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Bezels and a patterned sheet

Hello everyone! I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing
something obvious. I’d like to buy a rolling mill for adding texture
to sheet. My understanding is that if I want a textured surround (so
texture showing around/on the sides of the stone), I’d need to solder
the bezel to a smooth back plate first, and then cut out a hole for
the bezel, from the textured plate and solder the textured plate to
the back plate? Otherwise, I’d have gaps if I tried to solder the
bezel onto a textured piece? I suppose that the smooth back plate
could be a different width from the textured plate? so long as there
is enough of a lip to solder the two together?

I wonder what my chance of cutting a hole, in the textured
backplate, to match an irregular shaped cab bezel?

I can’t seem to wrap thick half round wire as decorative base
without leaving gaps between the bezel and the wire, which become
obvious after I try setting the stone.


I’ve soldered bezels to textured sheets… I got around the problem
by using a lot of solder. My theory was… at the ‘high points’ of
the texture I’d get a good join, and the ‘low points’ of the texture
would be filled in by the excess solder.

The texture on the sheets was ‘organic’ enough that the extra
soldered that flowed around the bezel wasn’t noticable.

Course I’m a complete amateur, and was just happy that the bezel was
successfully attached!


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The process to do this depends on a number of things. The first
is…how deep is the pattern? Deep patterns do not take well to
having things soldered on. If too much solder is used, it can easily
flow outward into the deep depressions and cause a shadow effect.
Shallow patterns may more readily accept such an operation but, if
the pattern is delicate you can easily overfill at the join and wipe
out detail.

I have done the following many times in such a case. Place the bezel
on the pattern and draw a line with a fine awl or sharp pencil
around it on the inside and the outside. This gives a mark the width
of the bezel metal. Now, with a very fine bur (a ball bur works well
and is more easily controlled but other burs can be used as well)
make a shallow (and I mean shallow) furrow between these two lines.
For deep patterns it can be a bit deeper and less so for shallow.
Make the furrow as narrow as possible but wide enough that the bezel
fits evenly into it. Now continue with your soldering as normal.
Should you make a mistake and end up with a job that is not as neat
as you would like, you can also mask it with a beaded, twisted or
even plain wire around the bezel at the join. Cheers from Don in


Hi, b4 texturing yr base, why not just put dowm a piece of paper,the
size of yr bezel,+ then yr texture material on top, + then push it
thru yr mill… When i was still very ‘green’ @ this, i also
soldered bezel 2 textured silver + ended up with a complete mess.
Wasted so much paste! Of course, it was for a bangle + my idea (job)
was too advanced, but hey, i was green + 2 eager 2 impress my tutor! :slight_smile:

Thanks Rita! Did you find, with excess solder, that you ever
encountered pitting/bubbles in the solder? I find that when I have
too much, or a bit a gap under the bezel that didn’t slump, that I
get these darn pits that are annoying (mild term for them).


The answer to this problem is to cut a hole in the sheet that
exactly fits the bezel and then solder it inside this hole. It’s a
lot more work but it makes for an exact fit with no weak spots


Like I said, I’m just an amateur.

But the pits I get seem to come when…

  1. there’s a low point in the texture which creates a gap. That
    makes me think… should have added more solder to fill that hole! I
    sometimes add bezels on top of ‘leaf textured’ plates and sometimes
    very deep veins give me this problem.

  2. I overheat. That generally happens when I go back and try to
    patch an unsuccessful job… the sections that were successfully
    soldered the first time around end up pitted. Or if I used WAY TOO
    MUCH solder and end up with a solder lump that just sits there… I
    tend to overheat as I try to get that solder to all flow.

Your idea of cutting a hole and inserting a bezel complete with
backplate is of course a much neater and professional solution.

Another option I thought of was to carve out the bottom of the bezel
so it fits onto the textured plate like a jigsaw puzzle piece. I
think that would work better when the texture consists largely of
raised lines, rather than sunken lines.


Dear Rita,

Try painting a ring (closely but not touching the bezel )around the
bezel on the patterned sheet with White-Out. That will act as a
solder stop since it won’t flow thru the white-out. Also good on the
solder seam of the bezel so that doesn’t accidently open from too
much heat. Also, heat the sheet from UNDER- it will draw the solder
around the bezel.

