When bead setting, I first pre-cut the bright cut using burs.
Generally, I use a hart bur, but have also used knife-edge, and wheel
burs. I then set the stones. I then polish the bright cut with a
polished flat graver. Usually all that is needed is to use the
graver as a burnisher by pulling backwards rather than pushing,
although sometimes a light skimming of the metal is needed. I use this
method for two reasons.
It is faster for me to use this method than using gravers.
and most importantly, I receive better results than using gravers.
NO METHOD TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY SHOULD EVER BE USED IF IT
With a steady hand and a little practice, curves are easy to cut, and
corners are a breeze with hart burs (it is just like cutting a corner
in a princes or baguette seat).
I do not believe there are correct or incorrect methods -- there are
only correct and incorrect results. If a method does not create the
correct results for you then it is wrong for you. However, that does
not make it wrong for everyone else.
If you are satisfied with using a graver, FANTASTIC. Don't change a
thing. If however, you are experiencing problems with your
bright-cutting then I offer my method for you to consider and
practice using to see if it works for you. There are as many ways to
perform this craft of ours as there are jewelers doing the work. I
offer my tips in Trade Secrets of the Day as a way to share what
works for me. Not that it is the only way or the best way to perform
the work, it is however the best way for me to do the work. I place
these tips on open internet channels because that where I think they
belong - in the open for all to learn from. For too long jewelers
have kept their 'secrets' to themselves and not shared with others.
I am so thankful for forums like Orchid for us all to learn from each
P.S. Gerry, if I were teaching at a school, I would only teach using
gravers also. A foundation using hand tools is a necessary starting
place. Power tool can be learned later.