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Bezel forming block


#1

Hi,

Does anyone have experience using a bezel forming block? I have
looked all over for directions on it use and blank. They come in
round forming, rectangular, square, and oval that I am aware of. I
have a rectangular one I am trying to ‘master’ and the master is far
away!! One of those toys I bought sometime ago thinking it would save
time… Not so at this point. Any info or directions to pointing to
some site would be appreciated.

Peace,
Carole


#2
Does anyone have experience using a bezel forming block 

This has been discussed many times.

Search the Orchid Archives. You will find there. You
might have to try a few different keyword searches and will
undoubtedly have to filter some non related content that mentions
bezels.

Taking advantage of the full power of Orchid means making use of the
Archives.

mds


#3
Any info or directions to pointing to some site would be
appreciated. 

Especially for shapes other than round, I think of bezel blocks as a
tool used to refine and true up a bezel that’s already almost the
right shape. Bend it to the shape you desire, perhaps a bit larger.
Then it’s driven down into the die. You can do this by placing a
steel block over the bezel (it’s flat surface pushes the bezel
evenly) and hammering down, or squeezing the two together in a vise,
or using an arbor press, or directly with a hammer. (I prefer either
a press or the vise method over hammers for this) This compresses the
lower edge, slightly thickening it, as it forces the bezel into the
tapered opening. The punch is then used to finish it up, forcing the
whole thing cleanly into the block. If, when you’re done punching it
into the block, the upper edge is not even, you can either file
protruding parts back down to the block surface, or put the bezel
into the next smaller opening, and use the surface of the block as a
reference surface to mark a level line around the bezel to which you
file the edge down to. That keeps the upper edge true to the taper of
the bezel. The lower edge can then be scribed referencing that upper
edge, to refine it too if needed. One unique aspect to this method is
the way in which it takes uniform thickness metal that you started
with, and gives you a bezel that’s thicker at the bottom. While this
is not always useful, if you’re doing something like sawing and
filing that bezel (usually round or oval for this method) into the
classic “crown” prong setting, then you end up with prongs that are
thicker and stronger at the base than at the tips. That can be a
quite good thing, as it makes prongs harder to accidentally bend back
away from a stone after setting.

You can also sometimes make the initial bezel smaller, so the punch
can be used to stretch the bezel into the die, but as often as not,
rather than cleanly stretching the whole bezel edge, it tears it,
which isn’t so useful. Bezels without much height work best with
this.

A final way to use this is to start with a thicker metal blank in
sheet metal, cut flat to fit just into the block, with a shaped hole
in the center for the punch. punching this then drives the center
down and stretches it to become the lower edge of the bezel (the
opposite of the approach described in the second paragraph. This is
most useful for round bezels, where simple circle or hole punches can
quickly make a washer shape, but you can do this with other shapes
too. it works best if you don’t need a bezel with much height.

In short, there are a number of ways to use these tools. They are
not so much great time savers, as they are a means to get the bezels
really straight, with uniform angles and proportions. You can start
with a fabricated bezel on which you didn’t spend much time, so it’s
not quite straight or perfect in proportions for example, and the
bezel block and punch evens it up for you.

The main downside to the things is that as often as not, the actual
size and proportions you need is not quite what the block produces.
This isn’t so much a problem with round punches or those with even
proportions like squares or triangles, but for ovals or rectangles,
where you may wish a different length to width ratio, the bezel
blocks may be not so useful…

Hope that helps

Peter


#4

Does anyone have experience using a bezel forming block? I have
looked all over for directions on it use and blank. They come in
round forming, rectangular, square, and oval that I am aware of. I
have a rectangular one I am trying to ‘master’ and the master is far
away!!

Bezel blocks are great tools, but to get professional results out of
them is not simple. Before using shapes like squares, triangles, and
octagonal, round and oval have to become comfortable.

The circumference of a bezel must be pre-determined and that
involves some math. Since circles are the easiest in this respects,
every shape starts as a round one and gets modified to what is
required.

I have couple of DVDs where use of bezel block is demonstrated.
“Coronet Cluster”

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/fp is more accessible than “Ballerina
Ring”, and if you want to give the whole project a try, start with
"Eternity Ring" http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1f0

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

Peter,

Thank you so much for your time.

