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Connecting bezels to wood


#1

Hi everyone –

After a long heartfelt conversation with a gorgeous sugilite cab
that has been sitting on my bench unused for a few months, it has
come to my attention that i need to figure out how to do some
woodwork. this particular stone needs something warm around it, and
no other idea i’ve come up with is making me happy. so… the time
has come to start working with wood. what i want to do is very
simple, but given that the last time i worked with wood was probably
2nd grade art class with popsicle sticks, i need some help.

the project is seemingly simple: i need a slice of wood, probably 1
1/2 inch square, and a quarter of an inch thick.

I would like to drill a hole through the wood at the top to pass a
leather cord through, although if that proves tricky, no problem, i
can work around that.

lastly… i need to connect bezels to the wood. one large one and
probably four smaller ones that will be made of silver.

so…

how do i do this?!

find the wood. got that. cut the wood – any chance a really heavy
jeweler’s saw would do the trick?

drill the wood… ok even i should be able to figure that out
although i’m concerned about cracking/splitting so any guidance would
be welcome. i imagine i sand it similarly to metal?

lastly… the bezels!!! what do i do here? i’ve seen tons of wooden
jewelry with even set diamonds set in and i can’t imagine they’re
simply glued. i don’t want to do that. do i make grooves in the wood
and then tabs? do i make the silver go all the way through the wood
and then set it from the back? that doesn’t seem terribly
aesthetically appealing.

anyway… looking forward to the ever-giving knowledge fountain that
is orchid!

best,
hilary
www.hilarypark.com


#2

Hilary -

You can use your jewelers saw, and a blade designed for wood (voila,
a coping saw!) to cut the ‘backplate’ to the shape you desire. Maybe
instead of a solid bezel around the cab, you could set pegs or
’prongs’ around the cab’s shape and weave a bezel out of thin gauge
silver.

As for drilling, there should not be a problem unless you select
woood that is dry or splintery. Practice on some scrap first. And to
make the drill hole more of a design element, how about finding
tubing the same size, and line the hole with a tube ‘rivet’? I’ll
draw a picture if I’m not clear enough, let me know…

I’ll email you a photo later today of what I did for a beautiful but
troublesome moonstone. If you go with the weave idea, make sure you
leave enough room between peg and cab to accomodate the woven
wire…my photo will show the mistake I made so you can avoid it.

Have fun,
Kelley Dragon


#3

Hi Hilary,

Now if I were doing it, I would thread a piece of 12 ga. Sterling
wire and solder it to the bezel cups and thread the inside of a piece
of thick wall tubing to make the nut. Then drill a hole in the wood
and just screw it on. There is a lot more to it than what I just
said, but I use this technique all of the time with stones and when I
am connecting silver to brass. This process work well when riveting
just won’t work.

I am sitting at my desk right now, but I can give you the details on
the tap and die I use and the wire and tubing if you would like to
try this process.

Regards,
Ken Moore
www.kenworx.com


#4

Hilary,

You can do this like you would set a diamond in a bezel and put it
in a piece of onyx. Solder the bezel on top of the appropriate size
tubing. Drill a hole in the wood that would accommodate the tube.
Flair out the hole in the back and key it, meaning groove a notch in
opposite sides of the hole in the back. Thin out the tube that goes
through the hole and burnish into the flair and key. It is advisable
to set the stone before assembling to the wood.

Kind regards,
Russ Hyder
The Jewelry CAD Institute


#5

Make a bezel cup. On the back, solder a wire just a bit longer than
the thickness of the wood. Drill a hole in the wood so that the wire
peg fits it snugly. Slip the peg in and spread the end forming a
rivet. It would not be a bad idea to use a little bit of epoxy on the
peg and a touch on the back of the bezel cup.

Jerry in Kodiak


#6

One option is routing out the exact shape of the bezel minus a
fraction of a mm for a super tight fit with little effort to fit it
into the wood (so the bezel is not damaged) and inlaying it- perhaps
you can put a few drops of GS hypo-cement or other adhesive/epoxy in
the space to insure it holding with wear…you can also use a tube
that is flared on either end (or a part of a rivet) as a feature to
run the cording through that would eliminate wear on the fabric.as
for the wood, pick something non-toxic - cocobolo shouldn’t be used
unless sealed, sassafras,oleander and some tropical woods as well…

