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Channel settings

Could someone point me to some advice for the correct technique for
setting stones in channels, as, for example, in eternity rings? I’m
taking far too long to complete these - the main problem being
getting the stones to stay put while the edges of the channels are
burnished over. I suspect that the correct preparation of the channel
is critical.


Clive Washington.

Dear Clive, If I may let me try to offer a tip or two on channel
setting.First off correct stone sizes for the channel are very
important and unfortunatly all the adjustments from there are up to
you.Lets start with rounds in channel.I have found that one chalenge
in all setting work is creating a very tight seat(this keeps securing
work at a minimum) and it sounds as if one of your problems is that
after you have gotten your stone to drop, its so loose that you can’t
tighten with the stone remaining level.

Often I will have to adjust my channel thickness,usually with a flat
tool and then prepolish, then a problem often faced is clearing the
channel wall oppisate the undercut side, I will usually hammer
(lightly) the top edge or use a flat tool to create a slight bevel on
the top edge of both sides of the channel, this will create a clean
bevel line that I then use as a level line to cut my seats. Either by
hammer or graver when I have removed that top edge of the channel my
stones will drop much faster then with it presant as I will have to
undercut the channel that much less to clear the edge( are you with me
so far?).This helps in a number of ways, I will explain more later.
Somtimes I will create a continuous line or bearing, this will allow
you to slightly shift your stones for spacing puposes however in"
fine" work it would be unaccepable to see work lines of any type
between the stones( just clean polished metal please)

I then use (for rounds only ) a # 446 bearing cutter that I alter by
using a seperating disc to remove most of the bottom of the cutter
this resembles better the girdle of your diamond and allows for a
tighter seat.I will somtimes use an unalterd cutter for color(rounds
only).I still, have to remind myself to cut the seat on the
non-undercut side" lightly" (usually thinking all must be even in
life love and stone setting.) and continue to cut the undercut side
until the stone drops. This should create a nice tight seat and make
excessive hammering and burying the stone unnecessary.

For the purpose of gently easing my stone into the seat I use a piece
of silver (cleanly filed as it becomes work-hardend after a use or
two)placed in a graver handle. It is soft enough not to chip or
scratch a stone(not for very soft color) Most of a round stone should
be clearly visable.( obviously but rarly achieved)I use a
recipricating hammer to tighten (or close) my channel. I then use a
well finished flat tool to clean my inside edge, this cut should be
very light and for the purpose of creating a clean strait inside
channel bright cut.

Dear Clive, its me again, the “cyber-setter” at your service,eh?
“setting diamonds/stones” in a channel setting.first of all, you need
the right tools, once you have them, “you are off to the races”. First
of all, you just gotta buy an “inside ring holder” like what Stuller
has in their supply book, page 30 #15. (I have this kind, its in the
red box). Why? you have greater access to the whole section being
worked on and when tightened, the ring won’t slip around. This clamp
has more “underneath support” when hammering or pushing. In a regular
clamp all of the ring is hollow and you might distort the ring by
accident. I know, ha-ha!

First of all! use a small round burr, and remove any sharp little
casting slags in and around the diamond hole.VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE
WRITTEN IN STONE! but it works very well for me!!! use a #156C
undercutting burr and make a groove for the diamond, make bloody sure
at this point, that the bearing-groove is not slanted due to the
holding of the handpiece. If this seat is off alignment, the diamond
will be also!

that is about 1/2 to 3/4 size of the stone to be set! check the “seat
formation” with a loupe. so far so good,eh? now tighten all the clamp
screws and select the diamonds to be be set, check for inclusions and
make sure they are all the same size!!! gently file the outside-wall
thinner with a #4 cut triangular file to reduce the amount to be
pushed over!

you don’t want to tire out your pushing hand, do you?..:>) This is my
section where I can use a metal pusher, with a serated edge or a
"Hammer handpiece" that has a reduced hitting area! I use either
kind, depending on the setting requirements. I do not use the “wax to
hold” method, why? I can’t see if the stone is tight or not. Try and
get used to pushing over or against the stone, the thinned out wall,
up to, and then over the stone! tighten one stone at a time! Not the
whole group, how do you secure the others so they won’t fall out? I
use a very dainty method of making a ‘wire bead’ and securing this
bead on the inside of the wall right over the diamond. Its like
raising a bead that is right on top of the table. This will be covered
when the wall is pushed down over it!