Being a tool geek I have a habit of picking up a tool sometimes that
revs my imagination and think ‘I am sure I could do something with
that" I have always done cabochon bezel setting and would like to
’expand’. I did set a square tube piece in the square block and tore
the side out at the bottom, did it twice, then moved on to the round
with a round tube and a split on the bottom with that one. So I put
it aside and realized I need some input. I hadn’t thought that it had
been designed for wire settings… duh… So much to learn and
experiment with… Love it. Sometimes I get caught up in the
experimenting and can’t let go of something until I ‘solve’ it. Funny
how that can just take hold of your head. I can see by your statement
that there are a ‘number of ways to use them’ that you like
creativity and that is what I thought when I initially saw them.
Thanks so much for your time, it is greatly appreciated.

Peace for all people,
Carole


#6

Carole,

So I put it aside and realized I need some input. I hadn't thought
that it had been designed for wire settings.... duh.. 

I don’t recall saying the bezel blocks WERE designed for wire
settings. Perhaps you thought I meant such when I mentioned using
the cone’s produced by a bezel block as the starting point for
piercing out a classic “coronet” setting. You can, if you wish, use
them to help true up a wire setting, but there are problems doing so,
because with a wire setting, the upper and lower gallery wires need
to remain flat and evenly spaced. If you use a bezel block on an
entire setting which is out of true, as the metal moves to fit the
block, both the flatness of the galleries, and the spacing between
them, not to mention the details of the prong wires too, can all be
thrown out of whack. The blocks ARE useful for truing up single
wires, like the gallery wires before they’re assembled, but for that,
the block is overkill, as you can almost more quickly do it just at
the bench. heavy round rings, though, can be trued up, and closed at
the same time by driving them into a block, but again, this isn’t an
essential role for the blocks.

They’re called Bezel blocks, not wire head blocks, simply because
that’s their main intended use. But you can use them in other ways
if you find it works. For me, at least, their main use is with
bezels, meaning cone shaped pieces of solid sheet metal. The block
can true up the cone shape (or equivalent versions in non round
shapes), as well as helping to true up the top and bottom edges of
it. I find they work best as compression dies, forcing a premade
shape down into the block rather than trying to stretch one into the
block with the punch. Overly thin metal may not work so well, as it
buckles rather than compressing. Be sure the metal is well annealed
first.

hope that clarifies…
Peter


#7
... I mentioned using the cone's produced by a bezel block as the
starting point for piercing out a classic "coronet" setting. 

I believe there once were instructions for this on Hans Meevis’s and
Leonid Surpin’s websites (and maybe there still are). There is a
full page of instructions on how to form a bezel in the 2004 Otto
Frei Tools & Equipment catalog, and a few pages in Alan Revere’s
Professional Goldsmithing book.

I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while. My present goal is
to be able to make a 6-prong crown setting for an 8mm round faceted
stone, with repeatable success. I’d be happy with a 50% success rate,
at this point.

I never did well with the Otto Frei method. The sharply pointed
punch would always flare one end of the bezel or the other way too
much, often tearing it. I didn’t have much success with Alan Revere’s
method either, surely due to my shortcomings rather than his
instructions. Also, I don’t want to have a solder seam.

For quite a while now I have been trying to form a cone and pierce
that into a crown setting as mentioned above, with a low-percentage
success rate. So that there would be no solder seam I’ve started with
a punched disc and domed it in a dapping block. Converting that to a
cone shape has been difficult.

I’ve tried extending the half-sphere shape by forcing it through the
holes of a very large draw plate (for tubing) and pushing the
semi-cone deeper and deeper into a bezel block using smaller and
smaller dapping punches. (The bezel block punch has too sharp a point
and would just tear the shape open.) This thins the small end of the
cone and the shape is almost always unsatisfactory.

Lately I’ve taken a different tack. I’ve tried ‘pre-piercing’ the
disc, making something like a 6-pointed iron cross, and punching that
into the bezel block. This almost works. The punching has to be dead
center or the cone will be off-center; and the claws (which are extra
wide, for later refinement) tend to twist and take on an irregular
spacing. I’d like to get this to work because it is much easier to
lay out the piercing on a flat disc than on a smaller, formed cone,
and because the cone-forming almost works.

I play with this off and on. My next experiment will be to make a
punch out of hard wood that is in the shape of a cone, but does not
have a sharp point. That should work better than a series of smaller
and smaller dapping punches. Perhaps I’ll file recesses for the 6
claws into the wooden punch so the claws will stay equidistant and
not twist.

I’m doing this more out of stubbornness than need. No doubt there is
a strong element of comedy in this tale, for those of you who can do
this with ease.

