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How do I secure an open back bezel prior to setting stone


Hi - I have been using a thick 3m double stick foam tape adhesive to hold the bezel on my block so that I can set the cabachon. The bezel is open backed and I’m finding the the stones are moving with the foam tape so that when I think I’m finished setting and I take it off the tape, the stone is moving. I have tried to use jetset but you have to keep the open back portion clear and I’ve spend hours trying to get this to work without interferring with the stone. The Question: what can I use to secure the open backed bezel while I’m setting the stone. It needs to be rigid. Thanks in advance for any help –
short of sending out to have someone else do it!


Have you tried shellac? Just heat it up on a piece of wood and take the head-side of a roofing nail or something flat (preferably steel or something that the shellac won’t immediately stick to) to push the shellac down and level with the open back so it doesn’t interfere with the stone (assuming I’ve understood your problem correctly that is).



Hi Erich. Thanks for your answer and yes, you have understood, however I have tried shellac for other things and have a really hard time with it – the orange flakes (I ended up returing them, is that the kind you’re referring to?) . Maybe I should try again…


Yep! That’s the stuff. It can be a little messy to start with, but it’s what I use about 99% of the time.

What was the problem you were having?


I actually can’t remember now. I spent a whole day looking for a stainless steel bowl to mix it in, which I found, and I can’t remember what happened after that! it didn’t come with any instructions … maybe I will get it again as I’m really at wits end with what to do here. Is there a trick to using it?


Ah! There’s the problem. The easiest thing to do is to get a piece of 2x4 or any small piece of wood. Heat some of the shellac up to get it into a ball in a small fireproof container. I’ve found this is easiest with a torch since things like heat guns cause the light flakes to blow around too much. Once you have a little blob of it (perhaps around a nickel-sized piece), you can place it on the wood, melt it into place and then put your piece on it. You just need to be careful if you use a torch as it’s easy to burn the shellac. It won’t really stick then and you’ll need to scrape the burned layer off.

Once it’s on the wood, it will stay put and you won’t have to go through that initial process again except to maybe add a bit more shellac from time to time. Otherwise, you just heat it up until it runs, set your piece on it, wait for it to cool and off you go! To get the pieces back off, I find it easiest to stick them in the freezer and then pop them off. Any extra or residue can be cleaned off by letting it soak in denatured alcohol.

Hope that helps!


YES Erich - that helps a lot! I already ordered some orange flakes and will try it again this weekend. I really appreciate your responses. I feel better already :slight_smile:


My pleasure! One quick side note, if you let the shellac cool too much or if you have an exceptionally large/heavy piece, sometimes it won’t stick well. It’s rare, but it does happen. All you need to do is heat the shellac up really good and try again. Sometimes it helps to heat the piece a little bit too. Otherwise, you can also use a knife, nail, or some other small metal piece to move the half-cooled shellac around to create a little “nest” for the piece. It’s really quite useful stuff


Or buy setters shellac, which comes in blocks and thus is easier to handle. There are many temporary cements used by setters and engravers.


my pieces are small…so hopefully that won’t happen. but thanks again for all the advise.
I just watched your granulation video … cool. I haven’t done it in a long time and it made me nostalgic. Guess I have some grains coming into my future!


thank you, I’ll look into that as well.


Haha! Thanks. . .honestly, it’s a pretty awful video, but I’m hoping to do a better one in the next few months. Thanks again though! :wink:



If the bezel is open in the back there should be an inner ledge for the gem
to set on. If not the stone will fall through the bezel after the shellac
is dissolved. If the gem is setting on a ledge just work the bezel over
the stone from different spots all the way around and keep it level as it
starts to tighten. Does that make sense. The gem has to be able to stand
using the shellac thinner on it also if you go that route. SD


As mentioned in a previous reply, assuming that there is a seat inside the bezel for the stone to sit on, you could superglue the stone to the seat and then go ahead and roll the bezel. If the bezel is wide and you need to secure the piece so that you can use a punch and hammer, continue trying to make the shellac work or try a themol setting plastic or several other options. If the piece is smooth like a pendant and nothing sticks out of it to secure it in whatever you are using to hold it, you may have trouble getting it to sit still. I usually don’t completely trim the bezel backing of a pendant until after the bezel is rolled or moved with a punch if thicker. The bit that sticks out can be used to anchor the piece in the shellac, plastic, dop wax, hot glue or whatever you us to secure it. This way you can keep as much of the bezel wall exposed as possible to roll or push over the stone. Once the stone is set, you can remove whatever you used to hold the piece still and finish the back edge of the bezel. Good luck…Rob


Thank you!



Elliot mentioned Setter’s Cement, but he didn’t mention the fact that it is water-soluble. I generally use a short soak in alcohol to remove it (it’s a bit faster), but in the case of very fragile or chemically sensitive stone, warm water will remove it.

I find that setter’s cement is not quite as brittle as shellac, but it is quite abrasive. It’ll ruin a bur if it comes in contact with it. It will also scratch a soft stone in a nano-second if you’re not careful when removing it. Whatever you do, don’t try scrubbing it off, It can take a little while, but let the alcohol or warm water do the work.



I have a large (1 lb.) bag of “Flake Shellac” if you want it just let me know. No charge, just pay for the shipping, agree?
If you don’t need it, the offer is “open” to anyone.:wink:

Gerry! On my Teaching iPhone!


That is very generous , thank you but I already ordered some. Hope someone else can benefit from the offer.
Thank you! Thank you all for all of your support/comments.


Please let us know how it goes for you! Would love a photo!


I am patiently (not so patiently) waiting for my delivery of the shellac flakes. I will def. send a photo when finished. thanks for the follow-up!