Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Bezels and Saw Dust


#1

Why do people use saw dust in bezels?? what is the purpose other
than to raise the cab? Have tried it and really see no advantage!!
How bout suggestions … I have been using foil which retains the
same color of stone and doesn’t present possible inclusions in light
colored stones… Jim


#2

sawdust is used to raise the stone but supposedly it’s main function
is to protect delicate stone from cracking as you set them. at least
that was what I’ve been told. on a different note. i personally had
to repair a hollow ring once that had been heavily damaged (crushed)
that had great sentimental value. the reason the damage had occurred
was that a previous hack had replaced the original sawdust with
molding rubber . obviously it didn’t work. in that case the ring was
a very old Israeli made hollow ring with extremely thin walls. it
had survived a war and many years of wear. i believe this was
because the ring original was packed tightly with sawdust to add
strength without the sawdust the ring didn’t make it one week after
it had been worked on. anyway long story short. i disassembled the
ring - reformed the damaged wall and repacked it with sawdust. I
knew to do this because I found traces of sawdust inside the ring
shank. The ring is now fine and is worn daily last time I heard. I
personally tend to use hardwood dust that I get by sharpening a
dowel in a little pencil sharpener attached to my bench.

Talk to you later Dave Otto


#3

Dear Jim, saw dust is used for couple reasons. One main one is to
provide a flatter surface for the stone to sit on if the bottom of
the bezel is uneven. When setting translucent stones it becomes more
of a project to fit foil on top of the sawdust but, if the metal
gives you no other option sawdust it is. Sam Patania, Tucson


#4

Dear Jim, Saw dust has been used in southwest jewelry for many many
years. It acts as a cushion for the stone. It compresses slightly
when the bezel is folded over the stone and then springs back to
hold the stone against the bezel. There are probably materials that
may work better but they are not as easy to obtain and as cheap as
saw dust. Good Luck Lee


#5

When I made my first bezel set turquoise ring some 27 years ago, my
instructor taught me to use sawdust. But…sawdust or pencil
sharpener “crumbs” deteriorate over time, allowing the stone to
become loose. For many years now I have used high temperature liquid
gasket material under non-transparent cabs. This creates a very
sturdy cushion and lasts forever,as far as I can tell, and provides a
nice cushionng effect AND acts as an adhesive as well. Works for me.

Wayne Emery
Jewelry Design Studio
"We Make Dreams Come True!"


#6

Greetings: Could you please be more specific? What is this substance
and where can one buy it? how is it applied?

Regards,
Joe Bokor
@Joe_Bokor2


#7

what exactly is high temperature gasket material? and where can it
be gotten? thanks Lori Swartz


#8

I’ve been bezel setting cabs for years. Rather than using sawdust,
which strikes me as somewhat messy, I’ve used thin corrugated
cardboard. A box that my electric kitchen knife came in has been
serving me well for quite a while. It provides the cushioning and
spring back against the bezel without the mess.

For your consideration…
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#9

Another purpose of the sawdust under the stones arose when Zunis
were using it for their exquisite petitpoint and needlepoint styles
in jewelry. This requires dozens, sometimes hundreds of small stones.
They are cut from the same rough material to match in color, with
each stone about the size of a matchhead or smaller. This was all cut
by hand, generally attached to a nail for the dop stick, in order to
assure uniformity in circumference. However, this didn’t necessarily
mean all the stones were uniform in depth, especially considering how
many there were. The sawdust allowed the stones to be raised or
lowered in height within the bezel, according to their thickness, so
the resulting effect was height uniformity of the stones across the
surface of the piece. The fact that it also provided a resilent
cushion was an added bonus, especially for those small stones, which
were fragile.

If you intend to use sawdust, keep several things in mind: First,
hardwood is better than softwood. It doesn’t deteriorate like pine.
Second, it must be sieved (screened or screed) to a fine consistency,
as large particles will compress and have too much air space to allow
for tight packing. I get mine free at the local lumberyard, in the
mill room where they do the millwork for cabinets out of hardwoods. I
scoop it up, take it home, sieve it and throw away the coarse
particles.


#10

Here’s another alternative to sawdust: plastic bezel liners cut
from the tops of food containers. They have just a little give and
will not be damaged if moisture gets in behind the stone.

Beth


#11

There have been some interesting approaches to backing cabochons,
but, in most cases, the method has been applicable to specific
circumstances. I believe that various methods are valid in given
situations. It should always be remembered that using a permanent
backing may cause problems in the future. If, for example, you pour
a hard setting liquid substance into the cavity it means that the
stone cannot be removed in the event of a repair. Sawdust is
especially appropriate when you are using thin, un-backed material
such as narrow vein Turquoise. In this case it would be preferable
to first back the cabochon rather than trust the sawdust to cushion
the stone against breakage. Many of you will have noticed that many
native craftsmen use narrow strips of metal within the cabochon
cavity thus giving positive support to the stones. This method is
easy to use and works very well with cabochons as well as faceted
goods. When you are setting semi transparent cabochons it is
important to use something that has compatible reflectivity and, in
some cases, people have been known to enhance the color of the stone
by using a backing that imparts enhanced coloration. The idea of
using heat resistant gasket material is a good one, but I would
prefer to use layers of the sheet gasket material which is usually
available at auto supply houses. This method enables you to remove
the stone when doing repairs. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA


#12
    When I made my first bezel set turquoise ring some 27 years
ago, my instructor taught me to use sawdust.  But....sawdust or
pencil sharpener "crumbs" deteriorate over time, allowing the stone
to become loose.  For many years now I have used high temperature
liquid gasket material under non-transparent cabs.  This creates a
very sturdy cushion and lasts forever,as far as I can tell, and
provides a nice cushionng effect AND acts as an adhesive as well.
Works for me. 

Wayne, What’s the name of the high temperature liquid gasket
material you use,please? Sherry Terao Jewels By Design
Silver Spring, MD


#13

I saw Beth’s response about the plastic food lids, that’s always
worked for me with both stones and enamel work. When working with
enamels you need a cushion backing, because too much pressure on the
bezel can crack the enamel piece. With the plastic lid material
I’ve never cracked an enamel yet. James Mayfield, San Diego