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Freeform Cabs


#1

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to bezel-set a
freeform cab? I have become intrigued with the process, but I
thought I would ask “those wiser, if not older” than me!

Sandy


#2
Does anyone have any tips on the best way to bezel-set a
freeform cab? I have become intrigued with the process, but I
thought I would ask "those wiser, if not older" than me!

Sandy -

I cut most of my stones and they are all free-form. I’m not
sure what you mean about the “best way” to set them. I just use
bezel wire — shape around the stone, mark length, cut, solder
the ends, solder to base, and set the stone adding any other
treatment before setting.

If you can be more specific, I’ll be glad to help.

Merry Holidays!

Nancy
Bacliff, TX USA
@nbwidmer


#3
  Does anyone have any tips on the best way to bezel-set a 
freeform cab? I have become intrigued with the process, but I 
   thought I would ask "those wiser, if not older" than me!  

Make sure you use fine silver as the bezel, wrap the bezel
around the freeform cab to measure, make a mark where to cut.
Make sure the ends are touching, solder . . . after pickle, take
the bezel and form it around the freeform cab one more time to
make sure it truly fits. If it doesn’t fit, you may be able to
stretch it a bit . . .fit it again, IF IT FITS, put the bezel on
a base of 26 or 28 gauge, MAKE SURE YOU don’t accidently flip the
bezel . . . I usually put the stone inside one more time to make
sure it fits . . . (don’t forget to remove stone before
soldering!)

When using your bezel roller, do the same as you would with a
round cab, work from opposite ends to tighten.

Regarding the freeform cab . . . just a couple of thoughts
regarding this . . . make sure that the sides are sloped so that
the stone can actually be bezeled. It won’t work with one that
has real high, (up and down) sides unless you use a very high
bezel.

Have fun!


#4

THe easiest way to say this is to think of triangles. You start
pushing in the bezel on the point and work half way to the next
point. Go back to where you started and work in the other
direction half way. Always start in the sharpest point and work
your way to the widest area. If you go the other way and work
twards a tight spot you may get a pleat in a corner or end . It
works so much better with pictures. On an oval I work in from
the narrow ends to the wide side. Hope this helps. Steve
Ramsdell


#5

Nancy, You sound like you’re off to a pretty good start bezel
setting! I like to use 30ga fine silver bezel wire for silver
and 30 ga 14 or 18k gold flat bezel wire for gold, unless I’m
setting opals, then I use 22k.

If the stone is pretty strong, I will chose a bezel height only
slightly higher than the stone. If the stone is soft, I will
sometimes use corn cob dust under the stone, or back it with 2mm
of rubber and double sided carpet tape to cushion the blows when
I set it. ( I swear by my hammer handpiece if a bezel roller
doesn’t get it all the way down.

I first anneal the gold wire ( silver is already soft enough). I
wrap the wire around the stone tightly and hold it in place while
I scribe the line where I will cut it and sand it flush using a
sanding disc on my flex shaft. I check the fit before I solder.
Solder using hard solder. The fit needs to be perfect; you
should be able to drop the stone through the bezel, but not be
able to see light through it when you hold it up to the light.
This takes alot of practice. If you get the bezel too tight you
can try to stretch it on a mandrel with a hammer, or you will
have to grind the stone smaller with lapidary equipment. So it’s
better to get it a little too big than too small.

If you are using a stone that is not uniform in thickness,
scribe a line around the top of the stone onto the inside of the
bezel and grind 1mm above the line with a sanding disc and polish
with a pumice wheel to remove burrs. Solder the bezel to the base
using medium or soft solder on the inside of the bezel, taking
care not to use too much and create a solder mess. Heat evenly
from underneath until the solder flows.

Put the stone in the bezel with or without backing, depending on
the stone. I use a bezel roller to get the bezel down as far as
I can. If that is not enough I use my hammer handpiece to get
the bezel down with no gaps. If you are unfamiliar with this
tool, practice on hard stones like agate or onyx before you try
something like turquoise or opals.

Good luck!

Wendy Newman
ggraphix@msn.com


#6
  If the stone is soft, I will sometimes use corn cob dust
under the stone, or back it with 2mm of rubber and double
sided carpet tape to cushion the blows whenI set it. ( I swear
by my hammer handpi  >  doesn't get it all the way down.

I�m curious about the longevity of the rubber, and the paper plus
adhesive of the carpet tape. Off hand it seems as it the rubber
would sooner or later create sulfur compounds that would discolor
the metal and perhaps the stones.

Marilyn Smith


#7

Very good instructions, Wendy. I’d like to add that a hand
burnishing tool or the back of a stainless spoon bowl, used after
the bezel roller can be used by those of us who don’t have
hammers

There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.

Bobert


#8

Marilyn, Try a mixture of sawdust and epoxy as a base under the
cab. Keep the mixture fairly dry as a putty Dave


#9

Fishbre (I do remember your real name) is right about using fine
silver bezel instead of sterling… for three reasons I can
think of:

  1. Easier to form over stone… not as stiff as sterling
  2. Won’t get firescale since it lacks the copper content
  3. Not as likely to melt when soldered, with its higher melting
    point.

Before I started using fine silver bezel wire in rolls, I was
cutting sterling bezel out of sheet… a much less effective way
to work. A half ounce of fine silver bezel wire goes a long
way!

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com
http://www.sebaste.com


#10
 I was cutting sterling bezel out of sheet... a much less
effective way to work.  A half ounce of fine silver bezel wire
goes a long way! 

I’ve done that when I needed a very high bezel, now I just
remember to order a 1x6 (or whatever the minimum is) of 28 or 30
G fine silver.

And, you’re right about a half ounce of fine silver bezel wire
going a long way! : )