Good luck.
Ruthie Cohen

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why not just put dowm a piece of paper,the size of yr bezel,+ then
yr texture material on top, + then push it thru yr mill..... 

I love that suggestion! So the piece of paper would roll thru as
smooth on a textured surface, leaving a nice smooth spot for the


Thanks Don - I can see how solder would puddle, flow and fill in a
fine pattern - good point. I will try your method w a bur bit. I
would imagine that it would best when using a sufficiently thick
piece of sheet. If my sawing is any indication of my future talent
with a bur bit, well, let’s just say that I’ll be masking the edges
a lot.


Thanks Rita - I appreciate you responding! I find that some of the
pits in the solder appear when I least expect it, and after I’ve set
the stone. I polish, buff, and discover ugly holes. Sigh. Maybe this
solder trouble will encourage me to try fusing the Argentium instead


The answer to this problem is to cut a hole in the sheet that
exactly fits the bezel and then solder it inside this hole. 

Thanks for responding Tony. Quick question, though - what would my
steps be? Solder the bezel strip to a back plate, then trim. Cut a
hole in the patterned sheet…and am not sure where I would put
the solder then? Under the bezel and the cut out patterned sheet and
heat from above? I’m wondering how I would avoid melting the
previously soldered seam of the bezel strip with the back plate - is
different solders sufficient?


what would my steps be? Solder the bezel strip to a back plate,
then trim. Cut a hole in the patterned sheet.....and am not sure
where I would put the solder then? 

I do quite a bit of soldering of gold or fine silver bezels to
roller printed or textured sterling. I use balled up pallions
touching both the inside of the bezel and the back plate and heat
until the solder melts and let the capillary action fill in all the
way around.

If the solder runs around the inside of the bezel and I stop after
the solder has flowed as much as it will and before the solder starts
running into the pattern and it is not completely soldered all the
way around, I put more solder where needed and reheat. If there is a
significant gap, I put balled up pallions on both sides of the gap
and reheat and when it flows, it meets in the middle.

Problems occur if you overheat the back plate after the solder flows
and draw the solder away from the seam into the pattern with the heat
of the torch. A hot enough bushy flame will give the torch control
needed to do this.

I have cut holes and soldered bezels down into a sheet, but that was
what was needed specifically for that design, not because I was
using a patterned the back plate. I have also soldered bezels to a
back plate and cut away the rest of the outside of the back plate,
put solder on the bottom of the back plate and heat until the bezel
cup is soldered to the patterned surface. But again, it is about what
works best for the design and the effect you want. My experience in
cutting a hole in a back plate for a bezel has been to solder from
the back, turn it over and heat to draw the solder up to the level
of the surface of the back plate, turn over and re-solderand fill in
the seam, repeat until the front and the back are neat and clean
solder seams. No gaps, no pits, no over heating and drawing solder
out of the bezel seam. Again, it is accomplished with control of the
heat of the torch and practice.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


Because the paper is neither rigid nor itself smooth (roll printing
with just paper gives lovely textures all by itself), while the area
marked by the paper piece would indeed leave a distinct and different
impression, slightly deeper than the rest of the pattern, it would
not be smooth, but rather, a mix of the texture from the paper and
that from the underlying texture material. And due to the elongation
of your metal due to rolling, that impression would also be distorted
and stretched in shape compared to the original shapeof the paper cut

Peter Rowe

Working with patterned or in anyway pre-finished sheet is not easy.
Soldering must be right on because no re-work or cleaning is
possible. Potential problem like solder flooding should be
anticipated and planned for. If one does not have a plan to deal with
the problem - do not start the work.

Let me give few suggestion how to attack above-mentioned problems.
Bezel on patterned background:

  1. Flood the base of a bezel with solder. File of most of solder,
    leaving just a thin layer of it. Position bezel in place and heat
    from below. Once bright spots are seen at points of contacts, you
    done. Low points in texture will be unsoldered, but this must be

  2. Solder to the base of a bezel 4 to 6 short wires, drill
    corresponding holes, and secure from behind. It can be done with
    solder, screws, or even riveted.

