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GraverMeister, Pneumatic Stone Setting

At my place of employment we are looking for means of bright cut and
bead set that is not so “tendon intensive” as total handwork.
GraverMeister appears a good option. An archived post shows Duane as
a person with experience with the machine. My employer likely knows
this man personally but we do not have an email contact addys.

I would like a response from any who are experienced in using
pneumantic tools for stone setting with opinions on both positive
and negative impressions. Recommendations of the devices and hand
pieces will also be deeply appreciated.

Thanks for any info you may provide, my wrists will appreciate it
greatly! : )



I went to Stuller to trained on laser welding and toured the stone
setting department and every single one of their stone setters was
using a Chicago Pneumatic hammer. It has changed how I feel about
bezel setting. It basically the best stone setting pneumatic hammer
on the market.

Scott Isaacs
Berry’s Jewelry Co.

    I would like a response from any who are experienced in using
pneumantic tools for stone setting 

Hi Thomas;

Well, I didn’t have the money for the Gravemeister, but I got a
system 3, which is just a pneumatic handpiece, regulator, and control
pedal. It’s pretty good for the money for what I do, occasionally I
use if for setting work, but I usually drive a small chasing tool
with a hammer. For bright cut, I use it about half the time. I’m
pretty used to working gravers by hand. But from what I’ve learned,
the Graver Max is a better bet price wise and it terms of power and
versatility of all those. Now I understand there’s an upgrade to the
Gravemeister that gives it flexibility equivalent to eh Graver Max.
Doesn’t seem much point in going to the Graver Mate considering it’s
limitations and the small difference in price. But with the Graver
Max, you need a separate compressor. The standard contractors
compressors are noisy as all get out and the quiet Junaire type ones
are real pricey. I remember seeing in Wal Mart, a "quiet"
compressor, apparently like the kind in your refrigerator. If you
can find it, it might be worthwhile, otherwise, put the compressor in
the basement and run a line up. Now I’d like to get into using the
carbide gravers, but you’ll have a time sharpening them without a
Power Hone sharpening system. (also on my wish list). Meanwhile,
don’t waste money on the regular gravers, get the yellow tang high
speed gravers. Harder to sharpen, but they cut much better. I shape
mine up with a 2 sided India stone, then go to a white Arkansas.
After that, I use the 3M micro film abrasive sheets. I have 3 little
glass plates, about 3 X 5 inches. I use spray adhesive to glue down
800, 1200, and 2000 grit respectively to these plates. I use honing
oil on everything. I go through all of these grits, then finally,
using a piece of card stock on a hard flat surface, I drag the graver
over it after I’ve rubbed the card with some green rouge. I polish
the bottom, sides, and cutting leading edge to a mirror finish. I
take a small wad of cotton, place it in a bottle cap, and drop a
couple drops of Oil of Wintergreen on the cotton. I periodically
touch the point of the graver to the cotton as I’m working.

As to the assorted handpieces for the Graver Max, Gravemeister,
etc., I’ll leave it to others to recommend those. I’d suspect you’d
want a medium weight Bolino style for bright cut as well as a heavier
handpiece for driving down bezels and channels.

I have an employee who had screwed up his thumbs by doing exhaustive
sweat shop labor bright cutting. I was afraid to let him go back to
working with a foredom tool, thinking the vibration would aggravate
his condition. So I ponied up and bought the NSX E-Max micro motor.
Nearly $1,000! But I’ll tell you, after you work with that puppy,
you’ll flat out throw rocks at a flex shaft tool. The NSX E-max is
the one to get, since it has the reduction gear attachment. I
haven’t tried the other brands, which are cheaper, but I was nervous
that they wouldn’t have the torque to run larger stone setting burs.
I’m really glad we got that E-Max. It runs really smooth and true
and it’s so quiet you can hear the bur cutting metal. I think it’s
one of the best ways to minimize Repetitive Stress injury to hands
and wrists. Eventually, I’m going to have all of us working with
them, and I’ll get a Graver Max and Power Hone too. Then the Meiji
microscope, then the pulse welder, the electro melt. . . then . .

