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Foredom Hammer Handpiece

I hate my bezel roller.

I always slip when using it. Not too much a problem when setting an
agate, but when it’s something softer, I just want to give up! Seems
like such a primative tool that should have evolved somehow!

My question: Does the Foredom hammer handpiece replace the bezel
roller? If the answer is yes, I am going to run out and buy the
entire Foredom outfit! Thanks for your help.

Cathy Flory

Cathy, I love my hammer handpiece, and I share your sentiments on the
roller. I recommend the handpiece. Just know that it has its own
learning curve – you could still break a soft stone – and that you
may have to buy a new motor as well. Check to see if your motor
matches the requirements for the handpiece you are looking at. But
really, I think you will be so happy with the hammer handpiece when
you see how easily and quickly you can set clean-looking bezels. An
added recommendation is the pumice wheels that don’t scratch most
stones. With these, you can clean up any leftover hammer marks from
the handpiece without fear of slipping and ruining your stone. Karin

Cathy, I have been using the Foredom hammer handpiece for years to
close bezels. I have a number of tips that I have altered for
specific uses. When using the hammer handpiece work at a slow speed.

Joel Schwalb

The hammer handpiece is a wonderful tool, and will save you lots of
hand work, but it does have its limitations, if the piece is
brittle i.e. like glass, the vibrations will carry thru and possibly
chip the stone, some things are best done by hand. but overall it
is a recamended additons to the tools list



The Foredom hammer has its uses…especially when setting a heavy SS
or 14k bezel that can be quite difficult with a bezel roller. But it
doesn’t ‘replace’ the roller. That being said, the hammer also has
its limitations. First the stone has to be able to withstand the
vibrations. Most soft or layered stones have an aversion to such
vibrations and sometimes will crack or delaminate. Second, the bezel
must fit the stone just right and should not be too tall. Hammers
are not made to move too much metal too far. The hammering can
quickly work harden an alreadly hard bezel such as SS or 14K and
become nearly impossible to seat to the stone. They must be used
very quickly and accurately. The manner can also leave ugly uneven
bezels that need considerable clean up…unless you plan to do
several hundreds and become highly skilled with it.

But, the bezel roller on the other hand is also a very useful tool.
I use it much more than my hammer and get excellent results. Some
time back, there was a discussion on Orchid about the proper way to
use a roller and you might find my input in the archives.

Essentially, what it said was:

  1. Don’t hold the roller in your fingers and push it forward like a
    scrapper. Rather, hold it like an ice pick and quite firmly.

  2. Rest the palm of your hand on the surface next to the piece you
    are setting and, on the first pass, the roller should go into the
    bezel at around 45 deg or less. This will bring the bezel INTO the
    stone and tighten any gaps.

  3. Move the roller only as far as your wrist movement allows, but
    keep your hand palm on the surface (at least as much as you can),
    them turn the piece and do another section. As you press in with
    your wrist, roll your shoulder slightly outward…this creates a
    levering action and uses one of the strongest muscles in your body.

  4. Start your bezeling at the narrowest part of the setting…e.g.,
    the end of an oval. Do each end (or narrow part) first. This
    compacts the metal towards the longer parts of the bezel where it has
    more chance to dissapate.

  5. After going all the way around at the 45 deg level, bring the
    roller up to 90 deg or nearly so, and this time your pressure will be
    downward on the top edge of the metal. As you kedge your way around
    the stone doing one short section at a time, you will find the bezel
    setting completely down onto the surface of the stone and, if done
    correctly, you won’t need to file or burnish. Try it…don’t give
    up. Do some fine silver or 18k bezels in 28 ga and then move to 26
    or 24 ga followed by SS and 14K. It gets easier everytime.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SO FL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

1 Like

The Foredom Hammer Handpiece fitted with a tip that has been pointed
makes an excellent tool for texturing silver and gold. It will leave
a deep stippled surface. It can be used to give contrast on
polished surfaces. Polish the metal first then texture. It also
makes a great texture on background areas that will be oxidized.

Run the Foredom at slow speed. Practice on scrap before applying
the texture on you project. The degree of texture can be varied by
changing the tip from rounded end to sharp pointed end. Do not
change the tip shape while texturing a piece unless you want a
different looking texture. Lee Epperson

Hello Cathy,

I know what you mean about slipping bezel rollers!! I have begun
using hardwood sticks to work bezels - hardwood is the operative
word. One caveat, the metal has to be well annealled. Fine silver
or high karet gold is a better choice for bezels.

Here’s a plug for the nifty fine silver bezel cups Rio Grande
recently brought out. If the stone is a standard size, these cups
are a real time-saver. Solder that puppy on, insert cab, rub 'er
down with your stick. Done!

Usual disclaimers - just a pleased customer. Judy in Kansas where the
sun is shining, the grass is green, the fruit trees are in bloom,
and it’s a glorious day.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944

Hi, I’ve just been given verbal abuse by another “artesano” at a
recent show hosted by my local association of “artesanos” for
incorporating ready made bezel cups in a range of inexpensive rings
I’ve beeen making and selling successfully for about 20 years. I was
told they were so cheap (5 euros) that I must be buying them in!!! If
you can unravel the logic behind that convoluted thought process,
please let me know!(artesano is Spanish for craftsman).