I find they work best as compression dies, forcing a premade shape
down into the block rather than trying to stretch one into the
block with the punch. 

How do you do that? If the cone extends above the block then for the
most part the metal above the block just flares out and makes a wide
collar, for me. If the cone is entirely within the bezel block then
how do you force the cone down? A punch as wide as the cone’s top
will ram into the bezel block wall, and a narrower punch won’t get
much purchase on the cone’s rim.

This is all basically a puzzlement.

Neil A.


#8

Neil,

From your process descriptions, you’re making this much too hard for
yourself.

Start with flat sheet the thickness you wish for the tips of the
prongs. Make sure this is thick enough. Too thin, and you’ll have
problems. The base will get thicker, which is good for strength of
the prongs. figure out what length of stock you’d need were you
making a straight sided bezel for your stone, then cut a piece that
will make either a straight cylindrical bezel shape, or you can lay
it out as a bit of an arc that will make a cone shape. Either way,
the top edge will form a circle either the right size for your
coronet, or slightly larger. Fit and solder the joint very tightly,
so you won’t see a solder seam. Use the hardest grade of solder you
can control, or better yet, fuse the seam if of a metal where this
works well.

Now round it out if it wasn’t already. Doesn’t need to be exact.
Then, starting with a bezel block hole large enough so your shape
only sticks up a bit above the top, force it down in with a press of
some sort, or if you’re careful, a steel block placed on top (so the
pressure surface is level to the top of the block) and hammer it
down. I much prefer a press. The result will be your original
cylinder shape except the bottom edge will have started to compress
to a cone shape. Move on to the next smaller size hole, until you’ve
reached one where the cone fully fills the upper circumference of the
hole. At each hole, the amount of the piece that has assumed a cone
shape to conform with the bezel block will increase. When you’ve
gotten to the point where the hole you’re using is the same or
slightly smaller than original size of your blank, you then can true
up the whole thing with the punch. As you’ve noted, if the blank was
slightly larger than the hole you’ve used, the excess metal will have
flattened to a bit of a rim. Rather than this flange being a problem,
it’s put to use, because you left yourself some extra height in the
blank. So now, you can use that rim as a ready made layout line to
file the top of your cone shape right to that rim, so now the top
edge of perfectly true to the cone shape. Even if your original blank
was exactly the right size to fit your final hole in the bezel block
so there’s no flange, the top edge is likely to need a little truing
up with a file. Just be sure to keep it level. The block will help
you see this. Use dividers to mark the desired distance from that top
edge down to the bottom edge. No doubt the bottom edge, which has
compressed and thickened, will be a little bit off level. Maybe quite
a bit. But you can again, use this scribed line to file that bottom
edge true to the top. Now you’ve got a perfect cone shape. For a
coronet head, you now scribe a second line an appropriate distance
from the bottom edge, and using that line, saw off the bottom forming
a shallow cone that will fit up against the remaining larger one for
a base. Now you lay out your prongs, and saw and file them to shape.
Then saw out the openings in the bottom of the prongs to match. Clean
them all up, and prepolish at least those bottom cutouts, as well as
the top surface of that previously sawed off bottom rim, which you
now carefully solder back onto the top part. A bit more clean up,
and you’re done.

Skip the bits about trying to start with flat disks or sawed out
star shapes. Won’t work all that well, as you’ve found. You cannot
get enough depth to a cone made this way, and the stars just deform
too much. You could make shallow tapered bezels perhaps, but not a
properly proportioned prong/coronet setting.

Peter


#9

I sometimes use round and oval blocks for stretching single chain
links up. Never had call to use square…etc blocks, and that would
probably damage the metal too much anyway. Method is to place the
link over a smaller hole, and drive the punch into a little at a
time. Then flip it over and repeat. It isn’t a perfect method for
doing it, but when that one-off extension link is that bit too
small
it’s a great alternative to hammering.

Jamie Hall
http://primitive.ganoksin.com


#10
I've been struggling with this for quite a while. My present goal
is to be able to make a 6-prong crown setting for an 8mm round
faceted stone, with repeatable success. I'd be happy with a 50%
success rate, at this point. 

After reading complete post, I can say that you are on the right
track. Few refinement should be of some help.

First, you must accept that annealing has to be done more often that
recommended. Natural question is about damage to structure of metal.
We will deal with it later.

Thickness of metal matter here, so start with 1.2 mm. Starting disk
diameter should be double length of side of intended cone. I am not
talking about height of the cone, but actual length from point to the
rim. This is more metal than you need, but we need some extra.

