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Filing a perfect join


#1

Dear Orchidland, Is anyone willing to give up their secret for filing
perfect edges for joining the ends of the bezel (and other flat
stock)? The kind you can hold up to a light and not see any gaps
prior to fusing or soldering? Also, when you have very large bezels
do you fiddle with the thing until you get them to stay put for
soldering or does anyone have a trick for that also?

Thanks!
Marta in Sacramento


#2

Marta & all - Peter Rowe shared a fabulous tip with me - for all I
know it’s common knowledge, but it was the first I’d heard of it and
has made a huge difference for me. Once you get the ends of the flat
stock together but can see some light coming through, simply run a
saw blade through the seam. This will cut both sides to the same
plane…might have to be repeated once or twice with some plier
manipulation in between, but it will eventually result in a perfect
seam. (The size of blade you use is, of course, dependant on the
scale of your project.)

Hope this helps & that I’m not repeating something you already
know… Best, Jessica in glorious San Francisco


#3
    Dear Orchidland, Is anyone willing to give up their secret for
filing perfect edges for joining the ends of the bezel (and other
flat stock)?  The kind you can hold up to a light and not see any
gaps prior to fusing or soldering . . . Thanks! Marta in Sacramento 

Ok, here ya go Marta; When butting the ends of heavier stock, tension
the joint with bow benders or with whatever you can so that it stays
pinched closed. Then saw right up along the seam with your jeweler’s
saw. The saw will follow the meander of the seam, if there is any,
and remove a little stock from both sides and your seam will be
tight. If it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, run the saw
blade through again. Now as for large bezels, or thin stock, I think
the best bet is to bevel the ends so that they overlap very
slightly. That way, you don’t have to worry that the ends are
perfecly square. Not too much bevel, or you’ll have a tendency to
get pits in the seam. That seam will likely be a little on the thick
side, and you can either file or forge it down to match the thickness
of the rest of the material. Use the hardest solder you can, or fuse
it if you are good with a torch, then anneal if you forge it so that
it behaves like the rest of the bezel when you are compressing it
over the stone and also so the the joint doesn’t pop open when you
solder it in place due to the spring you’ve added to the metal.

David L. Huffman


#4

Marta, One trick to get perfectly straight edges on plate, is to
sandwich the plate between two pieces of wood, plastic or even metal
that has machine sawed straight edges. Then wrap some sandpaper
around a block of something with a perfectly flat surface. Leave a
tiny portion of the plate sticking out between the sandwich. Now rub
over the plate with the block until the entire surface of the
sandwich is smooth and even. You should have a perfectly straight
edge for soldering.

Re the large bezel on a back plate. Do a good Prip’s fluxing and
then place the bezel onto the plate. With a small paint brush, place
some Battern’s or other liquid flux around the inside of the bezel.
The flux will flow through to the outside. Now, GENTLY hold the
bezel in place with the flat end of long tweezers as you GENTLY heat
the whole thing with the tip of a bushy flame. The flux will bubble
and then relax turning to a white glaze (not yet clear which it will
do at a much higher temp) that essentially will hold the bezel in
place. Then you can place your snippets inside the bezel and GENTLY
heat the whole thing again. This will ‘freeze’ the snippets in place.
You may also want to ‘paint’ the snippets in place with a small
brush dipped in flux. The small amount of additional flux will
insure they stick in place. Now you can proceed with your normal
soldering procedure whatever it may be.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#5

Hi Marta.

    secret for filing perfect edges for joining the ends of the
bezel (and other flat stock)? 

At a garage sale years ago, I found a 2 1/2" or 3" square steel
block with “V” channels on two sides and square-sided channels on two
sides. Works great as a guide for filing bezel ends square or sawing
tubing or heavy wire straight across.

