Fusing can be very frustrating.
I don’t fuse bezels, though I learned how some years ago. It can be
done, but I think it helps to use a bit heavier bezel (fine silver)
than the usual. For fusing a bezel to backing, I was taught to apply
ochre to the top edge to discourage melting, and to make the bezel
higher than needed and sand it down after to compensate when it
melts anyway. You don’t really need to fuse, though, except for
pieces to be granulated or enameled, where solder would be a
Yes, sterling fuses, but I wouldn’t like to try to do bezels or
chain links that way. The fusing I do is for textured sheets of
material, so it is flat bits or granules or wires onto a flat sheet.
For that, you use a large, diffuse flame, and it works a whole lot
better with an oxy-fuel torch than with fuel/air. Helps a lot to use
a natural charcoal block, too.
For any kind of fusing, as for soldering, fit is very important. Are
you filing the ends of the bezel strip absolutely flat and square?
From instructions that I see on line and in books and magazines, a
lot of people don’t file bezel joints, they just cut them with flush
cutters and hope for the best. I put the bezel strip in a pair of
pliers with just a tiny sliver sticking out the side and file down to
the (flat) side of the pliers to make sure it is flat. If it isn’t
square, I adjust and do it again. This gives the largest posssible
contact area between the two sides of the strip, and makes the joint
nearly invisible even before it is soldered (or fused).
The easiest way to practice fusing is to lay a bunch of scraps from
previous projects on a backing sheet and try to stick them down. If
it all melts, it can still look pretty cool. Don’t overlap them, make
sure they’re flat and make good contact; use the largest flame your
torch can do (with my Meco Midget, I remove the tip altogether and
use the pipe) and keep the torch a bit far from the surface. Keep it
moving around and around the whole piece (put it on a natural
charcoal block if at all possible). Don’t flux. When the surface
begins to turn shiny, adjust the torch speed to allow that "wet"
surface to spread so that silver runs into the space between front
and back pieces. It takes practice-- and complete concentration.
If you use a fairly thin backing (28g or so) you can tell when it is
well-fused by looking at the back-- you will be able to see the
When it is done, you can run it lightly through the rolling mill to
even it out a bit, then do another layer. This is harder, because
fit will be less good. Don’t pickle until you’re all done.
It helps a lot to see somebody do this, but if you have scraps, it
is “free” to try it. It also makes great textures to take fused
sheets you don’t like, roll them, cut them up and fuse them to
backing. Some of my best textures come from this.
I am putting some pics on my blog to show the results in my own
P.S.-- Shameless self-promotion: I would be delighted to travel just
about anywhere to teach a workshop in this technique-- contact me