Form half-dome and than proceed like you described by forcing into
smaller and smaller dies of the bezel block. Here are few details
that should help you. Polish inside edges of the block dies. They are
way to sharp in original condition. The whole inside surface has to
be polished. There is a lot of friction between wall of block dies
and the metal. You need to create conditions where metal can slip. It
means polished surfaces and lubrication.

Another important factor is tool that is used to drive cone in and
the force applied. By forcing cone into smaller and smaller dies, the
thickness of walls of cone must increase. Unfortunately, this is the
most unlikely scenario of metal behavior when cone is relatively
unconstrained. Metal will do anything else but that, so care is
required. If you use too much force the upper edge of the cone will
flare, if you use too little, nothing will be accomplished. Examine
cone frequently to see if any progress is been made. Anneal if metal
does not move. If any flaring starts developing, file it away. That
is why we started with more metal than we need.

Remember to file off a bit of thickness after every couple of dies,
or metal grow too thick to be moved. The tool used to force cone into
dies are very important consideration.

I know you have my DVDs, so review Coronet Cluster again. You must
use tool shown there. If tool is too hard, it will cause edge of the
cone to flatten, which will cause the edge to be caught on edge of
bezel die and split eventually. If tool is too soft, the surface of
the tool will simply be eroded by edge of the cone and once again no
progress will be made. There is a relationship between hardness of
the tool and the cone.

If there are tearing of the tip of the cone, it means that inside of
dies are not smooth enough. This can be overcome by polishing of
inside or simply making cone taller and discarding the tip.

When cone of the required size is obtained, place finished cone in
the die and do some hammering using collet punch that came with the
block. This is necessary to repair metal structure, which was
impaired by frequent annealing.

The last point is that in this process friction is your main enemy.
Metal will move in desired direction if it will be more difficult to
move in any other direction. So technique, tools, methodology should
all be geared towards this goal.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11
Skip the bits about trying to start with flat disks or sawed out
star shapes. Won't work all that well, as you've found. You cannot
get enough depth to a cone made this way 

I agree that starting with disk is not the easiest way of doing it,
but it is an important technique to master. While coronet setting can
be accomplished in several different way, forming narrow cone out of
solid disk is the foundation of making seamless tubing and therefore
is very important.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#12

Neil,

If you are trying to make 4,6,8… Prong settings, check Otto Frei’s
prong setting jigs and ask if they have instructions that go with
them.

Vasken Tanielian


#13
Thickness of metal matter here, so start with 1.2 mm. 

Yes, I’ve been using thinner stock. I’ll have to order heavier
metal.

You need to create conditions where metal can slip. It means
polished surfaces and lubrication. 

Ah. I haven’t been using lubricant in the bezel block. Given the
similarity to drawing wire and tubing through a draw plate, I should
have known better.

I know you have my DVDs, so review Coronet Cluster again. 

Yes, I really enjoyed seeing that again. I need to review them more
often. There is a lot of content and I seem to forget.

You must use tool shown there. 

Ha! I didn’t notice that before. Ingenious. To those who have
written me off list regarding bezel blocks, just that part of the DVD
is worth the cost.

Thank you for your help.

Best wishes,
Neil A.


#14

A number of people who have also been having problems with using a
bezel block have sent me email off list in response to my post, so
I’m going to respond to Peter’s and Leonid’s postings separately, and
when I have my own results (eventually) I’ll come back and share
those.

From your process descriptions, you're making this much too hard
for yourself. 

Me?!! Well, O.K. that has happened before.

Make sure this is thick enough. Too thin, and you'll have problems.

I’ve been using 18 ga. / 1mm. I’ll obtain thicker stock. I have
suspected that 1mm was marginal for a setting of this size. I’ve
been using Argentium because I have it on hand and it is malleable,
but I know that for a ring, a setting really should be made in white
or yellow gold. (Platinum is never going to happen…)

...force it down in with a press of some sort 

I tried pressing a domed disc into a bezel block cavity with a 20 ton
hydraulic press and inch-thick 40 durometer urethane, thinking the
urethane might fill the cavity. The urethane was utterly destroyed
without doing much good. Stiffer urethane probably would not have
filled the cavity any better, so I’m calling that a dead end.

As to using a press directly, I have a 2 ton arbor press that would
be far more controllable than just using a hammer, and I’m sure a 1
ton or even a half-ton arbor press would work for this. I’ll give
this a try as soon as possible.