Ah well…

p.s. Noel, if you’re reading…if you think the cold enamel debate
was rough, you should be at some of our meetings,when the topic of
what is or isn’t “Artesania” comes up…wailing and gnashing of teeth
doesn’t come close…even though we’ve all had to pass inspections by
the state to get our Artesans’ cards, there are always some who
suffer delusions of superiority…

Steve Holden in the Ibiza springtime…

You will find that if you remove the factory polish from the bezel
rollers with 220 or 320 wet or dry paper - stroking crosswise - you
will no longer have the slipping problem. Belt sander works best,
but it only takes a minute or two to do it by hand. You want the
roller to have a little “tooth” to grip the bezel and not slide

This treatment will also help prevent your setting punches used for
heavier bezel setting from slipping as you whack 'em… try it on
your flexshaft hammer handpieces tips too.

AFTER you roll set (or hammer? punch) the bezel - THEN you use the
highly polished burnisher to smooth out any marks and bring up the

I’ve never understood why the manufacturers & tool suppliers make
and sell the bezel rollers highly polished? Pretty dumb for the
purpose for which they are intended.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
2207 Lucile Ave.
Stockton, CA 95209
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/Classrooms


Interestingly enough, when I get a new bezel roller, the first thing
I do is polish it!! Why? So I don’t mar the bezel.

If one uses the technique I described in my last post on this
subject, the chances of rolling it completely are high and the
chances of having to use a burnisher, file or otherwise clean it up
is almost nonexistent. The operative word here is control…control
of the roller and proper application of pressure in the proper

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

hey Joel and everyone… no “zoom-zoom” here, it ain’t
allowed!..:>) best news so far today, just stated to read the
"Orchidian". so here goes! keep the speed of the hammer down to the
slowest speed, examine each ‘hitting’ and where the tip is going.
“thou shalt not hit in a perpendicular angle” in other words don’t
keep the hammer tip straight up and down. try and get used to the
33-45o back angle, why? if your tip is wavering back and forth, it
might hit the facets of the stone…woops! so angle the tip backwards
a tad and do not let the tip get too darn close to the front edge of
the bezel when it is still thick and not hammered flat, it is where
you can and should use the flat graver or a “right-sided” onglette to
bright-cut the inside of the wall. if the edge is flattened you will
not succeed in getting a proper bright-cut, hammering compresses the
metal and its subsequent thickness, okay on this?..gerry!

Hi Charles,

Everyone has his own way… what’s “right” - is what works for you.
What I do (removing the polish from bezel rollers) came from making
100 - 150 bezel set rings a day for 3 months in Phoenix, AZ… in
the summertime … all sweaty and wet. Straight from the rinse
bucket to setting. No time to waste drying the rings … paid
piecework. This was many years ago, when I was still a “puppy”.
Still works for me now that I can relax a bit, and speed is not so
important. I almost never slip.

Wanna race?:slight_smile:


Hi Brian,

Sorry for delay in response. My wife has had me running the past
few days…we are redoing the yard and garden.

Actually, I’m Don not Charles. Charles is my middle name and hence
The Charles Belle Studio…Belle is my wife’s middle name. Neat

You are completely right…everyone has his (or her) own way of
what’s right. Necessity if the mother of invention and innovation.
Sounds like you were caught in a pickle and had to innovate or at
least learn what worked for you. You did and probably continue the
way you learned to do it.

I teach my technique and always tell my students…do it my way for
awhile and, if it doesn’t work for you, find one that does. So thats
the way life goes, huh?

Nah, I wouldn’t want to race…I don’t do this as a living…just
something I love and try to do it well. Nice talking with ya though.
Cheers, Don

I am not great at the slow speed thing. I must have heavy feet or something. Is there a trick or should I get, if there is such a thing, a hand control?

No, it’s not you. Is the foot pedal. The one I just bought i cheaped out
on and it doesn’t have a real slow speed. It kicked in at too fast a speed
for my taste. Try to make the motor run as slow as you can. If you can’t
go real slow, it’s the pedal. My last one was awesome till it died. SD

Hello “Cdroter”, you probably need a better speed control (rheostat) like the LUCAS #9 Lowboy which is widely recommended in the Jewelry Industry. You can purchase one directly from the manufacturer LUCAS. They are $49.00 ea. plus shipping, contact Lucas by Email: to place an order, and have a ‘Happy Memorial Day’… Regards, Richard Lucas PS: you can also check out there website,

Thanks Richard, I did feel like my Foredom foot pedal was part of the
problem. I can sometimes get it to slow enough speed but its very quirky.
I will look at the products as you recommended.

Try that Lucas Dental foot pedal. It’s a high-quality unit that will allow your flexshaft motor to just tick over. Mine has lasted for many years of pretty heavy use and is still going strong. Worth every penny. No affiliation with Lucas, etc.

I use a series EE Foredom geared motor flexshaft to drive my hammer handpiece. It has a step-down gear box on one end of the motor and a standard output on the other. I bought the particular unit I have on my bench from Gesswein about 25 years ago or so, so it has a Gesswein label. I have another one I got from Swest sometime in the 70’s or 80’s, which has a Rey label. Both are Foredom made and with an occasional cleaning and regrease of the gearboxes and a few sets of brushes over the years they both have worked flawlessly.

The EE series was discontinued some time ago, but they turn up every now and then on the Bay. An EE unit with,a Badeco hammer and a Lucas pedal is the ideal combination. I can get mine to tap at full-strength wallop about once a second or even slower with absolute control.


I fell in love with the Lucas foot pedal in 1984. The best thing going.