David L. Huffman, tool junkie

truth is i have found a slab of tiger-eye unpolished is a great
stone for hogging the tool. then i follow with a polished tiger-eye
slab followed by a slab of polished bruno jasper. i have the power
sharpening system for my graver Max but for quick fixes it works
better than Arkansas followed by ruby stone. sometime i have thought
about selling my system as i don’t use it enough. but it makes my
job soooooo much easier. Worth every penny

PS i put my compressor outside in a small shed, no noise!

I would like a response from any who are experienced in using
pneumantic tools for stone setting... 


I bit the bullet about 5 years ago and purchased a GraverMax (after
messing up my shoulder, mainly work-related). This was after going
to a trade show to check it out and give it a test drive, which
might be a good idea if you can do it. No more shoulder problems!
The only drawback I see (besides the cost) is the compressor: it’s
in an adjacent room, but it still makes a racket. A nice advantage I
didn’t see at the time are the collets you put the gravers into -
easy to pop into the pneumatic handpiece as well as the manual
graver handle (which is sometimes easier to use if it’s a simple
task and the compressor isn’t on). I purchased the #710 handpiece,
but most of the time just use the smaller one… obviously what
works best for you depends on the type of jobs you’ll need it for.
Hope this helps.


Cindy Crounse
Refined Designs Original Fine Jewelry
38 So. Main St.
Voorheesville, NY 12186

  At my place of employment we are looking for means of bright cut
and bead set that is not so "tendon intensive" as total handwork.
GraverMeister appears a good option 

I would recommend the GraverMax over the Gravermeister. The
settings on the Gravermax have a much wider range, and while it
needs a separate compressor, you can use that compressor for
bead-blasting finishes, wax injecting or any other number of uses.
Although I use my Gravermax primarily for hand-engraving, I wouldn’t
be without it for doing bead-setting and bright-cutting. It has
reduced the stress and strain in my wrist, elbow and shoulder, and
allowed me to get more work done over a longer time each day than
was possible when I was just pushing by hand. An extra added
advantage is that your control over the whole setting process is
greatly enhanced, since your focus is on control, and not on
powering through the metal. Its easier to push up the bead, and
stop exactly where you want to, and no more cut-off the beads ! GRS
has some tapes available which demonstrate both their techniques for
sharpening the bright-cutting flat gravers, and the bright-cut

Additionally, I have used the Gravermax in place of my hammer
handpiece, and found that it is easier and more controllable when
setting heavy bezels and channel-sets. It does a nice job on
cutting florentine finishes quickly and evenly, too. I have both
the jewelers handpiece, and the 901 handpiece. The jewelers
handpiece is probably a good choice for most jewelry applications.
The quick change tips are well worth the investment in time, and you
can quickly change from a planishing punch to a flat graver without
any trouble. I have an assortment ready on my bench for any type of
job that comes up.

The people at GRS are really helpful. They can discuss what your
shop needs are and be able to advise you on the best set-up for your
situation. They offer classes in setting as well as engraving as
well as a series of tapes. I bought a used model that was available
from their engraving classes, and have found them to be very
helpful, for all technical questions. When service was needed, it
was done quickly and efficiently. I have had my machine for 10
years, and never looked back. The only downside I can see is that
since the machine is so powerful, it does require a little practice
to get the feel of it. You can remove alot of metal very quickly
without meaning to! The compressor can be noisy too, so you may
need to take that into consideration. I am not affiliated with the
company, but I am a very satisfied customer.

Melissa Veres, Engraver

Dear All !

I am not here to dampen peoples choices of power-tools used to set
stones. These new power tools are just fantastic (as I’ve seen!) in
Metal Engraving. Yes, the arm can get somewhat tired, but in
delicate Diamond Setting along with and Bright-Cutting? These
wonderful often tested machine takes away the “touch” of pushing
Platinum over a $7,000.00 Genuine Emerald. I would just never leave
this to the hands of a power unit and its rapid or almost slow,
repetitive “mini-pushing”.