Anyway lubricate the twist drill bit with beeswax ( something
heavier than a liquid lube) and reapply if more than one hole or the
wood is very hard ( rock maple, etc.) and use a steady hand or a
drill press
… Other than inlaying the bezel that is set- you could ,
say its a round or oval, use tubing cut in half and bent to shape
using the ends that you will flatten as tabs.Then make slots into the
wood to hold the sections in place using the flat end tabs inserted
and perhaps glued into the slots - you essentially have made channel
wire by cutting the tubing in half. then that can be burnished over
the edge of your stone to secure it and leaving , lets say areas of
wood at “12,3,6,and 9” exposed with the other areas the metal of the
"bezel" showing to give the illusion of inlaid metal…that’s one
approach…just make sure that you use calipers and calculate to allow
the stone to touch the bottom of the routed out space yet the metal
"channel wire" set at a mm or so above what would be the center line(
taking into account the stone’s height and metal choice in terms of
gauge and height) so there is space enough for the metal to exceed
the edge of the wood piece and burnish over the stone in an
attractive fashion that doesn’t cover too much area on the cab or
what have you… there you have my 2 centimes worth of opinion! Hope
you can glean something useful from it or it sparks an idea!If you
need more explanation of anything above feel free to contact me off
list…Oh and you can buy pre-fabricated channel wire or use stepped
bezel wirel for this method. The wood being left exposed is not
critical - just aesthetic and easier ! you can also just use two
crescent shaped sections ( again with ends flattened to make tabs)
and work from there.It is easier to assemble 2 half sections than one
complete bezel when working with fairly thin wood ( or any insetting
anything) in a soft material.The 2 sections can then be finished in a
number of ways from flush setting a stone where the 2 sections meet
to filling it in with a grain of gold or silver, etc., to overlapping
one end and using burs to take it doen to level, to soldering them 9
but he trick ther is to apply a good bit if stop out to protect the
wood,while insuring that the stop out doesn’t stain it (do a test
piece first !)…

regards,rer


#7
find the wood. got that. cut the wood -- any chance a really heavy
jeweler's saw would do the trick? drill the wood.. ok even i should
be able to figure that out although i'm concerned about
cracking/splitting so any guidance would be welcome. i imagine i
sand it similarly to metal? 

I do not have any links handy, but you can Google for it. There are
dealers carrying wood already precut to be used in knife making.
Some varieties are very hard and dense like iron wood and others.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#8
the project is seemingly simple: i need a slice of wood, probably
1 1/2 inch square, and a quarter of an inch thick. 

Your best bet for finding a wood that you like is to check knife
makers supply sources. They sell knife handle sized slabs of common
and exotic woods in small quantities, and this stuff tends to be
nice and tight grained, which is exactly what you want.

I would recommend shaping and sealing your wood, then mount your
hardware. My inclination would be to make the bezel, solder a couple
of pins to the back of it that are about half the thickness of the
wood base long, drill the matching holes, and epoxy the pins into
drilled to match holes on the wood, with maybe a bit of epoxy under
the flat of the bezel itself.

The alternative would be to drill completely through and either
countersink the back and use similar, but longer pins as a flush
rivet, or go through the effort to forge a decorative rivet head on
the backside.

For the wood, my personal favorite is tung oil varnish. It’s one of
the less toxic ones, and is made from a renewable resource.
Alternatively go with the stuff the woodworking shops sell for
sealing wooden salad bowls.

Don’t try to handle the wood like you would metal, or even a
lapidary material, you won’t like the result (though, I have polished
ebony with Zam with surprisingly nice results…)

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#9

First of all, where are you located? There has got to be a cabinet
shop or wood worker locally. A piece, the size needed for most
jewelry would be considered scrap. College, University, or a tech
school near by? Try to find a dense, tight grained wood. When you
drill, back the bit out of the hole a time or two depending on the
thickness, to clear the chips. They will serve to deflect the bit,
and the resulting hole may be off center. Sanding… what kind of
finish are you after. There are a “thousand” things that one can do
to wood regarding finishes… let me just say this, for the size
piece you are working, start with a 120 grit paper and work finer
until you like what you have. Most importantly, sand with the grain
on the faces. (Think of looking at a door.) You’ll leave “scratch
marks” otherwise. On the end grain (think of being in a tree and
looking up to the top, or down to the roots) direction isn’t
important. Use a sanding block of some sort so as to not “round-off"
or otherwise deform a face unintentionally. The block serves as a
"backing” so as to not sand the surface irregularly, leaving a rut
or “valley” of sorts. The block can be any rigid material, another
piece of wood for example, size… play around. What feels good in
your hand, how big a chunk are you using? You may consider sanding a
bigger piece to your desired finish, and then cut out the article
for the jewelry. This way, a larger chunk is easier to finish,
minimizing the chance to deform or mar a face. Good luck… and
don’t be afraid to screw up… it happens… measure twice, cut once.


