Bead setting- graver tip keeps breaking

Hello Everyone, I have been having a problem with my #52 round graver
tip constantly breaking while trying to raise a bead , and would
appreciate any comments you may have as to why this is happening.
(I have re-read my class notes, and all chapters on gravers, but am
at a loss here)

So far, this what I have been doing… Regarding grinding, I am
using the coarser of the 2 wheels on my craftsman grinder. I am
grinding away from the tip, and dipping in water often. (When
shaping, I sweep the blade along the wheel, about 1/2" to 3/4"
length of blade at a time- (am I on the wheel too long?)

Regarding the 45 degree angle on the tip, should I be starting this
on the grinder? (maybe this is overheating the tip (?). Or should
the 45 degree angle tip only be done on the india oil stone?

After grinding, I use the india oil stone with oil. (If I go too
fast, would that overheat the tip?)

Then I remove the burrs on crocus paper glued to a glass plate.

I make isolation cuts for the bead, then proceed to raise the bead
(starting at 45 degree angle and wiggling forward to a 90 degree
(perpendicular) position.

It is usually right at the final upward wiggles that the tips

I feel it break and want to cry. My right arm is going to get
bigger than my left arm from all the sharpening going on (which
would be fine if I was actually accomplishing something).

Also (I have been worrying about this) If a graver tip gets
embedded in a bead set piece, and it gets pickled for some reason
later (like if the customer later trys to re-size it), will it get
plated in the pickle from the tip being in there? (if there are like
25 tips in it?)

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you. Julie Balonick

P.S. Special Thanks to Kay Taylor, David Keeling, and David Barzilay
for their help regarding my previous emails.

Hi Julie, Are you using carbon steel or high speed steel? Either way
if you are getting ANY color change, you are grinding too fast…
For bead setting I would change your angle to a bit steeper - 55 or
even 60 degrees. You may also find that a short/small “heel” at the
same radius as your # 52 round graver will help…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/Classrooms

Julie 1) This are my answers to preventing breaking of a point on
bottom of the #52 graver. I use emery paper #2 and score and slightly
round off the very leading edge of the blade. scoring is the method of
roughing the little area that actually goes into the gold or metal.
if the scoring is worn off due to use, it will become slippery and
slide around the metal. so in doing this, the blade will definitely
dig in just where you wish it…!

  1. did you burn or soften the blade during the shaping process??
    did it turn colour to a brown tinge? if you did, the steel is now
    softened to a point of not being able to hold the shape where the
    bead raising area is now.

  2. read my article that will be supplied to you in the next mail-out
    in a day …one dunk of water to 2 cuts on the rotary wheel.

  3. just a light touch on the grinding wheel is all that is needed,
    THIS WILL CAUSE SOME BURNING, alas, number #1 solution to your

  4. you cannot burn any graver while on the oil impregnated Arkansas

  5. use emery paper #1& #2, then number 2/0 and then 4/0 polishing
    papers, read my article for the finer details of graver polishing.
    lots of details, trust me on this…:>)

  6. don’t raise the beading tool to such a high angle, you will be
    asking for major problems here. try angling to only 45o MAXIMUM!!!

  7. get all of the imbedded metal out it will be affecting the
    pickling and Rhodium plating

I would use a finer onglette & remove all of those little metal
shavings of steel, get them out!!!..gerry!

    Hello Everyone, I have been having a problem with my #52 round
graver tip constantly breaking while trying to raise a bead 

Sounds like a brittle graver. I’d either temper it or start off with
a new graver. Could just be bad steel, it happens occasionally.


Julie, Is the graver High Speed Steel or Carbon Steel? If it is
high speed steel you may be fracturing it when you quench it during
the grinding stage. High speed steel is not designed to be cooled as
rapidly as water will cool it. If it is high speed try using a light
oil to cool it like olive oil or don’t cool it at all. High speed
steels are designed to retain their hardness at very high
temperatures. If you use the oil it will take considerably longer to
reduce its temperature.

Jim James Binnion Metal Arts Phone (360) 756-6550 Toll Free (877) 408
7287 Fax (360) 756-2160 @James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau

It sounds like you need to temper your graver?? It’s in the hardened
state so it breaks easier, actually it’s shattering because it’s too
hard. Just my opinion but I’m sure Gerry the Cyber Setter will tell
you more.

Kenneth Ferrell

Dear Julie It sounds like you need to temper the tip of your graver:
I had the same experience once when I started and found out that the
blade was simply to much hardened and therefore too brittle. If you
ask your supplier they should be able to tell you to which degree it
should be tempered. Good luck with the setting. Niels Lovschal
Bornholm, Denmark

The only thing that comes to mind. Is that you heated the tip to
hot. And it became to brittle