I used it for a long time before I knew what I had - a machinist’s
design block. For images of similar blocks for jewelers (2 in top
row, right) see: http://www.abm-corp.com/abm_d1.asp

They are pricey new but you knowing what to look for you could
probably modify something you already have or find something similar
at a garage sale or a scrap metal yard. I can’t begin to tell you
how many “tools” for forming etc. I’ve picked up at the scrap metal
place while looking for regular things like copper foil and sheet or
brass sheet.

very large bezels do you fiddle with the thing until you get them
to stay put for soldering or does anyone have a trick for that
also? 

These are a little tricky for me but I have better luck butting the
ends of the bezel wire if it is dead soft. If you bring the ends
together and they “move” when you try to solder or fuse, it’s because
there is some stress in the metal. Cut the bezel to size and shape
it as you would to butt the squared ends together. Anneal the bezel
by gently warming it; you’ll see it “relax”. Now go for your perfect
fit developing only enough spring in the curve for the ends to
slightly press against each other.

Another tip: after you solder or fuse the ends of the bezel and
shape it to your stone, anneal the shaped bezel again to remove the
shaping stresses then gently true up the shape on the stone again.
This way the bezel won’t deform when you solder it to the base plate.

Hope this helps.
Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix


#6
   "Is anyone willing to give up their secret for filing perfect
edges for joining the ends of the bezel (and other flat stock)? 
Also, when you have very large bezels do you fiddle with the thing
until you get them to stay put for soldering or does anyone have a
trick for that also?" 

An adequate job may be done by forming the bezel strip so that the
ends join as closely as possible , then placing it in the side of
your vise jaws and filing with an equalling file. Hold the free end
lightly against the other end and insert the file between them
vertically. That tends to keep from filing at an angle or rounding
the edge. The way I prefer however is to use a tubing cutter jig. If
you have the 2003 Rio Grande tools and equipment catalog, you’ll
find one on page 244.

Jerry in Kodiak


#7
Dear Orchidland, Is anyone willing to give up their secret for
filing perfect edges for joining the ends of the bezel (and other
flat stock)?  The kind you can hold up to a light and not see any
gaps prior to fusing or soldering? 

You can true up the edges, when aligned, by running a saw blade
through the seam.

    Also, when you have very large bezels do you fiddle with the
thing until you get them to stay put for soldering or does anyone
have a trick for that also? 

Superglue(crazy glue and the like) works miracles for holding things
in place. Once the torch is applied the glue burns off and the solder
flows. I use this for very tiny arrangements sometimes and has saved
me much frustration.

Jon in Montreal


#8
    Dear Orchidland, Is anyone willing to give up their secret for
filing perfect edges for joining the ends of the bezel (and other
flat stock)?  The kind you can hold up to a light and not see any
gaps prior to fusing or soldering? 

No secret about that – just cut the bezel slightly longer than
needed, then overlap the ends to the right length, and cut (both
thicknesses at once) right through the overlap. This will also take
care of any little bevel needed in the ends to get them to fit.

    Also, when you have very large bezels do you fiddle with the
thing until you get them to stay put for soldering or does anyone
have a trick for that also? 

You can always use a “third hand” or two.

margaret


#9

When you’ve matched the bezel/ring shank ends, butted them up to
each other with some springiness to get the ends close, then saw
right on the join. The saw will take a little bit from each end and
they will spring closed once you saw through. Support the bezel/ring
shank well as you saw. Wax the back of blade a little.

Brian


#10
Marta in Sacramento wrote...Is anyone willing to give up their
secret for filing perfect edges for joining the ends of the bezel 

File one edge as flat as possible and then nip a piece of the
thinnest abrasive sheet you can find (like 3Ms abrasive film) between
this edge and the ‘raw’ edge so that the abrasive is against the
’raw’ edge. Pull the abrasive out of the joint and repeat several
times - each time slightly bending the abrasive towards the side
which was already filed. In effect you are using the surface you
filed to press the abrasive onto the ‘raw’ surface as it works and
thus the shape of the new surface will conform to the old one.

