I never could get mine to work well, you either wind up with a
teepee arrangement, neither practical nor pretty, or you have to try
to get an underbezel aligned on there somehow. Its in a landfill now.
But as I recall you slip your choice of grooved collets into the
base, add the wires into the grooves and drop the tapered collet on
top of the wires to hold them in the grooves.
If I need to make a basket setting I start with a top rail slightly
smaller than the stone. Add prongs one at a time, using the previous
prong as a visual line up which means the first one has got to be
right. Its much easier to use long, dead straight wire for the prong
attachments, you have more to look at when judging angles. Then add
the bottom. The first few times you try this you’ll have trouble but
after awhile it gets so you can do it without much fuss, 10-15
minutes. When I first was doing this I used an adjustable protractor
that helped but now its just eyeball and freehand, I learned to
compensate for astigmatism. Plus you have complete control of depth,
length, uniformity, etc. And you know, if you’re ‘making’ a setting,
the idea is usually to fit something non-standard so you want control
anyway. The hard way is the easy way.
Many moons ago I was at a GIA workshop where they taught to build a
basket from the bottom up, struggled with that I’ll tellya. I prefer
to work from the top down, since the girdle is the prime element,
start at the beginning.