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Cutting down bezel wire

How to cut down a piece of bezel wire that is 5 mm to 4 mm in width and have it cut evenly.

Thanks,

Emily MacDonald

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Welcome Emily!
I have to do this a lot. If your piece has a straight side, set your dividers to 4mm, using the straight side, scribe a line to the other side and file to line or saw outside of line and then file to line. If your piece doesn’t have a straight side, file one side to be straight and check for straightness by putting it against the safe edge (no teeth) of a file and examining for gaps.
If you have a straight end, you could use a square and scribe a line and file to this line, but this may be problematic with such a small piece.

Hopefully others have an easier method for doing this, I would love to know!

Depending on the application, it might be easier to first make the bezel and solder it on the back plate (if using one), then scribe a line to desired height and file to line.

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Thanks Dan. My problem is with getting it straight; if it is not straight, as you know, the gemstone won’t sit/fit properly. I tried using my mitre jig, but it was hard to set it straight in there as well so that I knew it was straight, if you know what I mean. Maybe there is no other way to do it except hope you file straight!

Emily

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I frequently have to shape the top edge of the bezel due to the stone’s irregulare top surface. I solder the bezel to the back plate, use a sharpie or a stylus to follow the stone, then grind and file as needed. It is time consuming so if there is an easier way I would love to know.

Noralie

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The suggestions that others have offered all work well. You might also consider making the bezel out of 5 mm wire, scribing a line at 4mm and then carefully filling, sanding or even grinding down to the 4 mm line. Regardless of how you get it to 4 mm, leave it a little fat because you will remove more material when you polish. I use old playing cards as shims to raise one side of a piece relative to another to get them even or to scribe an accurate line. If you need 4 mm because that is the correct height for the stone, consider adding a thin 1 mm shim under the stone made from the same metal as the rest of the piece. This will allow you to use the 5 mm wire. Good luck…Rob

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Many of my stones are irregular in shape and height, so I use a fine tip black permanent marker held at a slight angle on the stone edge on the inside of the finished bezel/base. I do use the sturdier sterling strip for the bezel, not fine silver.

Allowing 1mm above the stone, run the marker all the way around inside and trim with blue-handled shears. Filing takes care of the rest, and little to no distortion so far.

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Thank you for your suggestions. Much appreciated. I am not sure I could draw a line on the inside of the finished bezel as the stone fits snugly in there, if I am reading you right. I did find a way to shorten the width of the bezel wire by using my calipers to mark 1 mm along the long edge of the bezel wire and outlined it with a fine red sharpie. Then I put my mitre jig in my vise, set my bezel wire in the jig and filed it down to the one mm. It seems to have worked!

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Nice!! In the end, its just about getting it done :slight_smile:

I can think of two methods to do this…solder the bezel on the flat and then sand the bezel by using small circular motions on a piece of sandpaper flat on a piece of glass or other flat surface (anvil or stamping block). Or put the stone in the bezel and put a piece of cardboard over the stone (to prevent sanding the top of the stone) and then sand it on the sandpaper on flat as before. Just make a line on the bezel with a divider as described earlier and watch to make sure your pressure is even and you are sanding the whole bezel evenly. -royjohn

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Some good hints here. Thank you.

Emily

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Maybe make a tape bezel, mark and cut out. Use as outline to cut. Leave a margin of error if needed.

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I have found that this can be done by marking the material to remove then clamp it between the leaves of a brass or steel hinge. Clamp it so the “ cut line” is just showing between the leaves of the hinge then file or saw along the edge of the hinge.
Toy can clamp the hinge with a vise, ViceGrip pliers, C-clamp, or any other method you find confident.
You can often find single hinges at used furniture stores, flea markets, Habitat store etc.
Hope this helps

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Nice idea, I like!

Cool idea! Thanks…Rob

If it isn’t soldered down, I use scissors. The bezel wire is so soft and thin it cuts like butter. I use dividers to mark and follow the line. I use the factory edge to solder down as it is a little flatter.

Hi there,

I have a silver chain which was looking like it had a bit of copper shining through. I put it in my Tumbler but it didn’t make any difference. I tried putting it in pickle to no avail. Then I Googled it, and the suggestion was to add a bit of H2O2 so I did that it turned completely coppery! Any suggestions to return it to it’s former glory?

Emily MacDonald

Regarding the discolored chain, I had the same problem. Looked up sterling silver chains in the Rio catalog since that’s where I got my chains. There is a disclaimer on each page of sterling silver chains saying that they are plated, and if you lose the plating there is no way to fix the chain other than a new plating. Not sure where that leaves us.

Noralie

If it’s really sterling silver chain, the plating is rhodium. It keeps the underlying sterling from tarnishing. This isn’t the cause of the copper discoloration that was being complained about. That sounds a lot like copper dissolved in the pickle plating over whatever’s in the pot. This happens when a small amount of ferrous metal is in there; it triggers the dissolved copper ions to deposit themselves on anything they can, whether or not hydrogen peroxide has been added. My guess is that the chains that were being pickled had clasps attached which contained steel springs. That little bit of steel is enough to trigger the copper plating action. To get rid of it, you need to mix up a new batch of pickle with hydrogen peroxide in it, and either remove the clasps or keep them out of the liquid while you re-pickle them.

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Thanks Andrew. Funnily enough, the clasp on the chain was one I made myself from Sterling. And it got copper covered. And there were other silver items in the pickle that didn’t take up any copper. So perplexing!

Emily

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Emily,
The copper coating is an electrochemical reaction. It requires the silver to be in actual contact with a metal more reactive than copper. When that happens, iron ions dissolving into the pickle create a voltage between the silver and iron. In effect, its a battery. A short circuited one, and it forces copper that is already in the pickle, to electroplate out on the silver. This circuit only exists because the iron is in contact with the silver. That can be things like iron tweezers holding the silver, or iron binding wire on the silver, steel springs in a clasp, etc. But your other silver items in the pickle were not connected electrically to the iron, so copper did not get plated onto them. The copper coating effect does not happen because there is copper dissolved in the pickle, it happens when iron, in contact with the silver, forces copper out of the solution and onto the connected silver. That means iron ions, picking up an electric charge when it dissolves, are electrically balanced by copper losing an equal charge by coming out of solution.
Hope that clarifies the mystery.
Peter