#10

Howdy,

find the wood. got that. cut the wood -- any chance a really heavy
jeweler's saw would do the trick? drill the wood.. ok even i
should be able to figure that out although i'm concerned about
cracking/splitting so any guidance would be welcome. i imagine i
sand it similarly to metal? 

Cutting wood can be a royal pain, depending on the species. Do you
know the species of the wood you have?

You will need a wood saw to cut wood… funnily enough.

The wood needs to be secured firmly, then you can make your cuts.

You can make a poor-man’s linnisher, by gluing grades of glass paper
onto a wooden plank. This is great for smoothing wood, and in some
cases is better than a belt.

Contact me off list and I can point you to some places on the net
that can help, with techniques and supply of different species of
wood.

Here is a good place to find out about wood species
http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/

Regards Charles A.
P.S. Some of the nicer species of wood are quite expensive, but are
worth the money imo.


#11

Ditto to Jerry in Kodiak, I do not know what size bezel but the
rivet and epoxy will work. In this type of piece you might look in to
Rio Grande’s’ colors jewelry resin kit. It comes in colors or clear.
It is more of a polymer than a two part mix. Once it hardens it is
permanent and will not degrade unless serious abuse. I use it on
stone to metal inlays. I have clients bust up the stones but pieces
of the stone are still intake and the resin is still there. It was
made for stone substitutes for silver jewelry. Once cured it stays
and you can do almost any application with it that needs epoxy type
work. Do not use if you plan on taken it apart one day, pearl studs
for instance.


#12

check knife makers supply sources. They sell knife handle sized
slabs of common and exotic woods in small quantities,

http://www.bellforestproducts.com
http://www.westpennhardwoods.com
http://www.gilmerwood.com
http://www.woodcraft.com

Also http://www.texasknife.com/vcom

Woodcraft is pretty accessable and has a good selection for good
prices without having to buy minimum orders. The problem with knife
blanks is they are often cut to sizes you may not want. If it’s ok,
then it’s ok, of course.


#13

Hi Ron!

Your best bet for finding a wood that you like is to check knife
makers supply sources. They sell knife handle sized slabs of
common and exotic woods in small quantities, and this stuff tends
to be nice and tight grained, which is exactly what you want. 

Wow - so many amazing suggestions. I’m so glad I asked! I love the
idea of the decorative rivet back. For this particular project I may
just go the prong and epoxy route but I am already getting excited
about tons of wood projects and I have a ring idea that I was
struggling with because for something like that I really don’t want
to just glue the wood to the ring. Was thinking about Making a
setting for the wood and then putting a setting onto the wood for the
stone, but now I think I could probably come up with a way to rivet
it to the ring. Thanks so much for opening up my imagination! I feel
like my design possibilities just expanded by about a hundred fold.

Best,
Hilary


#14

Hi Ken -

I would thread a piece of 12 ga. Sterling wire and solder it to the
bezel cups and thread the inside of a piece of thick wall tubing to
make the nut. Then drill a hole in the wood and just screw it on.
There is a lot more to it than what I just said, but I use this
technique all of the time with stones and when I am connecting
silver to brass. This process work well when riveting just won't
work. 

what a great idea! I actually just made a ring which doubles as a
pendant and that happens thanks to a tap and die screw mechanism so I
completely understand what you’re saying. Genius. Thanks a million. I
would never have thought of that.

Best,
Hilary


#15

There’s no problem in drilling wood to accept a leather cord. A
coarse jeweler’s saw will cut 1/4" planks of wood quite well.
Sanding is similar to the sanding of metal, but be careful not to use
anything that has already been used for metal as it will discolor
the wood. Wood is typically finished with a varnish, lacquer, or
drying oil, so sanding doesn’t need to be as thorough as with metal
or stone. Some species of wood will accept a polish, but don’t use
any compounds that leave a residue which will stain it. Look for a
wood species that is relatively hard and dense, to minimize splitting
and distortion. Softwoods, like pine and fir, typically have a lot of
variation between the wood laid down in summer, which is relatively
soft and light, and the wood laid down in winter (the “rings”) which
is much harder and denser. This sort of wood isn’t well-suited for
jewelry, although it can be stabilized and used if there’s some
special reason to do it. Most people using wood in jewelry opt for
exotic hardwoods which, in contrast to softwoods, show little
difference between the summer and winter wood. They come in a wide
range of colors and grain patterns; choose one that harmonizes well
with your sugilite. Since the pieces you need are quite small, a
visit to a local custom cabinet shop with a nice smile (and a
six-pack of beer) will probably yield a lifetime supply of jewelry
wood.