  3. If watertight construction is required - solder a sleeve inside
    the bezel, cut opening in the sheet corresponding to the sleeve and
    solder the sleeve from behind.

In each and every case, if there are problems, they can be dealt
without touching the patterned surface. The point to be taken form
this is not to copy the methods, but to anticipate the problems and
design them away either by construction methods, or design features.
I could have easily introduce a collar at the base of a bezel to
cover up sins in soldering. Collar could be attached to the bezel via
soldering and decorated with engraving, stone-setting or whatever.
Study antique cameo brooches. Most of them have twisted wire at the
base. Cameo backs are uneven and it is tough to fit bezel to
background exactly, so a bit of twisted wire makes it look perfect.

Leonid Surpin


Peter is soo correct - the bezel space will be distorted by milling.
Not going to meet your needs.

May I suggest “tinning” the bottom of the bezel before application
to the textured backing. Then as Richard Hard describes, cut out your
opening and proceed.

I also like the idea of using White Out (be sure it is the kind that
can be thinned with water and is non-flammable) as a dam to keep the
solder from spreading out. White-Out has so many uses.

Judy in Kansas


I made two textured sheets yesterday, and discovered that the
pattern wasn’t very deep, so I decided to try simply soldering the
bezels directly on to the patterned sheet. The results were decent,
and I am pleased (again, the pattern wasn’t too deep). However, I did
run into trouble when I decided to solder a 14 ga wire around one
piece, a distance from the bezel, to form a decorative, raised edge.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this, but I placed the solder
pallions on the INSIDE of the piece (between the wire and the centre
of the piece), instead of the outside and was left with shadows of
solder, in nice little rectangular shapes…not good planning on
my part, but I think that I’ve learnt that lesson. I found the
pallions to be a pain to place, so I went back, where there were
gaps, and trying feeding wire solder down, on the outside of the
wire. I’ll need some more practice!I also ran out of propane for my
plumber’s torch…and decided to try my Mapps gas flame thrower
(‘gently’ and sweeping thru). I think that I overcooked some of the
solder, as it took on the appearance of cooked sugar and was really,
really difficult to file to a smooth edge.Thanks to everyone for
responding - I will keep those posts handy and perhaps, in time, try
my hand at sawing out a section for the bezel sometime soon!


I purchased some early Argentium solder - I generally dislike it
because it does not flow very well, however that can be an advantage
when trying to fill a gap. I was doing a bunch of bezels of fine Ag
to Argentium and decided to use it. I had some odd angles on one
piece and did not get it perfectly flat, I was in a big hurry and the
Argentium solder worked great. I used a very fine oxy-propane torch
to pull the solder where I wanted from the inside out. Also worked
great to get a big meniscus joining tubing to sheet. Stuff gets
"slushy" instead of liquid.

marlin, back from oh sooo cold Minnesota

The first time I did a bezel on a textured surface was in a class
with Don Dietz. To get the bezel to solder properly, he had me trace
the bezel onto the piece with a fine tipped sharpie, then use a
flexshaft to smooth a channel from just inside the line towards the
center. In any event, it worked. Well enough for a beginner’s piece.

However, the next time I did one was in my own shop and with a
deeper texture. I started the same way, by tracing the bezel onto the
textured piece. But instead of using a flexshaft right away, I used a
chasing tool made from an old screw driver to create a channel first
then refit the bezel to make sure it was right making any corrections
as necessary. This made it easier to then use the flexshaft to file
from the channel towards the inside of the oval to allow for solder
flow towards the center of the bezel rather than the outside where
the texture is. Tiny pieces of solder placed along the outside and
flame directed from the inside made for a perfect, complete adherence
with no gaps.

I took teacher’s advice a step further because my hand isn’t the
always the steadiest when I use a flexshaft. LOL Making the channel
with a chasing tool first helped tremendously and worked perfectly.



Hello Michele. Nice to hear you continue to make jewelry. And its
always nice to know a former student uses innovation to advance
their skills. Keep up the good work.

Cheers, Don in SOFL