I have decided to broaden my horizons and start making stone setting, rather than buying findings. I have a bezel block and can get to the stage of soldering the bezel shut. After this I use the bezel punch to turn it into a bezel, but it ALWAYS splits at the top. I don’t know how to fix this.
A bezel block and punch is mostly used to form metal before soldering, instead of forcing an already soldered bezel to change shape.
This video has a lot of tips on using bezel blocks. It’s sponsored by Otto Frei, so it mentions products they sell, but the tips are very good.
I have been learning about making these settings, although I haven’t achieved a very good result yet. However, there are several videos, including the one recommended. The Utube has lots of videos about various things, and one of the more interesting points is that different jewelers have different approaches. Cutting the prongs is a good example of this. Some people use a file and some use a saw between the prongs.
I have tried both using a tube and cutting an arc and soldering a cone. I must say, making the setting from scratch makes you appreciate buying ready made ones!
Are you making a straight setting before using the block or a cone shape… you may have better luck with a cone shape.
I was making a straight setting before soldering the joint. That is helpful I formation, as is all the tips here. Orchid is such a great resource.
I make my tapered bezels from sheet. I pierce the arc shape easily enough, but bending it up is very difficult for heavy bezels. After a number of experiments ending in dead-ends I eventually designed a special pair of pliers which work extremely well. At first glance they look like fairly standard parallel pliers, but they’re not.
What gage is your bezel?
My bezel wasn’t in gauge, the sheet I rolled myself to around 1 mm
I was thinking…the fact that your bezel split right at the seam makes me wonder if the seam might not be getting soldered completely/properly…?..
I have tried testing solder joints by trying to pull them apart, and if the joint was soldered completely, it would not pull apart, but rather the metal around the joint might have torn…
if I recall correctly, the solder combines with the parent metal, and creates a second (or third?) alloy…(ie: it is not just “gluing” the two ends together)
so it should become a solid metal…?
hmmm…then again…maybe this second alloy is weaker than the parent metal…?
…when you think the solder has flown, perhaps hold the heat on it for just a few seconds longer…?
…just my musings…
There’s nothing different about the hinge, it’s a standard parallel pliers hinge. The secret is in the shape of the jaws which are designed to conform to the conical shape of any sized bezel of that particular angle.
I replaced the standard jaws in a pair of parallel pliers with the special ones that I designed and made.
genius! I would love to do a custom order for a pair!
I’ll buy a pair. Or you can maybe arrange with a tool maker like Eurotools to make them?
@gwooding, parallel pliers appear to be ideal for jaw replacement, but their hollow handles seem lightweight.
If you’re using heavy pliers similar to these: http://www.ottofrei.com/Parallel-Pliers-Heavy-Combo-Flat-Half-Round-Made-in-England , are your jaws heavy compared to the handles? I’m wondering if jaw weight might explain why truly heavy duty bending pliers are hard to find?
The handles are exactly the same as those in Ottofrei’s listing. I used a standard pair of Maun pliers (5.5" long) and the handles are easily strong enough.
The bezels bend quite easily and are hardly marked at all.
When I made the jaws I didn’t really think that anybody would be interested. They are designed to work properly for bezels of a particular angle, so I need to know the angle required if I were to make any more.