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield, UK


#11

Forming the bezel can also work harden the material a bit giving it
spring like action. Just when you’ve got the joint lined up it
opens in the flame. A little annealing goes a long way. Applying
solder with a solder pick works well too.

Jerry in Portland


#12
Is anyone willing to give up their secret for filing perfect edges
for joining the ends of the bezel (and other flat stock)? 

When I first attended Bowman’s Trade School for jewelry repairs, we
spent the first few weeks learning to file straight. We used flat
and round brass stock, cut into 6 pieces, and then had to file both
ends of each piece so it was straight and square. Our instructor
would lay our finished pieces end to end, and push the outside ends
towards each other. If any piece buckled up or out of line, we would
go back to the bench and work on it some more. One of the tips that
worked was to file a groove into your bench pin, in such a way that
you can brace the piece you are filing against the groove, and then
file the end square. I use a small machinist’s square & scribe my
lines clearly before I cut, so I can see where I am filing to. The
last thing to watch is that you keep the file moving in a straight
line, & at the same angle to the metal, so that you keep the edge
straight, (not rounded!) My file has worn a groove perpendicular to
the groove where I lay my metal, so I have a “track” worn in the
bench pin where I file.

As for soldering tips, my favorite (new) tip is to use a small drop
of Krazy Glue to keep the bezel in place while I solder. The glue
burns off, with no ill effects, and everything stays in place! Of
course, the fit will have to be good, or your solder won’t flow
completely, and be sure to use good ventilation!

Melissa Veres, engraver & goldsmith


#13

Marta, For very thick bezels or ring shanks you can bend the piece so
the two ends butt each other in a straight line with a little
tension and cut through the center with a 4/0 saw.

Sometimes it will take more than one pass but I find it easier than
holding a piece down on the bench pin and running an equaling file
up and down in the gap. For me the two ends tend to stay lined up
much better.

For bezels try cutting them a tiny bit short so you have to stretch
and burnish them a little to fit the stone. This tends to shape and
stiffen them.

Are you the famous Marta of the Alan Revere video and recent Falcher
Fusager class?

John Flynn


#14

I form the bezel and make sure there is a tension between both ends
where they will be soldered. I cut a foot long strip of 220 grit
silicon carbide sand paper about a 1/2 inch wide. I fold in half so
that I have a 6 inch long double sided strip. I mount this in my
saw frame. I cut a narrow slot in my bence pin a bit wider than the
width of both layers of the sand paper. I set the bezel over the
slot of my bench pin. I separate both ends of the bezel and insert
the the strip of double sided sand paper and pull down on my saw
frame. To get a total flush fit only pull down. After I pulled down
to the top of the saw frame, I separate the bezel enough so I can
slide the saw frame back up to pull down again. I end up with
perfect flush bezels. It takes a bit of practice. At the end cut
of strip of emery paper and go over it again. Vince, Eugene, OR


#15

The discussion about filing a perfect joint reminds me of a
conversation I had years ago - and underlines the differences between
modern procedures and the ancient.

I was talking to some guy who had trained in the workshops of a
big-name, top quality jewelry company and he told me that for the
first few weeks (days? months? Memory fails)he just repeatedly had to
cut a perfect square hole in a piece of silver sheet, then cut a
separate square, then file them until they were a perfect match, then
solder the patch in place. Then start again until he was perfect. My
comment was that the ancient Egyptian/Greek/whatever craftsperson
confronted by the same challenge would have cut the hole, cut the
patch slightly smaller but in slightly thicker sheet. Place the patch
in the hole then thumped it with a hammer until it spread and fitted.

Wouldn’t like to say which is the best approach, but it does explain
the delightful slightly irregular character of ancient gold and the
often far too mechanical looking modern equivalents (even dare I say
it, even of most of Castellani’s copes). The Industrial Revolution
has a lot to answer for.

Best regards
Jack Ogden