The result will be your original cylinder shape except the bottom
edge will have started to compress to a cone shape. Move on to the
next smaller size hole, until you've reached one where the cone
fully fills the upper circumference of the hole. 

Interesting. I’d have assumed a cylinder would buckle. That’s why
one should use thicker stock, eh?

Now you've got a perfect cone shape. For a coronet head, you
now.... A bit more clean up, and you're done.

I’ve made a few good cones (out of many tries) and have made a few
settings. The trick has been to make the cone, so I could move on to
the rest of the process.

Thank you for the help.
Best wishes,
Neil A.


#15
Lately I've taken a different tack. I've tried 'pre-piercing' the
disc, making something like a 6-pointed iron cross, and punching
that into the bezel block. This almost works. The punching has to
be dead center or the cone will be off-center; and the claws (which
are extra wide, for later refinement) tend to twist and take on an
irregular spacing. I'd like to get this to work because it is much
easier to lay out the piercing on a flat disc than on a smaller,
formed cone, and because the cone-forming _almost_ works. 

I don’t really think that trying to avoid a soldered seam by forming
a bezel from a disk is worth the effort (for me, anyway). My bezels
start off on flat sheet from the standard "Development of a Cone"
procedure. The following link illustrates the method. If I really
don’t want a soldered seam I simply weld it with my PUK welder.

First determine the cone angle of the bezel block you will use; half
of this angle is angle “A” in the drawing. The included angle (in
degrees) of the Fan-shaped blank is simply the Sine of angle "A"
multiplied by 360. IE. 360xSinA.

The special tool shown for initial bending of the blank was designed
and made by me and, although essentially very simple, is surprisingly
complicated to design.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#16

Making settings. My teaching notes.

I have a post on my blog: ‘On Your Metal’ on Ganoksin,
( http://ganoksin.com/blog/davidcruickshank/ ) also they should be
available to anyone on: ‘Dropbox’ or Google Docks, labeled ‘Setting
notes’ which cover making the common types of settings. I used these
notes when I was teaching so they are designed for beginners who only
have basic equipment. Though there are various ideas and methods
which everyone might find useful. Setting plates are great to use but
are expensive if you are not going to use them repeatedly. Please
look at my notes and download them if you can there are no
restrictions on their use. But please do not edit or change them
online. I hope these are of use.

David Cruickshank (Australia)
jewellerydavidcruickshank.com.au


#17
I've been using 18 ga. / 1mm. I'll obtain thicker stock. I have
suspected that 1mm was marginal for a setting of this size. 

Just a few notes on thickness and how it relates to task at hand. A
lot depends on difference in diameter between dies. Most common is
1mm. What we are trying to achieve is that when going to smaller die,
the part of the cone that extends above the surface of the block is
less than thickness of metal. If this is the case, it would be very
difficult for metal to flare and it has not choice but to go down. If
our bezel block would have difference of 0.1mm between dies ( it
would be very expensive block ) we could form our cone from 0.5mm and
even thinner.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#18

I thought I had sent this a few weeks ago, but had not. It is in
reference to this post by Peter Rowe:

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/bezel-forming-block

and this post by Leonid Surpin

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/bezel-forming-block

I followed their advice - to polish the dies in my bezel block and
use lubricant; to use heavier stock; and to seat the piece so only a
small part was above the bezel block prior to compression. Worked
like a charm.

Peter said that a cone or cylinder could be used as a starting point
for forming a bezel, and the idea of starting with a cylinder
intrigued me, so I fused a strip of Argentium into a tube and
followed his directions. See his post, referenced above, for the
details. I used a 2-ton arbor press, and it took a bit of force. A
1-ton press might work, 1/2 ton maybe not. It would be easier if one
was making a narrow bezel rather than a cone for a crown setting,
which was my goal.

Next I Followed Leonid’s directions, which were for forming a cone
from a flat disc dapped into a hemisphere. I wanted to do this
because there would be no seam. I followed his directions, referenced
above, using the tool shown in his Coronet Cluster DVD. This also
worked out extremely well. Wall thickness around the cone was more
even than with the cone I made from a fused cylinder. Probably the
area of the fusing made for a less uniform cylinder to start with.

Having had no end of trouble using a bezel block previously, I can
now make bezels and cones using either method. My sincere thanks to
Leonid and Peter for their help with this! Now I have the starting
point for practicing how to make a crown stetting, as described by
Hans Meevis, here (my thanks to Hans, too):

http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/making-decorative-crown.htm

Neil A.