When I am to Bezel Set metal on to an Opal of high quality, would I
let may hand leave it to a power tool? Would I again leave it to
this noise producing tool to snap-in a diamond that is used for
Gypsy settings. Where the sound of its “click” is totally controlled
by the most delicate hand movement. The “snap” tells me the stone is
now securely held. One finely dealt adjustment and 100% controlled
hand movement, must be then heard by the setter and not with this
powered tool.

My dear readers, I still see some setters of a high calibre, return
to the “hand-eye” co-ordination of setting stones by
hand-wrist-shoulder combination ! To pave’ stones is another method,
the power tool “shakes and vibrates” the well seated but unsecured
stone, prior to its actual beading process. The choice is yours to
take, the power tool has its grand purpose in life in engraving. I
would put my dollar to setting stones by this well proven
method…where I must be in control at all times!

I am not here to dissuade any folks in buying certain modern
conveniences. I think that Diamond Setting is just a well
orchestrated combination of both “hand to eye”…

“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!”

You are welcome to contact the folks in stone setting at stuller or
we can call you. We use both the gravermax and the Chicago tool

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


I understand your reasoning with an important Emerald or delicate
Opal. but there is a place for power tools.

I have been setting gems for over 30 years and twenty of those years
I set everything with hand tools. About 10 years ago I purchased a
GraverMax and it changed my life. I wouldn’t consider doing a
channel or flush mount with Diamonds again by hand. I can move more
metal with the GraverMax than I could by hand and therefore create a
far more durable and lasting piece.

I do still set all delicate Gems by hand as well as bead setting. I
prefer the control of the hand when setting these items.

Greg DeMark
email: @Greg_DeMark

Reply to Gerald and all who have joined this thread.

Gerald, I do understand where you are coming from with good-ole eye
hand mind coodinaton. Yes, feel and the tactile sense of stone
setting has been part of my life for 30 years. Unfortunately, now
one carpal tunnel surgery and a left wrist with weakness and very
tender joints, plus cramping of the “holding hand” with fingers
needing to be unfolded to continue the job…well, that is exactly
why I am investigating pneumatic setting.

As you say, there is nothing quiet comparable to the tactile, total
mental-muscle part of doing fine stone settng. I have set stones as
you describe and believe me, calm technique is essential. I have
witnessed a young jeweler where I work using all sorts of holding
devices, the GRS system mostly, when soldering. He takes more time
to set up the third and fourth hands than it takes me to take in the
job, arrange the items and tweezer freehand and braze to pickle.
He has not learned and might not ever learn to do freehand work. In
that, yes, something is missing in efficiency.

The same might be said of pneumatic stone working and bright cutting
tools but I have not used these tools and can make no judgment. I
suspect my work with pneumatic setting will combine both air powered
and simply body power in the work. I have done it by hand for so
many years!!

Now, the crux of the problem is simply “these hands” and keeping it
keeping on. That is my main reason for considering pneumatics. Who
knows, when I try the tools I might wish I had done the change years
ago. I simply do not know at this point. In all regard, whatever
tool I might use, I do not want the end result to lessen in quality
and craftsmanship. I simply will not let that happen.

This thread has and is very helpful I am certain to many readers
besides myself. Thanks again for all the posts and please make any
additional comments you feel are appropriate.

God Bless and Peace. Thomas.


I too have hand problems from repousse and raising holloware.
Holding the pieces and the tools have created problems.

I went for hand therapy due to trigger thumbs on each hand. Had to
have surgery on the right hand and it worked beautifully.

The hand therapist made some really good suggestions. When I hold
small hand tools and need to support silver with the left hand a
wield a hammer with the right I wear heavily palm padded bicycle
gloves (the fingertips are open) and that gives me the ability to
still have the tactile feel. I real life saver. they take the
vibration that is caused by our many maneuvers and reduce it
tremendously. Everyone should try it, it really is worth the use.

I also do hand stretches and use weights (no more than 12 lbs) in
each hand and rotate my wrists to keep them strong.

Jennifer Friedman, jewelry artisan and enamellist
Ventura, CA