Your “serated” metal-pusher should not be too wide, it should be
about the width of each diamond…! once this procedure is done, make
sure that the metal is right OVER EACH DIAMOND, do not push the metal
too flat over the stone, you need this for later. You are really
pushing the metal AGAINST THE STONE! continue on with the other
stones,…all the way around the whole ring, remember 5-6 stones at a
time,eh? and secure the clamp screws! Now comes the filing and inside
bright-cutting to perfection! easy so far?

using a #4 cut triangular file. File the inside wall that is over the
stone, file it straight!!! don’t worry, you won’t hurt the stone. You
can use a file that the edge is worn down a shade, (thats if your are
using a soft stone). Now use again a #39 flat graver and clean again
inside edge, with a cut with a graver that is polished smooth, You
will now see a brighter inner wall of metal. Please note that you
musn’t file too much on the top of the stone. You must leave enough
for polishing and general customer usage. Oh, try and file flat the
just now cleaned edge and leave the top of the channel flat, making
very sure that the distance between the leading edge and the outside
of the wall, is the same thickness! This is very critical to the
customers eye! when everything is done, remove the ring and touch up
the seperations of ‘the groups’ with a file and just touch up any area
you might need. Use a rubber wheel to ‘clean up’ any gold
imperfections, be very critical in this respect!

Look for these many pointers, also during the setting procedure! Are
the diamonds all the same height? are they all flat? are they filed
evenly? IS THE INSIDE OF THE RING-HOLE counter-sunk to show a
polished hole underneath? put this ring inside a “sonic-cleaner” and
check for looseness. It can happen! Is all of the metal over the set
stones? are all of the diamonds side by side, and no gaps inbetween
each other? this is not the easiest methods of setting. It does take
sometimes years to master, if you are slow, so what?

I hope Clive, and the rest of the Orchidians notice that I haven’t
mentioned a hammer method, why? This method “pounds” the metal too
flat to work on, I only use this for bezels and then only "pushing"
the metal against the channel wall only, never on to the stone. There
is a greater risk of smashing the diamond with a hammer! trust me…:>)
The uncontrolled movement of the hammer is a real great danger! Get
used to pushing by hand, I did, and you have a greater confidence in
securing EACH STONE! …now you just learned, channel setting!

“gerry, the cyber-setter/teacher/story-teller”

Clive… the best thing I could tell you is, go to Blaine Lewis’ New
Approach School for
Jewelers… Marc Williams

Hi Clive. Try this. It works for me. Melt some red sprew wax onto
the stones and down back behind the stones and metal to hold the
stones in place while setting. Clean the wax off the top of the
stones before hammering the metal over with a tooth brush or something
similar. After the metal is down remove the wax with steam or a wax
solvent. Clean up polish and clean. The red sprew wax acts like a
glue to hold them in place but better. Bye, Johnny I

Clive: Try Play-Doh to hold the stones in place after you cut the
seats. It is soft and putty like and you can position the stone
exactly where you want it and then it will dry and hold the stone in
place. It dissolves in the ultrasonic and the steamer. I cut the seats
and place the stones in an eternity band the complete diameter of the
ring before I hammer the channel walls. The Play-Doh holds them in
place and does not melt out like wax if the piece should heat up from
the bur friction. Get it at your local toy store or even in the toy
department of your drug store. I really like the day-glow colors best.
Oh also it is non toxic. Frank Goss

    Could someone point me to some advice for the correct technique
for setting stones in channels, as, for example, in eternity rings? 
I'm taking far too long to complete these - the main problem being
getting the stones to stay put while the edges of the channels are
burnished over. I suspect that the correct preparation of the
channel is critical. 

I asked the very same question (well almost) and found everyone had
the same answer! Robert R. Wooding’s “RED” Book on channel setting is
Fantastic! We just got both Mr. Woodings Book and video on Channel
Setting and have watched the video…So many questions were
I understand Rio Grande has both in their suppy catalog
( Hope this helps you! And a Big thanks to all who
helped us!

Lydia, Mistress Jewelry

Hello Clive,

Rio Grande and other suppliers are selling books particular about
channel settings.The one from Rio I know about is “Channel setting
diamonds” written by Robert Wooding (ISBN: 0-9613545-3-4). It’s a
ratrher simple but srtaight forward explanation on how to perform a
nice channel setting.

Controlling the technic is a very important item in the whole jewelry
craft.You should not run into cheap burs. A good bur is more then
recommended if you would like to start with channel setting.If you
cut your seat for the stone(s), do not overcut it(tomuch) since this
could cause the stone from falling out.Therefor measure the size of
the stone.I preffer to choose the bur which fit the stone as close as
possible.If -for whatever the reason might be- you do not have the
right size then step up one size.A little trick for holding the stone
in place while you’re working is the use of bee wax.Make it soft by
rolling it between your fingers and then form a little ball and place
it in the setting.Push your stone into the bee wax and this will
prevend the stone from falling out. I’ve heard about people using glue
but I preffer the beewax. When you’re done with the setting, then
place your item into hot water to dissolve the beewax.No residue left
and your stones look brilliant.Adding some household ammonia to your
water will give it a very nice finish if … the stones are not
sensible for the ammonia.Do not use it with emeralds (and other
sensible stones or organic material) since lots of them are oiled
(talking about the emeralds)and the little cracks will be more
visable for the trained eye. Go for it and enjoy it!

Regards Pedro