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Bezel roller


#1

Greetings all. I am putting together a jewelry fabrication kit for
my dear daughter… who was using my tools, but had the audacity to
move out and on. I bought a bezel roller from one of the major
suppliers and it is… well… crap. I just looked at another on the
web from another respected supplier… and it is the same piece of
crap. The description says “highly polished steel”… and what you
get is a piece of stamped steel with a face that looks like an orange
peel - stuck on a stick :slight_smile: Yes, I know I could make one… but all
that annealing, shaping, hardening, and polishing… is a bit much for
a ten buck tool I should be able to find somewhere. But I imagine an
old file would work wonderfully:) The two suppliers I tried…
ummmmm… support this list… so don’t point me in that direction:)
I’m just wondering if anyone actually makes a decent one anymore…
and that is why the suppliers don’t have one. So, does anyone know
where I can buy a high quality bezel roller … or am I gonna have
to make one?? Might be easier to just make it out of agate… less
work.


#2
I bought a bezel roller from one of the major suppliers and it
is.... well... crap. 

I’ve never used a bezel roller out of the box without sanding and
polishing it first. My last bezel roller I bought was at a rock and
gem show from a fellow dealer so I can’t give you a source but I
bought it because it came with a large enough handle for my large
hands but it did have a nice finish that only required a light
sanding and buffing.

I checked my usual supply sources and it appears they all sell the
same stamped piece of imported crap so unless someone else has a
source I would say get out your file, fine sand paper, and polish.

Rick Copeland
rockymountainwonders.com


#3

Brent,

Interesting that you should ask. I have written an article for Art
Jewelry Magazine, “How to Make and Properly Use a Bezel Roller”.
Unfortunately, while they accepted the article, it’s publication has
been dragging out due to a backlog of jewelry articles. I cannot send
you the text because they now own the rights to it. But, I bet if you
query Kalmbach Publishing and ask when the article will be published
it might move things along a bit.

I can tell you that the best rollers are made of brass and by making
it yourself, you can adjust the width, length and angle of arc, size
of handle and all that jazz. Only takes about a hour! Don’t make it
of steel…that’s worthless!!

Cheers, Don in SOFL.


#4

I made my first and only bezel roller about 20 years by heating
forging and grinding a 1/4 machine bolt. The head of the bolt,
beaten down and shaped, is the business end; the thread end is
screwed into a wooden handle. It’s stubbier - shorter along the arc
and considerably thicker - than the bought variety, feels better in
the hand and is much less prone to slip.

Cheers,
Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


#5
Don't make it of steel...that's worthless!! 

Agreed. Besides steel being a tad hard to use next to soft stones,
it also is slipperier. Brass let’s you put some purchase to the bezel
with a lessened proclivity to slip from the bezel onto the stone.
Ouch.

Most of the commercial rollers I have seen have a convex profile, in
addition to the basic curve of the tool, slip city. I made one with a
flat cross section (about 5-10 degrees off square) and rough finish,
much better control. For one tough job I ground a groove into the
face, zero slippage.


#6

Thanks Don… I eagerly await that article. Why do you say brass is
better than steel?


#7

Might be interesting to see some pics of the bezel rollers that
others have made - especially some like the ones that Neil described!

Debbie


#8

Thanks for the tip… had not thought about using a threaded bolt to
secure it in the handle!


#9

Brent, A good place to get thick gauge brass is at the local
Salvation Army or Thrift Store. Look for candle holders etc… you
want something 1-5 ga (4 to 7 mm). Just draw out a shape, cut or
grind it out and proceed to shape and smooth. I leave a 1" shank
that I glue into a dowel that fits my hand!!

Cheers, Don in SOFL


#10

Brent,

Why do you say brass is better than steel? 

There are a couple of reasons. The most important to me is that the
brass gives a better grip on the noble metal (be it silver or gold or
whatever). Polished steel tends to be very slippery and it is more
difficult to keep it in place (I think Sam P mentioned that as well).
Also, steel is more likely to mar the bezel material. The slightest
wobble and the edges leave a mark. If the surface of the roller
becomes nicked or what ever, it will also leave a mark. Brass won’t
do that.

If a bezel roller is used properly, there will be no need to use a
burnisher so it is important that no marks are left on the bezel
material.

Cheers, Don in SOFL


#11

For decades I have used a bezel pusher that I made. The business end
is a forged from 3/16 square tool steel; the tip about 7x2 mm, with
a slight arc, and with a satin finished surface. The handle is a
large graver handle, overall the entire tool is about 2 3/4" long. I
have never liked the file type handle on the commercial bezel
rollers, I find the palm held tool gives me much more control. I
extend my thumb and index finger out past the tip for stability. It
has worked very well for me on thousands of bezels.

Considering the brass comments, I will probably duplicate this tool
using brass rod, and give that a try.


#12

OK, so I bought some brass stock for a bezel roller. I am assuming I
need a high polish on the business end. It seems a matte finish
would slip less… but will that imprint the bezel??


#13
OK, so I bought some brass stock for a bezel roller. I am assuming
I need a high polish on the business end. It seems a matte finish
would slip less.. but will that imprint the bezel? 

Not necessarily Brent. It should be smooth but doesn’t need to be
polished. As you use it, it will burnish and find its own level of
polish. That’s another nice thing about brass vs steel!

Cheers, Don in SOFL.