The method by which you attach the silver to the wood is the
essential thing about your design, in the functional sense, anyway.
There are a number of ways to approach it. Simply gluing it in is
one way, but probably not the best one. Other alternatives include
riveting or screwing a plate of silver to the wood with the bezel
soldered to it, attaching the bezel to a tube that goes through the
wood and is flared on the reverse side, sandwiching the base of the
bezel between two piece of wood that are laminated together,
providing metal claws that grip the wood - there are many ways to
approach this without resorting to glue.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#16
You can do this like you would set a diamond in a bezel and put it
in a piece of onyx. Solder the bezel on top of the appropriate
size tubing. Drill a hole in the wood that would accommodate the
tube. 

Perfect! That might solve the last problem i have. The Sugilite cab
is big so can’t be tube set, but I was thinking of putting some
little rubies in the corners and that solution would be perfect for
them. I really appreciate all the advice.

Best,
Hilary


#17

Hi Guys,

let me just say this, for the size piece you are working, start
with a 120 grit paper and work finer until you like what you have.
Most importantly, sand with the grain on the faces. 

80 grit glass paper probably would (wood :-D) be better if the wood
is dense and hard. 120 is okay if you are using softer woods.

If you start with 120 grit, on some of the denser woods you will get
sore arms, and you don’t need that :wink:

Some of the woods I play with are desert timbers and are extremely
hard and require me to use 40 grit to get anywhere.

Naturally you work your way up the grades until you get to the
smoothness that you want e.g. 80, 120, 150, 320, 360, 400, 600, then
it’s white Tripoli on a loose mop.

Regards Charles A.


#18

Now if I were doing it, I would thread a piece of 12 ga. Sterling
wire and solder it to the bezel cups and thread the inside of a piece
of thick wall tubing to make the nut. Then drill a hole in the wood
and just screw it on.

Am I correct in assuming that you solder the tubing to a back sheet
of some kind? Otherwise, the question would remain ‘how do you keep
the tube in the wood’?

Also, I would love to hear more about how the thread the wire and
tube.

Alice


#19

Hilary–

There are a number of places to find interesting wood. If you don’t
know the location of a nearby hardwood lumberyard (not a regular
lumberyard that sells construction lumber), you can find hardwood
suppliers in the US and Canada using the Woodfinder website:

http://www.woodfinder.com/

Most hardwood lumber suppliers expect you to come in and buy a board
(or boards) from their stacks. Most of their boards will be in the
range of 3" to 7" wide by 5’ to 8’ long, and around 3/4" thick (or
more). Many hardwood suppliers, however, have smaller cutoffs of
exotic wood and may even have pieces in their trash that are the
size you want.

You can buy lumber online from a number of places. Both of the
stores below will sell small amounts of wood in the thickness that
you mentioned (1/4"). These aren’t the cheapest places to get wood
that small, but they are big enough chains to be reliable. One or
both of these may have a local store in your area.

http://www.rockler.com
http://www.woodcraft.com

I think you may have trouble getting a smooth edge with a jewelers
saw (or a coping saw). If you cut the wood a hair oversize, you can
put down a sheet of sandpaper (maybe 120 grit) and smooth the edges
by rubbing the edge on the sandpaper.

You mention that your stone needs something warm around it. Cherry
has a nice warm color. It tends to have little flecks and stuff in
the grain (if you like that). Walnut is less red, more brown, and
probably has less going on in the grain. Your finish will have a lot
to do with the final look of the wood.

If you live near Chicago, I would be glad to cut a few pieces of
wood that are lying around to the size you want. I’m sure that there
are other woodworkers with pieces in their scrap pile that could be
cut to the size you want. If you can figure out how to find one of
them, they might cut a piece or two to size for you. If your local
community college has an art or furniture program, you might get what
you want through them.

The usual disclaimers apply: your mileage may vary, etc.

Whit


#20

I do some stone and gem carving so I bought some exotic hard wood for
grinding and polishing. Ivory wood is very dense and hard and would
make awesome wood jewelry. The place that sells all kinds of is
Colonial Hardwoods in Virginia. Google it and look up woods used for
carving. The take a grit charge and polish very well. The wood is
very rare and pricy and if you do not need a very large piece I have
a half of a 3 foot 2x4 that I will cut a piece out of. I will not
sell it though because it is very hard to come by, some even sinks
in water.