo-loc in my vice, ready for
setting. Therein lay the problem I think. The Thermo-loc doesn’t grip
the work in the way that setter’s shelac would so you have to mould
it in such a way that it grips the settings, but not so much that you
can’t get to the settings to turn the metal onto the stones. It just
wasn’t working properly as the settings were sliding around in the
thermoplastic. So I re-warmed it and buried the parts linking the
settings. Then when persuading the bezels onto the turquoise
cabochons, I must have put too much stress on the jump rings I’d
soldered to two of the settings, as they sheared off. I had
repeatedly tested all solder joints previously and they had been
unmovable so I must have stressed them too much when setting.

The result was that I had a necklace set with seven pieces of
turquoise, which was broken in two places. I couldn’t remove the cabs
without damaging them and I couldn’t solder new jump rings onto the
settings due to them having turquoise in them. So I had to take out
the two affected settings (unattach them from the other side) and
start again using two new stones (which fortunately I had on hand).
But that’s a whole new story. I had so much trouble getting my new
bezels to solder onto the backplates. I’ll mention that in another
post. Once finished and new jump rings soldered on, I should be able
to join them back to the rest of the necklace by heat-sinking
adjacent settings and just heating the jump ring used to join them.
Fingers crossed that I can get it back in one piece, set and
finished, ready to send off to my friend in time.

Helen Hill